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Five study habits you should begin now

There's no time like the present to pick up - and maintain - some positive study habits. Even just one of these can make a big difference...

1. Neat notes

Each year begins the same when you open that fresh notepad: your handwriting is perfect, notes are profound and bullet points line up perfectly. But before you know it, your scrawl has adopted a shorthand language even you can't decipher.

Neat and tidy notes make revising much easier, especially for those earlier topics which can feel like a distant memory come exams. Be smart with what you choose to write down, too, going back to highlight what you think will be most useful later on.

Alternatively, what revision sins should you drop this minute?

2. Refresher sessions

Come revision season, the prospect of going back over a whole year's worth of notes can be overwhelming. Regularly going over what you've studied as you progress through the year will condense all of this into more manageable chunks, helping it to stick.

You can do this on a weekly, fortnightly or termly basis depending on what you feel will help you most and what you can manage - make sure your revision timetable has space for these 'refresher moments'. Use this time to pick out key notes and highlight/rewrite these to study from later.

Refresher sessions will also help with our next tip...

3. Don't avoid problem areas

Instead of waiting until revision season to speak up about something you've had problems with, address this as soon as it crops up. 

It might be something you need in order to understand subsequent material, so not seeking help now could lead to you falling further behind and putting you off a subject altogether!

Don't let it snowball. Tackle a problem area straight away to remove the stigma that it's tougher than it actually is. In reality, it might not be so bad and you just need to have it explained to you in a different way.

4. Teach someone else

Teaching a subject to someone else who has little to no knowledge of it is an excellent way to ensure you understand the material yourself. It can be all too easy to read something passively and trick yourself into believing you've nailed it down (especially when Netflix is calling out to you to put the books away for an evening...).

Actively explaining a topic out loud can put your knowledge to the test and encourage you to arrange your thoughts into words, which can help when structuring an essay question or mathematical calculation. You'll quickly learn if there are gaps in what you know.

There may be a tutoring programme in your school or local community you can take part in (which can also look great on your uni personal statement). Alternatively, make a nightly ritual of sharing what you learned that day at the family dinner table.

5. Read around a subject

If you have the time, look for further reading on a subject. It can really illuminate something you're learning, develop a budding interest you have in a specific area or offer a fresh angle on something that you hadn't previously fully understood.

Ask your teachers for recommendations to steer you on the right track (if they're writing your Ucas reference, this is something they can highlight when talking you up). Think wider than books, too. What about YouTube clips, podcasts, film and TV adaptations, news articles, journals or blogs?

In fact, being able to independently expand your knowledge around a topic area will really set you up for degree-level study, where taking this initiative will be essential.

Need more help? Browse our full revision advice section for plenty more study tips and tricks.

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