If you enter a random THE FIZZ these days, you may notice the quietness, paired with thick air and the smell of burned braincells. Everywhere, but especially in the study rooms, heavy brainwork is going on. No wonder… it’s EXAM TIME.

It is the last hurdle before the summer break. For some of us, a rather big one.

We’ve composed some quick, last-minute tips to boost your study time. Some of them might seem like old hat, but they’re part of every productivity advisor not for nothing! Let’s dive right in.

1. PLAN your study time.

Okay, this really is an old one. But the trick is to really MEAN it. Don’t just go to the library and do your time there. Stipulate a specific time slot for your studies. It doesn’t have to be a full day. If you’ve got the time, it is even better to stretch the study phase, do the learning only for a couple of hours and have the rest of the day at your free disposal. Begin your study time by telling yourself “This is my time for studying now!”, as if entering a mindset in which nothing can disturb you.

"In the zone", surrounded by creative CHAOS.

One more tip: If you have difficulties to actually *start* your study session, outwit yourself by saying “I’ll just do 30 minutes.” 30 minutes sounds much less intimidating than 3 hours. It sounds doable. And it is! After 30 minutes, the next 30 minutes won’t be so difficult anymore. At some point, you’ll stop checking the watch as often: Congratulations, you’re in a flow now!

2. Find the perfect learning spot.

This may seem clear, but it is really interesting how much it can differ from student to student. Some people can study best at their own desks at home. Others need the productive, yet low-stimulus surroundings of a study room or the public library. Personally, I found myself the perfect spot… in the middle of a bustling coffeehouse. The background music, chatter, and jingling of dishes all blended into a “white noise” that really help me to focus on my own subjects. Don’t be afraid to admit that the dead-quiet library is not the right surrounding for you. As long as you have enough space for all your materials and you’ll be able to stay there for a while, all’s good.

Every THE FIZZ has a nice study room to go to: Here's an example from Berlin!

However, there should be nothing too distracting around. Which leads me to tip no. 3:

3. Turn off any distraction.

I’m talking about any electronic devices, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets (if not needed – otherwise turn off the wifi), TV, even music in case it doesn’t help you focus. Although I prefer to have some kind of soundscape around me, I cannot listen to music while studying.

And no need to tell you that social media, chats and other apps are toxic for your study mindset, right!?

4. Take notes by hand.

This may sound antiquated and it may not work for every field of study. But surveys show that taking notes by hand boosts your memories by stimulating the development of new nerve connections in your brain. If you’re not used to write a lot, your hand might get tired quickly at the beginning. But try to go on with your notes and train that muscle. Along the way, you’ll learn how to compose information on paper so that you’ll understand the correlations of different topics.

Exam phase has many phases: Here's one example of the Design degree program in Hanover.

5. Do one thing at a time.

Another no-brainer, you say? Wait until you’ve finished this paragraph. This advice is extremely useful in so many different situations.

One characteristic of our generation is the constant exposure to many different (communication and reception) channels. This leads to the urge of multitasking – and thus, not being able to focus on one thing alone. Doing solely ONE thing makes us feel as if it just isn’t charging our brain and attention at full capacity. We’ve simply unlearned to focus on one task. Unfortunately, this is exactly how our brain absorbs information best.

Even if the list of your topics to learn might be long, you’ll get the most of your study time if you focus on one topic at a time. Chapter after chapter, subject after subject. If your mind gallops ahead, slow down. Allow yourself spending the time needed to wrap your head around a topic.

Sometimes, you might realise that you’ve started learning too late. The amount of learning matter is simply too much for the time left. Don’t freak out. Try to use the rest of the time as productively as possible – without beating the nights away.

Here they are, our top 5 tips for a successful study session.

We wish everybody good luck for your exams and happy, well-deserved holidays!