Jade Bowler knows how to study. Over on her Youtube channel, UnJaded Jade, she's been sharing her insights for studying better for the last few years. With the return to school just around the corner, Jade is transporting her knowledge from the screen to the page in her new book The Only Study Guide You’ll Ever Need.
So to help you get prepped for your desks, we just had to ask Jade for her top 5 studying tips.
Learn How Humans Learn
“My biggest study tip begins before you even pick up the pen. There are hundreds of study techniques out there — from completing practise questions, to sleeping with a textbook under your bed and hoping for information osmosis (we've all been there!) — that without a simple understanding of what makes learning work, it's easy to waste your precious study time.
Early on in my book, I outline a simple framework of questions to determine whether or not a study technique is useful based on the science of learning. Ask yourself: am I studying passively, or actively? Passive revision feels easy. It's rereading information, mindlessly copying up facts, or gliding a highlighter over a textbook while watching Netflix. On the other hand, active recall requires you to drag information from your brain. It can feel more taxing, but is an amazing use of time to enhance your retention. Spend a little time understanding how you learn to make your revision most effective. Study less, but study smart.”
“What sounds like your best friend blurting out gossip is in fact my favourite revision technique. To use this, choose a chapter or topic that you want to learn, such as Chapter 2 of GCSE Biology, write down a few prompt words from the chapter to jog your memory and then grab a plain piece of paper. Put away all of your notes and textbooks and ‘blurt’ down everything you can remember from the chapter! Write down all the processes, key facts and details using the prompts to help guide you.
When you've written down everything you can remember, compare your blurt to the textbook. Make a note of where you went wrong to guide your future revision. Suddenly, you know exactly what you do and don't know! This is an amazing way to use active recall and check in with your learning.”
Shop academic diaries
It's Time for Timetables
“With so much information to cover in the lead up to exams, it's important to structure your time in a way which lets you tackle it all. Insert timetables. This simple time-to-time schedule lets you allocate the right amount of time to every topic that you need to go over. Before you start scheduling, make sure to rank your topics and subjects in order of priority based on how well you understand them. You don't naturally like Maths? That's okay, give it a higher priority in the revision timetable! You find that topic of Religious Studies easy? Amazing, you probably don't need to spend as long on it.
Once you've ranked your subjects, start to schedule your revision activities into a weekly timetable, making sure to block off any existing commitments such as extracurriculars. Lastly, make sure to schedule regular breaks because you're not a grade-producing machine!”
How to Beat Procrastination: The Pomodoro Technique
“The hardest part of studying is just starting. We love to overthink our to-do lists until they seem impossible. A practical way to beat procrastination is The Pomodoro Technique. Simply set a 25-minute timer and dedicate the entire period to just one task. If you break focus, you have to start the timer again. After 25-minutes of focus, you can reward yourself with a 5-minute break. The beauty of this technique is that it helps you get over the friction of just starting. The odds are that after your session of focus, you won't mind continuing. Phone on airplane mode. Timer on. Study sesh activated.”
Sanctity of Space
“When I'm in the kitchen, I cook food. When I'm in the gym, I exercise. When I'm sitting at a desk in the library... I'm going on my phone? Oops. One of my top tips for mindset is to develop sanctity over your chosen study space. This is training your brain to know that when you enter this space, you're deciding to focus. This will stop you getting distracted as easily! Sanctity of space can include having a dedicated study playlist, wearing a certain outfit when you want to revise, or never going on your phone at your desk. The clearer, the better.
And, most importantly, remember that you are not defined by your grades. You have worth beyond whatever percentage lands on that piece of paper. At the end of the day, all you can do is your best in that exact moment, with all the surrounding circumstances of your grand life.
Your best is always enough. Remember that.”