4. How to study to Maximise Your Marks

Three Proven Study Techniques

1. It's not about the amount of study but the quality of it

When it's study time, ONLY do study. When it's fun time, just have fun.

It's up to you to work out how to do this most effectively.

One technique is to put a countdown time on your phone (for 20 to 60 minutes, depending on your preference), and during this time you are only allowed to study. No social media, no YouTube, no taking out the trash, only study. Then you can reward yourself for a certain amount of time (I'd put this on a countdown timer too).

Make the countdown timer your Boss, and do what it tells you to do.

If you feel you should be studying more, but are having trouble doing that, then just work on increasing it a little bit each night. Even if it's just 5 minutes per subject.

This year is a marathon, not a sprint.

2. Do more exam questions under timed conditions

No matter how much you are studying each night on Methods, you should dedicate a certain amount of time to doing exam-style questions under timed conditions.

This may mean that you do less textbook questions. 

Now, if you are doing textbook questions and you find them easy, why are you doing them? You could be doing exam questions under timed conditions instead, and this is a much more valuable use of your time. 

If you are finding the textbook questions difficult, sure do more of them. If your teacher wants you complete all the textbook questions but you are finding them easy, have a conversation with them and explain how you feel. 

Ideally you want to spend 50% or more of your study time on exam questions but you may need to build up to this. 

To begin with, it is sole destroying because you won't get any of the answers correct. 

Accept that this is normal, look at the solutions and do the questions again. Keep completing the same exam-questions until you are happy with the mark you got. Then you can move on to other questions (under timed conditions of course). 

Remember, not matter how many exam questions you do, do them under timed conditions. 1 mark = 1.5 minutes, generally.

4. Use the CAS more!

Using your CAS (Computer Algebra System - Any program that does algebra for you!) effectively can significantly boost your marks. If you have trouble with your CAS then you should start using it, ALL THE TIME.

Use it more than you need to, carry it around with you, play with it, even just press some buttons while watching Netflix! The more you touch it, play with it and use it in ALL your Maths questions, the better you'll feel about it.

If you're not sure about how to use a particular functions, there are tons of videos and instructions on YouTube and Google. You can easily find the answer.

The CAS can significantly speed you up in tests and some questions you can't answer without the CAS. Become familiar with it's capabilities and watch you confidence and marks increase.

Having said that, if you are really comfortable with your CAS, start leaving it in your locker and practise doing more questions by hand. You need to be able to answer questions with AND without having a CAS around.

5. Two types of students

From my experience there are two types of students:

1) Those who cannot move on until they answer a question

2) Those who give up if they can't answer a question straight away

1) Those who cannot move on until they answer a question. If you find that you get stuck on questions then you need to start practising moving on. In a test, this is deadly because you leave other questions you could have easily answered. In your homework, you end up wasting a lot of time. If you get stuck on a question for any length of time, move on and try something else. Then come back to it later. If it's a homework question and you still can't answer it, try getting help with it. You have limited test and study time and you need to make the most of it.

2) Those who give up if they can't answer a question straight away. If you find that you give up straight away when you come across a difficult question, then you should practise not doing that! Stay with it, try a few different approaches, reread the question. If you really can't solve it, move on to something else for a few minutes and come back it. Try again. If you still can't answer it get some help. However, you need to start practising confronting questions. You will get questions on the exam you are not familiar with, and your probably more capable of answering them than you think. Put in some discipline and give a question a really good go before you ask for help.

However, whichever of these types of students you are, you will benefit most from doing exam-questions under timed conditions EVERY time you do some Methods study.

6. Finally, let yourself win!

It's important to see where you improve, even if it is just by a little! If you increase your study time by 5 minutes from last night, that's great! If you got 0 on your test then got 1 mark, awesome! Keep going!

Give yourself a pat on the back for every small improvement. It means you're going in the right direction.

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