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Exam Special: Self-study tips while social distancing

Recently a lot of people are staying at home more often due to social distancing rules. Some of us need to progress on your study. This especially if you are a student studying for an upcoming public exam, or a working professionals studying for professional exams. A lot of us have the habit to study outside, either in library or cafes as we find ourselves being more productive when we are in these environment.

And now that we tend to stay home more often, how do we keep up with the study momentum? Here are a few tips that I provide that will help you make real progress.

1. Understand what makes you study effectively

There is actually no one single way that can make you study effectively, everyone is unique and has developed different study habits and preferences, therefore it is important to discover your own.

For example, if you find yourself being most productive when studying in a cafe, think in more specific terms about what in the cafe environment that helps with your study. Is it the barista that chats with you that make you feel relax ? Is it the song they are playing in the background that you like ? Is it the study buddy you have that encourages you to study better ?

Think about all these questions will help you understand your study habits and preferences better.

2. Try to recreate this experience at home

Now that you understand your study preferences, try to recreate this experience at home.

For example, if you are used to studying at a very quiet place like a library, and it is hard to find quiet moments at home, try to wake up at 5-6 am or stay up till everyone is asleep, so that you can have your morning or late night by yourself.

If you are like me who studies better in cafe, what I do is I will play cafe music such as jazz and brew a cup of coffee while I study at home. If you get your encouragement mostly from your study buddy, you can set a specific time with him or her so that you two are studying together though in different places.

3. Feel at peace with your progress

During this time in the pandemic , we experience a lot of uncertainties in the world and the society. It is understandable that our mood got affected and may affect our study progress. We can have some empathy with ourselves, we are already doing very well to keep our lives as normal as possible, and we do not have to demand ourselves to have enormous progress or try to make up for the time lost. We can learn to appreciate that we have a goal to achieve it we have to have a plan to follow. This so that we will not feel defeated when we do not progress as expected.

So the above are a few tips I learnt from my own experience as a tutor and student about self-study. I believe the most important element is to understand yourself, so that you can make adjustments accordingly.

Cyrus is a Math and Science tutor for public exams including the IGCSE, IB , GCE A Level, and US college/graduate school entrance exams including the SSAT, SAT, GRE and GMAT. Cyrus obtained a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University, and a Master of Science from University of California-Berkeley. Cyrus can be reached by email at :

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