From an early age, one of the expectations placed on us is getting good grades in school. Good grades is one of the basis of getting into a good college, which presumably leads to a great job afterwards. Getting good grades is one of the ways adults often set as a way to help us get ready for the real world outside school.
Knowing all of that, we labor in cafés guzzling coffee to keep our minds awake and our sanity almost kept together. We pester friends to study with us and develop the amazing ability to produce multiple papers overnight.
With all of that though, you have to ask: are you really studying in the best and most effective way possible?
Here are some tips to help you figure out a healthy and sustainable way of having a good study habit:
1. Sleep when you’re sleepy
Yes, it sounds simple and obvious but believe it, when you find yourself cramming due papers late at night while catching up on lessons for tomorrow’s exams, sleeping is the last thing you think you should be doing. We’re here to tell you otherwise. Get sleep!
You feel like you’re running out of time and should spend every remaining minute studying and working but this can be counter-productive. When you’re sleepy and tired, you tend to process new information slower and you end up going through the same concepts again and again. Don’t feel guilty; you deserve rest. Set a time for when you’re supposed to be up and productive again, and you’ll find yourself feeling more rested and refreshed with a clearer mind and perspective. Confusing lessons from last night suddenly becomes a little bit easier to grasp. Let’s not forget to take care of ourselves.
2. 2-minute Rule
When studying, it’s best you free yourself from distractions. So, tick off those small tasks and responsibilities you have for the day. The 2-minute rule says that when you can do a task in 2-minutes, you should do it now. No ‘but’s’ and ‘wait’s’ and you’ll find yourself with a clearer schedule to do work and study straight without the small to-do’s. Stay focused and productive!
3. Organize and Prioritize
There will always be days when we’re just loaded - with work, school, and other life responsibilities. It can be overwhelming and you just don’t know where to start. Our best tip for that, plan it first!
You can write it down or take a mental note; lay out everything you have to do, and organize according to your set priorities. Ask the important questions, “Which one is urgent?” “Which takes longer to finish?” “What other activities do I have for the day that I have to work around my schedule?” and from there, align your tasks. With this, you’ll be doing more by doing less, focusing on one task to the next. You’ll see you’ll be crossing out that checklist in no time.
4. Do your notes before class
Start reading in advance and no, you don’t have to understand it at all. One technique you can do is studying and writing notes ahead for your next lectures. Doing this will keep you on track, with new topic introductions being less of a shock and new information easier to absorb. Plus, since you have your notes already written down, you can focus more on actively listening and catching unique information to add to your knowledge base.
This technique will give you a more comprehensive learning experience as it allows you to take in concepts from both readings and lectures.
5. Know your learning style
Learn your learning style! There are a lot of tips and techniques out there that you can adapt to study more effectively, but we should understand that as individuals, what works for others, might not necessarily work for us. We all learn differently and that makes knowing your own learning style very important.
Are you a visual learner? An auditory learner? A kinesthetic learner? There are various ways we can process and take in the same information. Some make a song to memorize terms easier; you can make infographics. Some even record lectures and listen to them again. Whatever that is, being observant and self-aware of what works best for you will help you become more productive moving forward. Don’t stress yourself too much and have fun with how you learn!
6. Don’t do all of your reading
Yes, you read that right! Let us explain!
Do what you can in the limited amount of time, and you'll maximize your outcomes.
Example: Rather than staring blankly at your Biology textbook, from which you are expected to read 40 pages by tomorrow, skim the text and take down the main points in half the time. During tomorrow's lecture, fill-in the missing notes during the class.
Remember, active listening will get you the notes that you need, that stimuli that will keep you awake and make you come up with questions that your teacher or professor can answer!
Long term project? Short term action! Start long-term projects the day you are assigned and break them into useful pieces, so that you can always feel productive. You are your own motivator! It always feels great to tell yourself “Done!” at the end of a lengthy task! Set goals on a daily basis so that you chip away on that long term project.
7. Befriend a Professor
It might sound odd but when you think of it, is it really that odd? Professors are banks of knowledge waiting to withdraw from! They will have the wisdom to realign your work and study habits and of course, they were students too, they might have some tips and tricks waiting to be shared!
8. Study in Fifty-Minute Chunks
Time management is an asset! You have 10-15 hours a day, for studying and being productive. Managing your study time in 40 to 50 minute chunks will help in keeping you sane! Like Kit-Kat always says: “Grab a Break”! You will have time to fully incorporate and take in all that you studied in that amount of time. Noting it down along the way is always a plus!
So there you have it! Some tips on how to review more effectively and take on tasks like it’s just another Monday!