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My name is Emma and in today's video I am going to teach you my top study tips.
So if you are having a test coming up or an exam,
this might be a high school test or
it might be the IELTS, the TOEFL, the CELPIP-there's so many different tests-maybe it's a university
exam, whatever the case - if you have a test coming up, this video is for you.
Okay? So I'm going to teach you a lot of well-researched tips that can really help you improve your
marks and to feel more confident the day you're actually taking the test.
Okay, so let's get started at some study tips.
My first question to you is I want you to think about it.
You have a test coming up, where do you study?
Some people study in their bed, some might study in the library, maybe a coffee shop,
a classroom, or your home.
In your opinion, what is the best way to study?
Okay, well, if you said your bed, for most people this is a very bad idea.
The reason why is if you're studying in your bed with all your books and your notes, your
brain, when you're in bed you start thinking about sleep.
So if you're studying in your bed, you might become very sleepy and it might be harder
to study.
So, in...
I would not recommend this.
Okay? I don't think the bed is a good place to study.
What about a library?
Some people like studying in libraries, and sometimes it's a good idea.
But if you're doing an English test, like where you have a speaking component, a library
may or may not be a good place for you.
What you really want to do is think about: Where are you taking this test?
If you're going to be in a room with many people who maybe are talking or are being
loud, you want to study in a similar environment.
So, for some people the library, you know, might be a good place.
For other people, maybe the library is not the best place.
My point is: You want to study in a place that is just like the environment you'll be
taking the test in.
So, this is a possibility.
Other people might study in coffee shops.
Now, if you're doing the IELTS or the TOEFL, this is not a bad idea because at least you're
surrounded by people, you're surrounded by distractions, and on your test day you probably
will have some sort of distractions around you, especially if people are doing speaking
tests where they're talking and you can hear them.
So, being around people, if you're doing a test where people will be kind of loud and
distracting, a coffee shop is a good idea.
But if, you know, there's no speaking component to your test, maybe you're just writing an
essay or something like that, then maybe a classroom might actually be a better place.
If you're in school and you can go to a place that looks like where you're taking the test,
this is the best thing you can do.
For home, I personally don't think home is the greatest place to study and I'll tell you why.
At home you have your furniture, you have your bed, you have all these distractions
around you, so it's easy to stop paying attention to what you're studying, and also your house
is not like the environment you'll be taking the test in.
You want an environment as similar as possible to where you're actually taking the test,
so I would not recommend studying at home.
One thing, though, is sometimes it's good to study in multiple locations because the
more places you study, the more memories you'll actually have of what you're studying, you'll
remember: "Okay, I remember studying this at this coffee shop.
I remember studying this at this library, and this at this classroom."
So that can actually help...
You know, the more places you study, the more memories you will have.
Okay, another important thing to note is: Think about your personality.
Are you an introvert?
This means: Are you a quiet person who kind of prefers to be alone most of the time, where
you don't really like big groups?
Or maybe you're an extrovert. Okay?
So this is where you love big groups, you're, you know, the life of the party, you like
being around people.
Do you like being alone or with people?
Because depending on your answer to that, it can really affect your studying.
If you like being around people, one of the bad choices maybe for studying is going somewhere
alone and studying alone, especially maybe in a library.
Because if you like action and you like being around people, and then you have to study
in a very quiet environment and you don't have your friends around or your classmates,
that might be very boring for you and you might not pay attention, you might get distracted
because you're so bored.
Whereas if you're an introvert, maybe you like quiet places, maybe a library is a good
place to study for you.
You know, maybe it's not good to study with other people.
So know your personality.
Instead of just doing...
You know, going to the library and studying, if you're an extrovert, this might be a bad idea.
And it's the same with study groups.
If you like being with people, a study group is a great way in order to learn the information
and to find out maybe things you don't know so well, because during a study group everybody's
asking each other questions, so you start to think about things maybe you're unfamiliar
with, you don't know as well as other people.
So a study group is a very good idea, but be careful with who is in your study group.
You don't want to study with people who are going to distract you by watching Facebook...
Or watching YouTube videos of puppies and cats.
Okay? That will not help you with studying.
You want to be with people who are focused and serious about studying.
So be careful with who you study with.
Okay, another key thing about studying is about being bored.
A lot of people, they don't want to study and they find it very boring, and so they
go, they sit there, and they're so bored, and yet they just keep reading the material
again, and again, and again.
Your brain hates being bored.
Okay? It's not good for your memory if while you're trying to learn you're very bored.
You are not going to learn that much.
You need to make the material interesting.
Very important.
One way to do this is, you know, thinking about the material maybe in more fun ways.
Maybe the material will help you in your life later on or maybe...
Maybe being in a study group might be more fun for you.
So there's different ways to make what you're studying more interesting.
Very important you think about: How can I actually study in an interesting way instead
of just, you know, readying the textbook, or reading, you know, the material again and again.
That's really boring.
How can you make it more interesting?
All right, so now let's look at some more tips on how to study better.
Okay, so one very important thing to think about when you're studying is if you're studying
in an active way or a passive way.
So an active way is where you're actually doing something with what you're learning,
you're taking it one step farther.
So I'll give you some examples of active in a second.
First let's talk about passive.
Passive is where you just keep reading the material again and again and again.
You're not actually doing anything, you're not drawing any pictures, you're not imagining
the material, you're just reading again and again, and this is very passive, which means
that you're not really using your brain that much for this, and so you're not remembering
the information that well.
The better approach is to do things actively.
So, how can we remember...?
How can we do things more active when we're studying?
Well, one active activity you can do to help you study is to teach somebody the information.
Okay? So if you're learning about the present perfect, teach your friend: What is the present perfect?
How do I use it?
You can even make a small presentation about the material you're learning, because that
way you're actually really thinking about it, and the person you're teaching might have
questions for you and those questions might make you realize:
"Oh, I don't actually know this about this subject.
This is something I want to learn."
A great thing to do.
Draw different images.
Okay? So you can do flow charts, diagrams, putting the information...
Instead of just writing it, you know, sentence by sentence, using different types of visual
aids can really help you in your studies.
Similarly with pictures, if you're learning new vocabulary, draw a picture of it.
You know, this really helped me when I was learning French.
Every new word I would learn, I'd draw a funny picture with it, and those pictures really
helped me remember the words.
Doing past tests.
If you can get a copy of a previous test, that is, you know, one of the best things
that you can do to prepare.
So if you're taking the IELTS, doing previous IELTS tests; if you're doing the TOEFL, past
TOEFL tests; or if you're in a university course, doing a test from the years before
can really, really help you in your studying.
Creating your own test.
This is a great idea because you really start to think about: What information is important?
And creating your own test will really help you remember the answers.
So it's an active way to study.
And this is also a little bit more interesting than just reading, you know, the same thing
again and again.
Memory tricks.
There are a lot of different memory tricks you can use to remember information.
I'm going to give you an example of one for math.
When I had to learn math, I had to learn about how to solve an equation, and so they taught
us this, BEDMAS.
B stands for brackets, equation, division, multiplication, addition, subtraction.
So, each of these letters stands for something and it's a lot more difficult to remember
that when you're just thinking about all those words on their own.
But if you use something where you take the first letter of different words, it can really
help you.
Same with if you think about music.
If you've ever learned to play an instrument, you might learn the different notes.
In English what we say is "Every Boy Deserves Fudge", I think that's what it was.
Something similar to that.
But using these types of mental tricks can really help you in your studying.
You know, the more you can imagine what you're studying the better it's going to be for you.
And especially if you're learning new vocabulary, trying to come up with, you know, different
images of that vocabulary can help you.
There's the rule of ridiculousness where if you're trying to remember something, the crazier
a mental picture is or the crazier a visualization is, the easier it is for you to remember.
So I do this all the time.
Even, you know, if I need to remember my groceries, what I need to buy from the supermarket, I
don't even have to write down a list because I can imagine the different food I need to
pick up in funny, crazy ways, and then I really remember what I need.
So the rule of ridiculousness is the crazier, the stranger something is, the more you're
going to remember it.
It's the same with emotions.
If you can...
You know, you remember things that are very emotional.
Okay? So if you're angry, if you're sad, if you're happy, you tend to remember things a lot easier
than things that are boring.
So think about: How can you add emotion to what you're studying?
Maybe something you're studying makes you very happy, or maybe, you know, something...
You know, makes you scared or whatever emotion, if you can harness your emotions they can
really help you remember better.
Time lines, if you're learning different tenses in English-present perfect, past simple, you
know, present continuous-these are really confusing for students.
Drawing a time line can really help you get your head around this while you're studying.
Okay? So if you're learning the present perfect or the past simple, you know, here is now,
here is in the past, you know, making different images like this can really help you.
Mind maps.
We have, you know, a lot of resources on mind maps.
Pretty much you have a word or an idea in the centre, and around you write connected ideas.
These are great ways to visualize information.
Even if you're writing an essay, doing something like a mind map can help you get out your
ideas on what you want to write and organize what you want to write, so they're a great
If you're interested in using mind maps, if you look in the description of our video,
you can actually find a link which gives a lesson on how to do a really good mind map,
so I highly recommend that.
All right, so now let's look at some more tips on how to study better.
Okay, so my next tip is really important.
You need to try to find out as much about the test as possible.
You need to know: Is it multiple choice?
Is it short answers?
How long is the test?
If you're doing the TOEFL or the IELTS, you might want to know, you know:
When does the listening section happen?
When is the reading section?
When is the speaking section?
So, you know, what kind of instructions am I going to see?
You really do need to know what to expect on...
On the test and on test day because this is going to help you with your anxiety.
The more you know about the test, the less nervous you will actually be on the day of
your test, so very important to find out as much information as possible.
And this is why doing practice tests and past tests is a very good idea.
Okay, this is something I found really interesting that I just learned maybe two years ago about
the importance of your body and your physical state on the day of the exam.
When you study, what you do in terms of what you're drinking, what you're eating, you know,
what time you're doing it, you really want to try to match it to the day of the exam.
So, what do I mean by this?
Well, for example, if you drink coffee while you're studying, it's good if on the day of
the test you drink coffee before your test.
If you are drunk when you're studying, something I don't recommend, but this is actually strange
but true, if you study drunk-and again, it's better not to, but if you do-you'd actually
probably do better on the test drunk than sober.
And this is why what I'm saying about what your body is doing is very important.
If you drink tea while you study, drink tea the day of the exam.
Try to match what you're doing while you're studying with what is going to happen on the
day of the exam.
You will actually notice quite a difference.
Same with when you study.
If your exam is in the morning at 8am and every night you study at 9pm, there's a bit
of a mismatch because your body is going to be different on the day of the exam.
So I would recommend: Study around the time your actual exam is.
That will actually have a difference in terms of, you know...
It will really help you on test day.
So if you study at 8pm and the test is at 8pm, that's great.
Also, you know, it's a good thing to time yourself.
If on the day of the test you only have 40 minutes to do the test, practice the test
with timing.
So, do the test in a 40-minute span.
If you have four hours, try the test at least one time the full length of the test.
That's definitely a good way to prepare.
Okay, this is the most important thing I am going to say in this video, more important
than any of the other tips: You need to sleep before the test.
Many students try to study all night, and then they do the test.
This is the worst thing you can do.
Your brain, in order to remember...
In order to remember things, you really, really need sleep.
Your memory and sleep are so closely tied together that if you don't sleep, you don't remember.
So this is why it's very good to actually plan when you're going to study in advance.
Make a study plan, so you have many nights to study, which means you have many day...
Or many nights of sleep.
Because each day you study you really want to sleep well so you will remember the information. Okay?
Very important.
If you ignore everything else, number one thing is: Sleep well before your test.
And when you're studying, sleep well.
Okay, and this is number eight which I sort of already touched upon.
You need to review multiple days.
For those people who think:
"Oh, you know, two days is enough.
I'm just going to study for two days and, you know, do my test", it's a terrible idea
because maybe if you're lucky, maybe you'll do okay on your test, but you're just going
to forget all that information later on, and so it's kind of a waste of an opportunity.
If you study a little bit every day, you know, for a couple of weeks before your test, you
actually remember the material a lot more and you're going to remember it for a lot longer.
So you might as well study a little bit every day and have, you know, two or three weeks
before the test do this, instead of just doing everything the night before.
Okay, my next trick is called the KWL method.
This is a great way, you know, especially when you're starting to study.
K stands for know, W stands for want to know, and L stands for learn.
So, what you can do when you're, you know, studying is you can...
Before you start studying, you can write about what you already know about the subject.
So imagine I want to study about the present perfect.
I'll write down everything I already know about the present perfect, and so, you know,
I can do it like a column and write down everything I know here.
For W it stands for want to know, so I can think about any questions I have about the subject.
You know, maybe I want to know: When do we use the present perfect?
Or: Why do we use the present perfect?
Is this an example of the present perfect?
And it can be for anything.
Even if you're studying biology, you know, you're studying the human body, you can use
this also.
It's good for any material you're studying.
So you write down questions on what you want to know here.
And then after you study, think about: What did you actually learn?
There's always something you're going to learn, maybe some interesting fact, maybe you learned
the material.
You can write down under L everything you learned.
This way, you're actually thinking about everything you know about a subject, which helps you
to kind of put together the pieces and to see what you already know, what you need to
know, and what you learned at the end.
So this is a great method for learning.
Okay, so now let's look at a couple more tips on how to improve our studying.
Okay, so my next tip is about thinking about your body's health, which is very important
when you study.
My first tip is actually, you know, be aware of what you're eating.
If you eat, like, you know, healthy, it will actually help you with studying.
So keep eating and keep hydrated.
Drink a lot of water, that's very important, too.
A lot of students get very stressed with exams and tests.
If you're writing the IELTS and TOEFL, maybe...
Or a university exam, just those words actually cause your body to, you know, get really nervous.
So one way to deal with this is just deep breathing.
Okay? So when you think about something that makes you really nervous or maybe you're looking
at something while you're studying and you have no idea what it means, and you start
to panic, take a deep breath because that will help.
It tells your body...
You know, it sends a message to your body and it will help you to calm down.
You know, this is similar also with stress management.
A lot of things people don't think about when they're studying is:
How do they deal with the stress?
When you're very stressed, you don't actually learn as much, and this is actually really
a problem on a lot of tests.
You know, especially if you're doing a language test, the speaking part, because when you're
stressed out your language actually declines, you're not doing as good a job.
So it's important to learn stress management techniques in order to deal with the stress
so you can remember more and be more successful at your exam.
So breathing is one good management tip, you know, listening to calming music can help.
There's different things you can do in order to help you with stress.
Exercise is another good thing to do when you're studying.
You want to get blood up to your brain, so walking is excellent.
You know?
Make sure you take breaks while you study and do some sort of movement.
It will really help you with remembering the material and, you know, not overwhelming your brain.
So exercise, especially walking is a really good idea.
Okay, so now we've done a lot of study tips.
What about on the day of the test itself?
So it's important to have a plan on the actual day of the test.
My one very important thing is arrive early.
A lot of students come late, and then they're just so much more stressed because, you know,
now they're looking for their pencil, they're looking for their pen, they're panicked.
No. Arrive early, it's very important.
Like I said before, sleep well before the test, also very important.
And be prepared.
Have your bag ready the night before, have your pens, pencils, know what you're going
to wear the day of the test.
Have everything prepared so you don't have to think about it, because you're going to
be thinking about other things and you might forget something, you might forget your ID
or what you need, so have it all prepared the night before.
I already mentioned walking is very good.
On the day of the test itself while you're waiting, you know, instead of just sitting
there, you can walk around.
That will help get blood up to your brain and that will help you, you know, prepare
yourself for the test.
And also, it will help you with stress.
Power poses. So, I've done a video on power poses before, which you can check out.
But pretty much know what your body is doing while you're taking the test and before.
If you're like, you know, closed up like this, that actually makes you more nervous, versus
if you're, you know, bigger and more comfortable, you'll feel more confident.
So even while you're writing the test, you know, be aware of what your body's doing because
that can actually impact how you feel and that can impact how you do.
If you're doing an English proficiency test, speak English during the test.
Well, not during the test while you're writing, but I mean during breaks.
You know, for example, sometimes you have a listening part and then you have a 15-minute
break, and then you have a reading part.
During the break time it's a good idea to keep English flowing into your mind.
So if you want to call, you know, your parents who speak a different language, that's not
a good idea.
It's better to keep...
You know, keep the material in mind.
So, you know, even talking to somebody in English can really help during break time.
Okay? So think about: How do...?
How can you use your breaks in the most effective way possible?
All right, so we have just a couple more tips.
I know we have a lot, but just a couple more tips to go.
Okay, so we've talked about, you know, some really important tips already.
The next one is actually really important also, and that's: Read the instructions.
So whenever you have a test or exam, be very careful and make sure you actually read everything.
A lot of students, they're very nervous and they're anxious, and so they rush and they
don't read everything, and as a result sometimes they put the wrong answer just because they
didn't read the question correctly. Okay?
So I'm going to give you an example of that.
A lot of the times on tests you'll have a question, for example:
"Which is/are not an example of...?"
You know, and it might be something like the present perfect or the brain.
So it can be anything here, but what a lot of students don't notice is this part.
First they miss the "not", so this means that you're actually, you know...
If this is a multiple choice question and it says: "Which is not an example of...?"
students who don't read the question might actually put what is an example of something.
So be very careful of the word "not".
Another thing to be very careful of when you read questions: "is" and "are".
Sometimes you'll just have the word "is", and that just means you just need to find
one thing.
Sometimes you'll have the word "are", and that means that you have to find multiple things.
So if you're doing multiple choice and you have: "Which are", there might be two correct answers.
I know for the IELTS a lot of students make mistakes because they don't read the instructions,
and they're actually supposed to put down, you know, multiple things, but they just put
down one.
So be very careful and read all instructions, especially when it has to do with, like, how
many answers to put down or how many, like...
If you have letters A, B, C, D, E: How many of those can you put down?
How many choices can you put?
Okay, very important.
Another thing, I always do this whenever I'm doing an exam or a test is I underline key words.
So, for example, that means underline.
So, every question I look at I actually will look for the main idea and underline it.
This can also really help because sometimes you'll see where it's like always or never,
even in the answers.
There are certain words that might trick you, and so it's a good idea to actually underline
key words because you'll pay more attention then and maybe be more careful with these tricks.
Okay, number 14: Star-and this is a star-what you don't know.
So many students waste time because they don't know the answer to something, and they just
look at it, and they keep thinking and thinking and thinking, and it takes them forever.
And then, you know, maybe they do get the answer, but then the test is over and they
haven't finished.
So a good idea is actually to put a star beside what you don't know...
So, for example...
And this means you'll come back to it later.
Do what you know first.
Sometimes it's even good to do the easiest questions first, because then you feel more
confident and you feel better.
You don't panic if you do what you know first, and you don't run out of time.
So do what you know first.
Anything you don't know just put a star beside it, and come back at the end.
Oftentimes, too, this is good because sometimes other questions will actually have clues or
will help you with that question you're having trouble or difficulty with.
Okay, my final tip, when you're doing multiple choice...
So, multiple choice is when you have A, B, C, D, E, and you have to pick which one is
the correct answer.
There's a lot of different tips for multiple choice specifically.
I'm going to tell you two things you can do if you have multiple choice on your test now.
My first tip is think about each answer, and why it is true or why it's not true.
Too many students, they look at what A is, B is, or they don't even look.
They see A, they think: "Oh, I think A is correct", and they just circle it.
No. You need to read every single one.
You need to read A, B, C, D, and E, and really think about it.
"Okay, I know it's not B. Why?
I know it's not C. Why?"
So definitely the key question here is: Why is it this and why is it not that?
So always during multiple choice ask yourself: Why?
Another tip for multiple choice, which I always do on my exams and I find it really helps
me, is when I go through them I will put an X on the ones I know are not correct.
So, for example, if this is A and I know it's wrong, I'll just cross it off.
As soon as I ask myself: "Why?
Okay, it's wrong", I put an X on it, and then I go to B. Is B right or is it wrong?
I think about it.
If I know it's wrong, I put an X on it.
So as soon as I'm sure the answer is wrong, I cross it out and then I leave what, you know...
Maybe I don't know if it's C or D, so then I'll take some time to think about those.
But I always cross off which answers I know are incorrect.
I find that really helps.
Okay, so we've covered a lot which is really good.
There's a lot of tips on how to study.
And again, I'm just going to say this one more time because out of everything, most
important thing: Sleep before your exam.
So, I hope you've enjoyed this video
and I want to invite you to come visit our website at
There, you can actually do a quiz in order to practice some of these tips.
And like I said before, doing a quiz is actually a great way to remember things because it's active. Okay?
You're doing something.
You're not just sitting and listening, you're actually doing so you'll actually remember
the tips a lot better that way.
I also want to invite you to subscribe to my channel.
We have a lot of cool things there on all sorts of different topics, from how to write
an essay, to pronunciation, to speaking.
Okay? So, very good resources there.
And also at our website,, we have a lot of great videos on other things,
so I highly recommend you check it out.
Until next time, thank you and take care.
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733 Folder Collection
jwlee published on May 14, 2017
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