“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
All your pencils are sharpened, multicolour pens purchased, highlighters arranged in a rainbow colour code, notes printed, books laid out, most relaxing music downloaded – now all you have to do is STUDY! There must have been something that you missed. Let’s rearrange the notes or purchase a new binder and file them there instead!
Sounds familiar? We all have this romanticized notion of studying and passing our exams, but find it hard to concentrate when push comes to shove. Yes, we at the Actuarial Startup also suffer from chronic procrastination when it comes to studying for exams. It took us a while to get over it, but it is possible!
Are you interested in learning some tricks that will help you feel better about your studying and actually get stuff done? Well, here are some tips that will help you in your goal of beating those exams.
Naturally, we cannot guarantee that all of these tips work for everyone. However, even if one of these habits sticks to you, then we have succeeded!
The Jerry Seinfeld Method
In this article on Lifehacker, Brad Isaac talks about Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret. His secret was to write every day. “Big deal” – you say! “That is obvious!”
Well, indeed it is. However, Seinfeld had another tip that helped him push himself to stick to this routine. It was a unique calendar system he used to pressure himself to write.
“He said for each day that [you study], put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.”
We decided to modify his method slightly and instead of big red X, put a big green CHECKMARK on the day you study. When you skip a day, add a big red X. Check out the image above!
So head over to TimeAndDate.com and print out a calendar for the upcoming study months. Then pin it to the most visible spot in your gaff.
Side Thoughts Notepad
You know how the best thoughts about something else other than studying come to you five minutes after you started the new chapter? In fact, our plan for actuarial world domination came to us exactly like that!
You can cure that. Get rid of your smartphone, tablet, phablet or any other gadget that may distract you during your session. Instead, get yourself a small notepad and jot down these brilliant ideas there. Whenever a distracting thought pops into your head, quickly park it on the notepad for future review and resume studying. This is called “thought parking” and it can free up your mind from these distractions.
At the end of your study, transfer these notes to your smartphone’s ToDo manager and carry them anywhere!
Studying at Work
Studying at home sucks! There is the fridge, TV, internet, fridge… To ensure you are not distracted while you study, why don’t you try studying at work? Alternatively, you can try the local library, but the time you spend going to and from there could be used to study at the office.
Eddy Chan of PakStudyManual.com gives this invaluable advice in one of his How To’s. You shouldn’t study for 4 hours straight only in the evenings. Break your study session into the following segments:
- Arrive at the office 1 hour prior to the start of the work day and study
- Study half an hour at lunch
- Study 2 hours after work
Not only will your stay focused throughout the shorter study period, but you will minimize the distractions by studying in the work environment.
Most companies that employ actuarial students give a study allotment. So take this allotment in small batches, instead of taking one whole day off per week.
Leitner Flashcards System
Some of us, while reviewing the flashcards, only end up memorizing the first quarter of the bunch. The problem is that you always start at the top of the stack and rarely get all the way to the bottom.
If you are a fan of using flashcards to memorize the material, have a look at the Leitner System. While the whole system may be a bit too complex for most, you can certainly adapt it to your needs so that you memorize the whole stack more evenly.
There are, no doubt, a ton more tips we can write about. We definitely will do so in the future, in the meantime, please share your favourite tips in the comments!
Quote Source: Mark Twain
Image Source: Wikipedia