The most critical part of studying during StuVac is effective time management and direction! I like to focus my study towards topics that I may be struggling with, as there is never enough time to relearn and cram a whole unit's worth of information in the span of a few days. This means that for me, preparation for StuVac actually starts during the term. A good tactic I use is to briefly note any areas that I need to improve in. This is so that I don’t feel overwhelmed at the amount of content to study, and I can be more efficient at filling gaps in my knowledge. Even something as simple as looking back at quizzes, tutorial sheets, class tests and annotated lecture slides give me a better idea of what I need to focus on, as it can be surprisingly easy to forget things in a term. Once I know what I need to improve on, using the prescribed textbook can be very helpful in giving fresh perspectives on older topics. Worked examples of questions also help increase my understanding. By knowing what I need to focus on, it allows me to make optimal and efficient use of my time.
With all that being said, having a clear mind and pacing appropriately is equally important. Spending the entire day just trying to cram and study content leads to me quickly burning out, which in the long run becomes more detrimental than beneficial. Studying shouldn’t really be about sitting in front of your desk all day and grinding, but also being able to do things that you enjoy in your free time, whether it be reading, chatting with friends, or exercising. Personally I find that having about a 10–15-minute break every hour to do what I enjoy keeps me more determined, as it is my reward to myself for pulling through. I've found that listening to music makes me feel more relaxed and vastly improves my focus during the time that I study. Following healthy habits such as these keeps me in that optimal state of mind for studying, and I find that it really helps me study at my best during StuVac.
- Michael Chan (Academics Subcommittee)