The Key to Acing Your Exams is Thinking Less


Yes, you’ve read it right! You’re probably wondering how does that actually work — thinking less can lead to acing your exams?

Well, trust us because it’s not as crazy as you imagine! We’re going to take you through a strategy that will help you feel more comfortable and think less in your exams so once you walk through that door and sit down, you put your pen to paper and can just go for it. 

Let’s dive in!

Why should you be thinking less?
How does thinking less relate to acing your exams?
The Rule of Three Approach

Why should you be thinking less?

Now, it’s really like anything in life — remember when you learnt something for the first time? At the start, it’s pretty tricky and really consumes all your energy, however, the more you practise it, the easier it becomes and the more comfortable you get. 

One example (if you’ve already got your driver’s licence) is learning to drive a manual car — there are so many things to think about like first gear, second gear clutch, handbrake, and whatnot. Thinking about all these different aspects can be stressful and overwhelming!

However, as you get more exposure, you begin to think less about all these different things and they become second nature!

At one point, you have to think less in order to do what you need to do and get better at it! 

How does thinking less relate to acing your exams?

Now, guess what? It’s the same when it comes to an exam!

Most of you can probably recall one time when you were in an exam, scratching your head, tapping your fingers on your desk or perhaps just staring at the time tick by, stressing out as you try to pull answers from thin air — don’t worry, we’ve all been there. 

When you get into these kinds of situations, you’re probably not actually as prepared as you need to be. 

So, that’s where this strategy comes in — it’s all about repetition!

It’s called the Rule of Three Approach and we’re going to take you through it step by step.

The Rule of Three Approach

Step 1: Find a unique question to answer

You’re going to write a response under timed conditions with an open book. 

Use your notes as guidance and inspiration — it’s like the first time you’re driving with someone there to support you!

Step 2: Choose a similar but different question  

Once again, you’re going to answer the question under timed conditions but this time, it’s partially open book. 

Try to do your best, complete it — if you get stuck, have a quick sneak peek, have a look, and keep going!

Step 3: It’s time for a completely new question 

Don’t worry, you’ll be ready for it! You have to write a response in timed conditions and most importantly, you have to complete the task with an entirely closed book (no sneak peeks).

And that’s the Rule of Three! Repetition, repetition and more repetition! 

By doing this, you’re going to build the reps, so that you get into an exam, you’ll put pen to paper and you won’t need to think!

Because of all that repetition, you’re going to have made that knowledge so powerfully embedded and encoded in your mind that it’s going to come really easily.

This is known as unconscious competence which is the top rung of effective learning and that’s where you need to go. 

So, what are you waiting for — it’s time to give this strategy a go so you can start thinking less and see yourself acing those exams! Preparation and repetition is the key! 

Wondering how you can stay calm during an exam? Check out our article here!

Looking for some extra help with study?

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Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films. 

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