Categories: Examsstudy tips

Effective study methods to pass Exams

You may be preparing for O/L, A/L, University level or other professional educational exam. In order to be successful in those exams you need to adopt good study techniques to improve your memory.

Bad Study Habits

Many students follow ineffective and passive study techniques and study habits:

1. Passive rereading—sitting passively and running your eyes back over a page.

2. Highlighting or underlining your text can fool your mind into thinking you are
putting something in your brain, when all you’re really doing is moving your hand.

3. Cramming - Waiting until the last minute to study.

4. Repeatedly solving problems of the same type that you already know how to solve.

5. Procrastination or Do not focus - Thinking you can learn deeply when you are being constantly distracted. Every tiny pull toward an instant message or conversation means you have less brain power to devote to learning.

5 Effective study methods

In this post we bring you five effective study strategies to pass exams.

1. Retrieval Practice –
After you read a page, look away and recall the main ideas. An ability to recall—to generate the ideas from inside yourself—is one of the key indicators of good learning.

Simply put, retrieval practice is  the process of remembering and “pulling” information forward in our minds.  It is not the same as repetition or rehearsal! The idea is not to simply repeat the correct information, but to try and retrieve it.

2. Spaced out Practice –
This means spacing out studying the same information over multiple sessions rather than cramming it all into one.
Hermann Ebbinghaus described his forgetting curve and show the memory retention is declined over time. According to his theory humans start losing the memory of learned knowledge over time, in a matter of days or weeks, unless the learned knowledge is consciously reviewed time and again.

3. Interleaved Practice –
A common approach to practice involves focusing on one skill, one type of concept or problem until it is learned with some degree of fluency or proficiency, and then moving on to a different skill or type of problem. This is called blocked practice. Textbooks are typically organized on this principle. Students work on one type of skill or problem in one chapter and then switch to a different skill or type of problem in the next chapter and so forth.

In contrast, interleaved practice involves working on multiple skills or types of problems in one practice session. You work on a type X problem then a type Y then a type Z then another type Y, an X and so forth.
Research indicates that interleaving the problem types produces better learning than blocked practice

4. Mnemonics –
A mnemonic is a tool to help remember facts or a large amount of information. It can be a song, rhyme, acronym, image, or a phrase to help remember a list of facts in a certain order.

5. Focus –
Procrastination is the habit of delaying an important task, usually by focusing on less urgent, more enjoyable, and easier activities instead. Procrastination can damage your potential to study and pass exams.

The pomodoro technique can be used to improve your focus on your studies. It is a proven and popular time management technique. The main premise behind the technique is to work in blocks of time, typically 25 minutes long (called pomodoro sessions), followed by a 5 minute break.

These effective study technique’s are explained in our video below:

Read More Study Tips

Advice for answering A/L Biology Exam paper

How to prepare for examination, study and answer paper – tips by Island first Pramith




University Senior Lecturer at University of Sri Jayewardenepra, Sri Lanka

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