Studying can be tough, no matter what the subject is, or how old we are. Whether you’re a high school student or an adult working on a higher qualification for personal or professional development, balancing academic commitments with other responsibilities is no easy feat. It’s common for people to suffer from burnout in the run-up to exams or assessments.
When we think of the word ‘cheat’, the connotation is rarely a positive one because it implies doing something dishonestly, with an outcome that might pinch your conscience in the long run. When people want to cheat, they’ll do so knowingly. Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush of knowing you might get caught. Or possibly it’s the element of risk you never experienced that’s giving you a high. Whatever the case may be, such an action can be applied in many of life’s contexts: from lying to your friend, forging a signature on a document, heck… even cheating at online casinos to guarantee a win – it comes in many ways, shapes and forms.
But, this article is about to flip the script: we’re going to take a look at how cheating can be done so in a way that won’t make others question your credibility. These hacks may very well earn you some respect!
1. Prepare For Success
Having the right mindset is where it all starts. Remove the need to even contemplate cheating by preparing for success the right way. Rather than letting things get on top of you and leaving you stressed trying to cram everything in the night before, take a long deep breath and create a realistic study schedule.
Be intentional and set aside chunks of time to devote to your studies. Dedicating a small amount of time to study each day shouldn’t mean you can’t balance other commitments. It’s all about time management.
2. Ask Yourself: What Type of Learner Am I?
Naturally, the best study method will depend on how your mind works and absorbs information. It also depends on the subject matter at hand.
For instance, if you consider yourself a visual learner, you might benefit from using flashcards. On the other hand, if you’re more of a critical thinker, you may be better off retaining information by evaluating your study material from different perspectives – perhaps ones which are more out-of-the-box. The first thing you need to ask yourself is: which learning style works best for me and how can I apply it?
3. Find a Study Method That Works For You
Rote learning is now a thing of the past and isn’t regarded as an effective learning method nowadays since studying in a parrot-like way won’t help you process information. Finding a proven strategy that’ll help you retain information and deepen your understanding is key. And, it needn’t be over-complicated, either.
From using highlighters and post-its to make key concepts stand out and keep you engaged with the material, to summarizing complex topics into an easily digestible format – you need see what works best for you. Perhaps you’d like to create study sheets to jog your memory just before the test!
4. Identify your Forte and Achille’s Heel
Once you pick up the pace in your studies, you’ll soon discover your strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to excel in the areas you’re good at, and spend more time getting to grips with the subjects you struggle with the most. Work on your pain points so any anxiety related to them will gradually vanish because you’re tackling them slowly but surely.
Try not to compare yourself (or your study strategy) to those around you. It might require some trial and error but try to find a pace that works for you. Most importantly – don’t be so hard on yourself – you may not be good at one subject, like the rest of your peers, and that’s a-okay. Perhaps the subject you’ll excel at has yet to knock on your door!
5. Master Key Study Skills
After you’ve chosen your ideal study method and recognized your strengths and weaknesses, the next step is to master key study skills which will hold you in good stead when it comes to exam preparation.
You need to find a skillset at which you excel and use the chosen technique to your own advantage. So, you might be asking, which are the main study skills to take note of and implement? Well, there are quite a few. Our suggestion is to research the ones that resonate with you and apply them to your study plan.
6. Design Your Perfect Learning Environment
Finding the ideal study spot is easier said than done. You need to strive to create an environment that’s comfortable but not so relaxing that you’ll fall asleep. Some people prefer working at a desk in a dedicated study room, while others prefer working in a cafe. In any case, studying in bed is always a bad idea – for obvious reasons.
Generally, a little peace and quiet helps when it comes to focusing. So start by removing distractions like any outside noise such as traffic congestion or even children demanding your attention. While absolute silence doesn’t work for everyone, noise-cancelling headphones can do the trick when trying to limit unwanted distractions. If you like working with music, opt for the quiet, instrumental variety, rather than loud tunes or heavy beats.
7. Feed Your Brain
The perfect learning environment should also factor in good access to brain food. Make sure you have enough healthy snacks in the pantry, which are not only easy to stock up and munch on, but will also boost concentration.
Keeping them handy is also practical. Why not have a mini cupboard and/or fridge, so you needn’t leave your books to venture out when hunger strikes? Make sure your food choices aren’t too heavy, and opt for healthy options such as nuts, fruit or dark chocolate.
8. Don’t Procrastinate!
Taking a break is all well and good. But don’t let that half an hour turn into half a day! Because before you know it, deadlines will start creeping up on you and stuffing a library of information into your brain is simply impossible. Don’t postpone what you can finalized tonight for tomorrow morning. You’ll thank yourself when you’ll begin to realize your workload is getting lighter.
Some students even opt to study in groups to have their friends motivate them. But, be careful with this – you all need to be self-disciplined and keep each other accountable. Stick to the main plan: while meeting up with classmates may very well be beneficial, it could also be a potential distraction if you end up joking around – thus it’ll end up defeating the purpose of why you’ve met in the first place!
9. But… Don’t Stress!
Stressing yourself out will only make it harder to learn, so chill out. Try some light exercise, deep breathing or meditation to figure out what works for you. Believe it or not, getting too much of a good thing is possible. Sure, academic excellence is important, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all in life. Even during exam season, you need to maintain some semblance of normalcy in your life rather than staying holed up in your room with your head in those textbooks.
Remember, regardless of how smart or hardworking you are, rest is indispensable. Exhaustion won’t allow you to perform at your best, and you’ll likely end up making easily avoidable mistakes. So, ensure you prepare some time for rest because unwinding and sleep are both crucial to brain function.
10. Go Out & Socialize
One final thing to bear in mind when it comes to preparation is that no study strategy is complete without some space for a healthy social life. Maintaining it may mean different things for different people. Whether it’s exercising, getting a facial, or meeting up with friends for a pint, it’s good to keep up to date with your non-academic responsibilities. After all, it’s what will help create balance. It will also help you stay sane and keep everything in perspective.
In short, there’s an art to studying smart. Mastering it and understanding how you work best is essential to achieving academic excellence. While some of these study hacks might seem obvious, they may not always be so doable if not planned beforehand. Following them can be as powerful as an exam cheat sheet – but SO much more rewarding. Once you start incorporating the above suggestions into your study strategy, all you have left to do is watch those A-grades roll in!