Helpful Study Tips

With it being back to school season, students all over the world are trying to find the best methods to make this academic year as productive as possible, and CareerFear is here to help. Here are a few scientifically backed study tips for you to try out.

1. Give yourself enough time to study.
We’ve all stayed up late the night before a big test trying to fit as much information into our overstuffed minds as possible. Cramming the night before, having slacked off all year, never works. There’s no way the brain can grasp onto that much material in such a short amount of time. Your best course of action if you choose this method is to pay attention every day in class, revise every night before you sleep, and then refresh your memory once or twice the day before the exam.

2. Move around.
“How can I remember stuff more easily?” Study in different places. This forces the brain to make new associations with the same material and makes it easier to remember.

3. Rewards!
Human beings like to be rewarded for their hard work. Its totally normal. Set small studying goals and, upon achieving them, treat yourself to something that fits the goal. Candy bars, a short (and strictly time enforced!) nap, and time with friends are all good ideas.


4. Study groups.
Host a study group and invite as many people as possible. The more people who show up, the more likely it is that someone will understand something that you don’t. Studying in a less controlled environment can also help you feel more comfortable and more receptive to information.

5. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
“How do I stay focused on a task?” Studies suggest that it takes 15 minutes for your brain to become fully immersed in a task. Set a timer for 15 minutes and get to work. When the timer goes off, you can choose to take a small break or keep working for another 15 minutes.


Summer – Career Thinking

As my GCSE’s are starting to wrap up, I can happily say that in a week or so, it will be summertime! Summer is for travel, summer is for fun, summer is for rejuvenation. I’m certainly looking forward to it, and I’m sure you are, too.

Since summer tends to be peaceful and a laid-back time of year, we should use it to sit back, and reflect on where we’re going. Especially since college is on everyone’s mind, people start to try and acquire work experience and career insight in a mad rush to impress colleges or find a major they would enjoy. This isn’t right.

I encourage all students to start thinking about careers from Freshman Year (Year 10), and actively looking into careers that interest them. We’ve said it many times on the site – CareerFear – while a key resource – shouldn’t be your cripple when it comes to making important decisions about your future. If a career interests you, summer is the perfect time to try it out! Work experience and career thinking go hand in hand, so whether it’s working at McDonalds, interning at a law firm or volunteering for a local hospital, you’ll learn important things about working in the real world and find out more about yourself in the process.

I hope to announce a partnership with DubaiMinds – a service linking high school students in the UAE to work internships. They are an organization with similar interests and goals as CareerFear, and I see the two non-profits sharing a mutually beneficial symbiosis in the future. But – while this isn’t confirmed or official to any extent year – I do recommend you look them up for more information.

Use your summer well; travel, party, chill, relax – but also use it as a time to sort yourself out so you’re organized and ready for your future. One e-mail to the organization you’d like to intern with/work with over summer is all it really takes for you to make it happen. So make it happen. Hope this helps.


Preparation: Sixth Form

Recently, I was admitted to the school I wanted to go to in England for next year. I applied for Sixth Form Entry (Year 12/Junior Year). The admissions process consisted of a few things: Entrance Exams, Interviews and a critical thinking test. It was especially nerve racking because on the day of the entrance exams, some thousand kids showed up, and we were all herded into a large room (enormous) where we were just routinely seated side by side. I think there were 50 rows of 25 kids each. You could see anyone and everyone. Then, the top 20% of performances on the entrance exams were invited for an interview and were asked to sit the TSA (Critical Thinking Exam). Of that top 20%, the top 25% of applicants were admitted – it was an anxiety inducing process, to say the least.

I’d like to think that I prepared well for it, and I hope that by telling you what I did right, or what I feel I would’ve changed next time you can learn something.

For the entrance exams: I got in touch with pupils at the school, former pupils at the school, and scoured online student forums. All I needed was information about what exactly the exam was testing, so I could prepare. The vast majority of people I asked gave me bland responses like: “The entry exams are meant to test natural thinking ability, you can’t prepare for them.”. I suggest whenever you hear something of this sort, simply ignore it. From what I saw, you can prepare for everything. Once I was told they tend to ask you about the GCSE syllabus and ask some questions about unfamiliar topics in the A level syllabus so they can see how well you react to new scenarios, I immediately chalked out a plan of action. I finish the GCSE syllabus for the subjects I was taking so that I had a strong foundation. Then, I studied a lot of the A level syllabus so I got accustomed to thinking analytically like they wanted me to. I did a lot of past entrance papers, including the entrance papers from other schools in England (I was sure they couldn’t be too different). I knew the material very well, I think that helped a lot and it made me more comfortable showing up for the examinations.

For the interviews: So the preparation was simple for the interviews. Learn a lot about the school (Wikipedia, the school website, local press etc.), its history, famous alumni, important things that go on there, famous traditions etc.. This way when you’re being interviewed you can ask intelligent questions about the school, and can also refer to information about the school you could only know through research, the interviewer will be quite impressed. Also, if you’re shy – make sure to do some practice interviews with parents, teachers or friends. Obviously, try make it as realistic as possible. Put yourself in difficult situations with awkward questions to see how you would react. The most important thing, however, is to make sure that you are relaxed and just being yourself on the day of the interview – that’s who the interviewer wants to see, don’t make their life any more difficult.

For the critical thinking test: I simply did all the past papers, did papers more difficult than the one I was to sit, which helped. Get in the rhythm of it by doing logic puzzles, and reviewing your mistakes and solutions to the past papers carefully.

As you can see, preparation is king. As (the king himself) Conor McGregor says, “It’s a beautiful moment when preparation meets opportunity”. Prepare better than everyone, but on the day – forget everything and act natural, your hard work will instinctively come into play. Hope this helps.