The Ultimate Study Guide


Related imageWe all have our own stratagems for getting through exams more or less alive. But some shortcuts are, of course, better than others.  In this article, I want to share the tips and tricks that every student should know to tackle almost any subject. I recently took up a tutoring job to teach English Language so suffice to say, I’m dubbing myself qualified enough to unveil the secrets.

The first thing you should know is that grades never come naturally. There is no such thing as overnight success or celestial intelligence. Your grades are always the product of sweat, blood (from the papercuts) and a shameful amount of tears, even breakdowns. Without the acknowledgement of this unfortunate fact, I’m afraid all is lost.

Hard work, however, isn’t the only ingredient to the concoctive report card. Organization of self asserts its influence just as effectively. Where does one begin, you ask? I’ll present three simple steps to get you started.

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Clutter to Declutter

In this step, assemble all your books and notes in a pile. Fetch a sheet of paper and list all the books you think you need for each subject. If you’re an O Level  student, you’ll end up with about ten columns for each subject.  Once you’ve got your books in order, place them neatly on your bookshelf or desk and move on to your notes. Ask yourself the following questions when deciding which to keep: Is this relevant? Will it help me on a test? Can I do without it? After the completion of this process of elimination, gather your notes into a folder for easy access and neatness. It’s up to you if you want to categorize them according to the subjects they belong to and get more than one folder. I would recommend the latter.

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Formulate a Schedule

This part is my favourite and for all the right reasons. First, you need to divide all the hours in the day according to the tasks or goals that need to be accomplished. For example, set a wake-up time for yourself when you give yourself time to adjust to the daylight and the prospect of a new, productive day. Allot a certain amount of time for homework or past paper practice each day, granting yourself frequent breaks in between. The schedule must include hobbies, a substantial amount of study time and an appropriate bed time. A study published in Journal of Sleep Research demonstrates the strong correlation between sleep problems and poor academic performances among adolescents.[1] For this reason, I do not recommend all-nighters because they do more harm than good in the long run.

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The purpose of the schedule is to gain more control of your time and balance out the hectic student lifestyle, leaving room for other activities which will result in a wholesome experience at school and at home. This will not only improve your grades but reduce stress, possibly resulting in a better relationship with family members and class fellows.


Yes, YouTube. Normally, my response to the involvement of the Internet or social media in the academic sphere would be that it’s a diversion bordering on addiction and devices should be kept well away while solving past papers. However, in this new age of technology and the rising popularity of online tutors, YouTube is the ally, not the enemy.

Teen girls doing homework in kitchen


This stage requires a little self-control. It’s alright to stray for five to ten minutes from Crash Course Biology to the latest episode of Last Week Tonight. The key is mindfulness and awareness of the passing time. Usually though, most YouTube channels make it fun so straying only happens on the lazy days. Speaking of which, I would recommend a lazy day. Put aside one day when you don’t study and it can be any day of the week where you go crazy and binge watch your favourite TV series. That much is allowed if it’s only one day and doesn’t develop into a habit.

These are the three tips that helped me when I was preparing for my O Level and I managed grades good enough to be able to guarantee that they work. I hope they do the same for you.

You might also like Calling All Teens –Take A Chill Pill

Written by Manal Mohsin.

[1] Published by Science Daily, February 8, 2016.

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