We as students are required to understand and memorize a large amount of information at school. However, no one teaches us how to study effectively. When I began the IBDP, I learned to change my approach to studying. We should strive for balance between our academic and personal lives, so that we don’t burn ourselves out. The following are three tips that worked for me and boosted my grades. I hope you find them helpful for your IB journey as well!
IB is a new challenge for the first-year students because it’s a new, different program. Therefore, it is important to find your best approach to tackling the IB subjects. It’s possible that each subject may need different note-taking methods — after all, there’s no one universal method that guarantees you a great performance. That is why the first semester is the best period to try out different note-taking methods and study techniques. Find what suits you and works the best for you.
2. Active recall
Learning passively involves reading certain material, highlighting it and hoping it’ll stay in your brain. This is an inefficient way of learning. According to research, the best way to retain knowledge is to regularly test yourself after learning the content. There are various numbers of practice tests and past papers which you can find anywhere on the internet. When you recall the information and test yourself constantly it stays in your memory much longer.
In addition to those previously mentioned, there are many other ways to recall information and learn more actively. For instance, you could use flashcards to write questions for yourself. Another way to become a more active learner is to simply close the book after reading and try to recall everything out loud. Your performance in class will improve! Of course, it will not be as easy as highlighting the sentences, but in the long run it will save your life as an IB student. You should definitely check out active-recall-god Ali Abdaal for more insight.
3. Work with Small Chunks
I used to be that kid who would write notes from class and textbooks word for word, spending almost the whole day on just one subject. By now, I’ve overcome that habit!
Now, I read the material in the textbook and write out the main concepts connecting the main ideas with arrows. It helped me to avoid writing unnecessary words and concentrate on the most important information! I turned large paragraphs into 2-3 sentences that captured the essence of the concept. Afterwards, I’d regularly revise my efficient notes.
There are hundreds of different study techniques out there, but these are the three that worked for me; I hope they work for you too!