A Professor Aidan Moran was interviewed on Irish Radio recently about his thoughts and tips on how to study. The interviewer put herself in the shoes of the student asking pertinent questions on how to study leading up to an examination/s. His approach was interesting, innovative , yet obvious (when you heard it). He outlined that students get very stressed before an examination, because of the fear of the unknown, they are being taken out of their comfort zone and put under time pressure. If they studied effectively, this stress would be significantly reduced. Below are listed the main comments from the Professor during the 20 minute interview on how to study.

  • Studying is the ability to remember what you read / learned
  • Study is not all about knowledge, it is about memory of the knowledge
  • Make short summaries of what you are studying
  • Never study a chapter / section in a book without having a question written down about it
  • Reading can be mindless some times
  • Study is never mindless
  • Studying is looking for answers to questions
  • You must have questions to answer when studying, otherwise you are not studying
  • Passive reading is not studying
  • Having a question makes you think
  • If information in the chapter / section does not help you answer the question, then don’t read / study it
  • Use past years exam papers to source questions
  • Don’t study topics, study questions about the topics
  • Our brains switch on, when we ask ourselves a question
  • Change every chapter / section title into a question, then you are switched on
  • Summaries at the end of a chapter / topic / section in a book are the author’s summary as to how they understand it, it may be not your understanding
  • Studying is getting an answer to the question being asked
  • During the exam, underling key words in the question, it is imperative that you answer the question. What specifically is being asked here? Nothing is as frustrating to a ‘Correctioner’ when the question that was asked is not answered
  • Work smarter, not harder
  • If you get an examination blank (caused by ‘crapping’ study time the night before an examination), just write anything at all, keep writing and eventually you will be able to remember everything you have studied relevant to the  question

The Professor sounded very passionate and enthusiastic about studying. It was his believe that many students did not know how to study effectively. Most are probably reading, reading, reading, not summarizing and more importantly not asking the question that could be asked in an examination and then answering it.

This is a once in a life-time examination (whatever the examination is). it is an opportunity to tell the ‘Correctioner’ all you know about something in  away that they understand it and can believe that you know about it…all leading to the job you want.

Study cleverly in 40-45 minute periods, taking 10-15 breaks. Do this three times and then take an extended 45-60 minute break.

Enjoy the study and the lead up to the examinations and as the examination gets closer, slow down ease down on the study, relax and look forward