Well first let me tell you something about myself. I study a lot and I have many students as I teach too. So I have a lot of experience with studying.
My students ask me a lot about how to focus and how to pass the exams. Here is a conversation that happened a few weeks ago.
Student: Hello, do you have 5 mins?
Me: Hello! sure, how may I help you?
Student: I need to take the CCNA exam next month but it seems I can never feel ready to take the exam. I keep forgetting what I studied and there is so much information.
Me: Yes the CCNA is supposed to be challenging or it will lose its value. Tell me how do you study?
Student: The norm, read the book, and watch some videos.
Me: Yes but when do you study? For how long? where do you study? Do you practice?
Student: I study when I have free time when I feel like studying. On weekends I study for 3–4 continuous hours. But it seems I keep forgetting what I learned.
Me: Where do you study?
Student: At home, most of the time in the living room.
Me: You said you need to take the exam next month?
Me: Well, unfortunately, you will fail.
Me: Because what you are doing is far away from what you suppose to do. Here are what you should do:
- Distraction-Free Place
So stop studying in front of your TV even if it’s off. That also goes for gaming consoles. Also, you need to find your self away from pets and kids to study (They are very sweet and can easily distract you). Don’t study near your bed or you will always feel sleepy.!!
- Select the times of day your brain is at its peak performance.
This normally is early in the morning. (So you need to sleep early so you can get enough sleep to wake up early - It will take some time to get used to waking up early if you are not used to it, but it absolutely worth it.)
- STOP drinking too much coffee
Coffee and other drinks full of caffeine. It harms more than its benefit. Instead, keep some fruits around you.
- Short breaks
It’s called a short break for a good reason, they are short. Short breaks should be 5–20 mins. You need to get a break every 30–50 minutes. After 30–50 mins of studying your brain capacity to understand and memorize what you study dramatically decrease. So it would be a waste of time and energy to keep studying after that. Unless you get a break.
- Study group/partner
This one isn’t for everyone, but I suggest you try it because it can be very encouraging and fun. (Choose your study partner wisely, you can’t choose someone just because he is your friend or she is beautiful) CCNA Study Group
- DON’T Listen to songs/music
This one isn’t for everyone. But studies show that most people able to understand and memorize decreases when they listen to songs/music while studying.
- Take notes / Highlight
This will help you a lot when re-studying or searching for a particular information or final revision before the exam.
- Teach someone
Find someone and teach him/her what you have just studied.
Student: I have to study in the same room where I sleep or watch TV? I have no other place
1- Try not to be facing the bed and of course don’t study on bed
2- Add another light source to the room, which you just use when you are studying and turn it off when you are doing anything else. (A study show that this simple trick greatly increased students study efficiency)
Student: I have no one to teach what I learn
Me: Teach your pet or an imaginary friend. Teach your self in front of the mirror. Teach a chair or a vase. Teach anything or anyone.
Student: OK I will try to do what you said, is there is anything else you suggest to help me pass the CCNA exam next month?
Me: I last thing I believe will be very helpful. Exam practicing. Because studying and passing an exam isn’t the same thing. Exam practicing will give you more confidence and will show you what to expect to see in the exam so you can learn how to manage your time and get used to the type of questions. Try AlphaPrep.net exam practicing.
Student: Thank you a lot. I will check out their webpage.
Me: You are welcome. Let me know when you take the exam.
Student: Sure. Goodbye!