Effective study habits for IGCSE and IB students

Studying for IGCSE or IB exams can seem like an overwhelming task. But with good study habits, learning can be routine and easy.

The first and most important element is to establish a timetable for your revision plan. You need to review the syllabus and divide the course content you are responsible for according to the time remaining. By pacing yourself, you can reduce stress and allocate yourself a reasonable amount of work each week.

You also need to think about your learning style to understand what techniques will work best for you. Are you a visual learner? Do you prefer to read and write? Or do you absorb material best by listening and talking? You might even be a kinesthetic learner and benefit most from hands-on activities. Understanding how you learn best can help you target your review activities, from making pictures and diagrams, to listening to recorded materials or using flash cards.

A number of tools can help you make the most of your study time and break down concepts for better comprehension. Of course, taking clear and accurate notes is one essential study skill. Too many students attempt to simply copy down everything the instructor says; this can actually interfere with your ability to absorb material, since you will be focused on hurrying to write notes. Instead, try to focus on understanding the material and noting down key concepts and connections. Although many students prefer to type, students should also consider handwriting notes rather than typing them, as research has shown that material is learned more effectively through handwritten note-taking. Adding elements like drawings and graphics to your notes can greatly enhance their impact. Mind maps are a particularly useful type of graphic organizer that students can use to display and connect different topics.

Past papers are essential to your revision process. By taking past papers, especially under timed conditions that simulate the actual exam, you can see how you would handle a real test. Often taking a practice test will help you see that you need to revise more on concepts you thought you had mastered! A private tutor can also help you make the most of your study time. By guiding your study targets and helping you assess your study progress, an experienced tutor can help you make sure that you stay on track and reach your goals on schedule.