How to learn more quickly

Do you sometimes find yourself putting off work because you’re worried about starting it? Maybe you think it’s going to be too hard or that you won’t have time. Or maybe you’re OK at starting but you can’t keep going for that long? One of the keys to dealing with this is staying calm and creating an environment that makes it easy

Rule one for surviving the IB is to not panic
(Rule #1 for saving the universe…and surviving the IB!)

  • If you’re worried about getting started, take a slow breath. Panic won’t help but you can focus down and deal with what you need to. This is what you need to do: go and make a drink and remember that if you approach this situation one step at a time, you’ll be able to deal with it. So what’s the first step?

Organise your situation. This means clearing your desk or the work area you want to use at this time. It also means organising your notes. Use folders to separate subjects and dividers to serparate topics. Remember, scattered, messy notes will lead to a scattered and messy understanding.

Don't panic, you can achieve great things in the IB
(Don’t worry…you got this!)

  • Now, if you’re doing an essay etc. start your research one step at a time. If you’re revising think up your 4 favorite study methods and plan them in your calendar right now. Then, when you’re ready, start your first revision technique. Remember, you can only study one thing at a time so don’t worry about anything else.


Focus Down

Controlling your focus is the key to mastering your IB studies. It can be tricky to focus down on what you need to. But if you follow these rules you focus your attention to a laser beam.

This baby is extremely focused on his task
(Dat focus!)

  • Think about your weaknesses. If you waste time on Facebook, deactivate your account. If you waste time on Xbox, unplug it. Netflix? Uninstall it. It’s not complicated and you know what you need to do. Avoid all distractions including family and friends.
  • Remember that no matter how smart you are, it’s impossible to focus on more than one thing at a time. In fact it’s been proven that multitasking is a lie. So just focus on one thing and remember that we can deal with anything else later – but right now you only need to do the task in front of you.
  • Simplify everything. It can be hard to come back to your work later if it’s complicated. It’s also hard to understand long complicated sentences. SO as you take notes write things in a simplified way. Draw pictures that represent what you’re trying to understand. This will all help you to remember what you need to.


Winning Techniques

I recently I asked a collection of IB alumni how they managed to score 40+ points. Every one of them had some different ideas – you’ve got to use techniques that work for you. However, every 40+ student I spoke to agreed with the following:

  • TONS of students waste time reading slowly through every word of content. This is a waste of time. You just need to read most material quickly enough to get the main idea. Next time you’re studying try reading through the material as fast as possible. If you keep doing this you will get faster and with time can read much faster than you could before.

Understanding does not equal Knowing

  • Understanding does not equal knowing. Many students think that if they understand something they then know that thing. However if you can’t reproduce knowledge on demand you don’t know that information. So how can you tell if you truly know something.
  • Test yourself all the time! Get your friends to test you, test yourself with quizlet, do past exams…test test test! When you test yourself you find out what you truly know and then you’re able to learn what you don’t know in time.
  • Keep focussed. If you start to lose focus go take a 5 minute break. There’s no point in forcing yourself to read on when you don’t even understand what you’re reading. Remember, breaks let you continue – so use them when you need. Racers have to make pit stops to get their tires changed, you need a break to rest your brain!Tough love can help you become a better student

It’s not easy to get through the IB, let alone get the score that you truly deserve. However, avoiding panic, focussing down and using the best techniques will give you a great chance of learning quickly. If you’ve read this far you care about your success and future and I know that when you put in the work and follow the rules above you will be successful.

Check out our free IB resources here!

Share article links