The saying, 'practice makes perfect' could be more accurately put, 'practice under pressure, with focus and that glorious end goal in sight, makes perfect.' This TedEd Talk explains how it is helpful to practice under pressure. For example, if you're sitting a practice exam paper, you could set up your physical environment to reflect the actual exam setting and set a timer. Focus on doing the task and don't overanalyse it. Visualise yourself doing well as this also helps you to succeed under pressure.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but according to Brainscape,* listening to music while you study can impede learning rather than help it. This also applies to classical music. Music can improve your mood, but can be distracting during study - even music without lyrics. They suggest saving music for study breaks. For more info see the video below.
German psychologist Ebbinghaus researched memory and coined the term the forgetting curve. Basically, you forget what you have learnt over time. Ebbinghaus found that you forget 95% of what you learn after three days. Fortunately, he also found that if you review the material multiple times in the following days and months, you can retain 95% of what you learn. The review sessions do not have to take long - the first one may take 15 minutes, but follow up reviews may only take 5 minutes. Here is a suggested schedule for review if you really want to make that info stick.
The Leitner System was designed by German scientist, Sebastian Leitner, and involves studying with flash cards and five boxes. All your flash cards start in Box 1. When you revise a card, if you get it right, the card moves to the next box (Box 2). If you get it wrong, it goes in Box 1. The next day you study the cards in Box 2 (the ones you answered incorrectly the day before). If you get it right, it moves to the next box (Box 3) but if you get it wrong it goes back in Box 1.
You revise the boxes on the following days:
According to Very Well Mind*, the right amount of stress can increase your memory performance. But too much stress inhibits learning because the stress hormones that are released impede the formation of memories. This is not helpful if you are trying to learn a new concept or recall an old concept for a test. Stress can also be exhausting which makes it difficult to learn. The good news is there are things you can do to reduce your stress. The Smiling Mind app has free guided meditations and mindful activities - some as short as three minutes that you can do before and during your study.
If you have been in lockdown, you may be sick and tired of staring at the same four walls. According to psychologist, Robert Bjork, studying in a different room or location could improve your concentration and retention levels. When I was in senior high school I often caught the bus into the city and studied at the State Library. It was quiet and there were very few interruptions. Sometimes I would wander downstairs to the cafe and study while I enjoyed a chamomile tea (ok, I didn't enjoy it, but I endured it). Some other favourite study places were the local library, the garden, and the beach. I'm not sure if that last one has been scientifically proven but I got some vitamin D, some exercise and some study done too.
NOTE: Make sure you comply with any government restrictions before you relocate your study.
Lots of students deal with school anxiety. Here's a video from therapist Kati Morgan. It's from the US but is still applicable in Australia.