Study Advice

The Best Study Methods

By Eimear Dinneen - 6 minute read

We get asked a lot by students about the best way to study. The simple answer is that it's impossible to tell you what the best study method for you is, without knowing what kind of a learner you are. In this blog, we walk you through different methods of studying in order for you to find what is best for you. 

Firstly, we recommend you try taking a few short online tests to determine your learning style. There are lots out there, like this one on Education Planner or the VARK questionnaire.

Once you have a good idea of what kind of learner you are, you'll know what kind of study methods will suit you best. Have a look at our top study methods below!

This method is good for both Visual and Reading/Writing Learners!

Past Papers

We can't say it enough, the key to success in your matric year is practicing past papers over and over. The same kind of questions come up again and again, so the best way to prepare is to know those papers back to front and inside out. This study method should suit most learners, and it's a great way to relieve stress about doing the exams because you'll be so familiar with the layout and format of the questions.

You can practice using all past papers and questions by topic by upgrading to a PLUS account. This makes it so easy to go through all the questions that have come up in a particular topic and spend time perfecting those questions. 

Mind Maps

Mind maps can be a great way of studying not only because of the visual aspects but also through association. By connecting words and ideas via branches, you should be able to recall more information later on by associating the words you linked with one another. 

We go through how to make and use mind maps in our blog here, so check it out if you're a visual learner!

Kinesthetic learners might like to get more creative and make maps on a big whiteboard or use physical items and string to make connections and associations.

Recording Yourself

This method of studying might not be for everyone. Many people don't like hearing the sound of their own voice, but it can be effective for the auditory learners amongst you.

Try using the voice recorder on your phone to record yourself reading some of your notes aloud. You can then listen to these audio notes instead of reading over them again and again. For some people, this works amazingly because their brain intakes knowledge much better through hearing the information.

Write out your notes

This might seem basic, but this method works for the reading/writing learners out there. Studies have proven that you will remember information better if you write it out/take notes with a pen and paper as opposed to typing them up on a computer. 

Try recreating notes you saw online or received from a teacher by writing up new pages and highlighting the most important pieces. Creating and seeing your own work will help you retain the information a lot better.

Watch videos

Some people might absorb information best by reading about something, but visual learners will absorb it much easier by watching a video about it. 

While there might not be videos for every subject and topic, YouTube and other streaming sites offer a vast library of educational content. From Geography to Life Sciences, there is a wide range of visual/audio content online to help you study in a more interactive, fun and visual way. As a starting point, check out the videos on our Community page.

Listen to podcasts

This is perfect for auditory learners. Podcasts are becoming hugely popular, and it's only a matter of time before there is a lot of helpful content for Grade 12 in podcast form. Currently, the best subjects to use podcasts for when you're studying would be language subjects or History. There are many podcasts that talk about various events in history, so for those of you studying History in matric, you can easily find podcasts that discuss a topic you might be studying at the moment and make it easier to understand.

Reading over notes and books

This seems like a classic method, but it may not work for a lot of people. Many students complain about reading something over and over but it just won't go in. This is usually a sign you're not a reading/writing learner.

If you are, then great! You'll probably find it easy to retain information by just reading it from your textbook, from memos or your notes.

Our advice would be not to waste your time on this method unless you're certain it works for you! Generally, students spend too much time trying to absorb information this way, even though it doesn't suit their learning style.

Teaching/explaining to someone else

A really good way of checking if you've retained information is to try and teach or explain the concept to someone else. This could be your classmate or friend, or you could even try it on a parent or sibling! If you find that you can convey the correct meaning of what you're explaining to the other person, and they also feel that they understand. You'll know that you've correctly studied and repeating it to someone else is a brilliant way to revise and confirm that you got this.

Kinesthetic learners might do this by creating a scenario with physical objects and acting out the concept.

Another way of putting this into practice is by using our Community page. There are lots of students struggling with different questions and concepts, so why not try being the one to explain it to them!

Get someone else to quiz you

A great way to check if you really know your work or not is to get someone else to ask you questions about it. For example, you're done studying a topic and want to check how much you know. You might think you can answer anything when you're alone and answering your own questions, but it can be a lot different if you have to say it out loud to someone else! 

Ask a friend or a family member to quiz you on various aspects of what you studied and try to answer them as best you can out loud. You'll be able to immediately identify what you do and don't know.

Quizzes

If you don't have someone at home to quiz you, we can! Our quiz feature gamifies the study experience by asking questions (based on past exam questions) on a topic to see how much you know.

This is a really fun and easy way to study that matches all learner types. You get to see your score at the end and know where you need to improve afterwards! Check out our quizzes.

In conclusion

Of course, there are even more study methods that we haven't mentioned; maybe you've found a different or new way that works for you!

These are only a few study strategies, but they have been proven to work and are really popular. We recommend trying most if not all of them out at least once to see which one has the best results for you. 

Happy studying!