That time of year is here again, and what another odd year it has been. For most students, studying full time from home became the norm, at least for the first two semesters. The following tips might seem like an exercise in telling you what you already know after years of revision. However, you will always find a few nuggets even in older advice.
Create a Home Office Workspace
Work from home and the self-employed have known for years both the physical and psychological importance of a dedicated home office space. Choose a well-lit corner but out of direct sunlight, using a desk with room for all your work stuff (you will probably need more than you think). A comfortable chair suitable for prolonged working.
Use it Only for Work
It must be somewhere that you can mentally disconnect from too, so try to avoid clogging it with personal effects – just like an exam. You are trying to create an exam type environment and not a home office – functional but comfortable with zero distractions. Try not to do your other work there. Or, if you’re using your regular workspace, remove those other things you wouldn’t ordinarily be permitted in an exam.
Keep all your exam revision stuff on this workspace. That way, you know where it is and won’t need to break the mental space of doing a mock exam or revision. Also, there is a psychological effect that the more you do something in a certain space, the easier you find it to get into that mental headspace. This is why work from home professionals have a dedicated workspace at home, keep all their work-related stuff there, and keep it organised solely for that purpose.
It’s best to treat your revision space and time as though it was a real exam. Keep your phone, laptop, and other leisure distractions out of the way – ideally in another room. It’s tempting to listen to music while working. Studies are mixed on whether this can help – a level of ambient noise can aid study, but in an exam environment it doesn’t do much to aid learning.
If You Must Use Technology…
Your exam will usually not allow phone or laptops. However, revision often needs these tools as learning aids. Because you will connect to the internet, the capacity for distraction is infinite. Disconnect music streaming services and notifications. If necessary, use service blocking software so that you aren’t tempted to visit social media. If you need background noise while you work, there are plenty of such accounts on YouTube.
Some studies suggest that people recall information better when they recreate the conditions under which it is learnt. Therefore, creating an exam environment at home while you revise can help you remember it for the exam.