The guide to award-winning study skills
Over the years we have interviewed hundreds of ABE Top Paper Award winners* who have shared some brilliant study tips and techniques. Here is a summary of all this great advice from the people who have been there and done it!
A winning attitude
- Be committed
- Be passionate
- Be focused
Tip: if you find your motivation waning, focus on your ultimate goal and how your studies will help you achieve it. Pin an inspirational mantra to your wall.
Plan your time wisely
Schedule study time – make a regular time to study every week from the very start of your course, if necessary draw up a timetable and stick to it
Allow thinking time – after studying take time (10 to 15 minutes was suggested) without any distractions so you have a chance absorb what you have learned
Set targets – plan what you want to cover in your studies on a week-by-week basis so you can ensure you’re keeping on track
Tip: during study time make sure there are be no distractions from phone messaging, TV or social media
Work with your body clock – we all have times when our brain is most alert and times when it’s harder to concentrate so plan your study time to coincide with when your energy is at its peak
Study little and often – you can only absorb so much information in one go so, recognise what length of time works for you. Study one topic at a time, then take a break
Develop your own learning style – when it comes to learning, there’s not one method that suits everyone – making flash cards, doing diagrams, creating acronyms or drawing mental maps are all methods that people find helpful.
Tip: try different learning techniques to see what works best for you – for some, mixing methods up can work well as it keeps your studies fresh
Know your subject
Study the syllabus for each unit
Make sure you understand all the learning outcomes (detailed in the qualification specification)
Read the ABE study guides – there’s one for every unit
Do wider research to understand how your studies relate to the real world
Tip: winners’ suggestions include reading business news, listening to podcasts, watching videos (such as TedTalks on YouTube), looking at posts on the ABE website and using any opportunity available to consider business related subjects in a real-world environment
Use your centre’s expertise
Listen and focus during lectures
Ask questions – don’t be embarrassed, asking questions helps everyone learn better and you need to feel you really understand a subject
Form study groups – discuss your learning with your peers and bounce ideas off each other
Complete all the tasks set by your tutor – they are there to help you
Tip: make notes during lectures, read them back after class and summarise them according to your best learning method, discuss how the subject applies to the experiences of your study group.
Plan for assessments
Use the past papers –test yourself and get used to the type of questions you may be asked
Read the examiners’ reports – these are available for both exams and assignments. They will tell you what type of answer the examiner is looking for and show how you can win and lose marks – used in conjunction with the past papers they’re a great way of identifying any gaps in your knowledge
Learn how to answer questions giving real life examples
Believe in yourself
You can do it
*The Top Paper Award is given to the person who has achieved the highest overall grade for a particular unit in a sitting.