10 Study Tips!
So it’s been a hectic couple of weeks, but I’m glad to announce that I’ve just hit submit on my last uni assignment and Easter break has officially begun (woo!). Now that I can finally breath a sigh of relief, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few study tips that have helped me through the first half of the semester.
I can’t say that I’m an expert on the topic – in fact, I’m a notorious crammer (something that I’m still working on!) – but I have found these techniques useful time and time again throughout my school and university years. These are just a few tips that help me make the most out of a study session, improve my productivity, or motivate me to keep going when the pressure is on. Though I’m specifically talking exam study here, these tips could really be applied to any kind of project, learning or self-development. So without further ado…
Here are my top 10 productivity and study tips!
1. Find out what kind of learner you are.
Everybody is different, and everybody learns differently. This is because our brains process information in different areas, and often one area will be dominant or more highly developed than another. By studying according to your individual learning style, you can tap into that area of the brain where you excel.
Generally, 5 learning styles are recognised: auditory, visual or kinaesthetic (hands on). You may be dominant in any one of them, or a mix of all; the point is to find which works best for you, and use it to your advantage! There are websites that can help you determine what kind of learner you are, but you probably already have an inkling as to which you are. As for me, I’m visual. I learn much faster when presented with a flowchart or diagram, or when I draw something out by hand (mind map or picture), than if I simply read a textbook or listen to a lecturer.
2. Declutter your workspace.
I find that I become easily distracted and stressed when I’m surrounded by mess. Visual clutter really does clutter the mind, and having too much stimulus around you can derail your focus. So stop for 10 or 20 minutes, and de-clutter your workspace or desk. Only keep things around that are totally relevant to what you are working on now. That bundle of loose old papers? Bin ’em. Those books hogging the whole right half of the desk? Put them away. Now, I am NOT saying go crazy and spring clean your whole house – that’s called procrastinating! – but by tending to your immediate area (i.e. desk) or room you’ll be amazed at how your productivity increases.
3. Find some peace and quiet!
Try to find a peaceful spot where you can get into the zone. That means no blaring TV, chatter or music. Sometimes soft background music can be beneficial – but in general, all these things seek to draw your attention elsewhere, and fill up your brain with unrelated mish-mash. Living in a house with a bird and a dog, this one can be difficult for me. If you can’t find a quite space, you can always go to a library.
4. Avoid technology.
If you can, try to distance yourself from your phone or computer. That means no Facebook or Instagram!
5. OR, use technology to your advantage.
Leo Babauta, the productivity master blogger behind Zen Habits, swears by a great memory-flashcard app called Anki. If you’re organised and not pressed for time, this app can really help, especially when learning scientific vocabulary or languages.
6. Make a list.
If you’re feeling flustered or overwhelmed, make a list. Pull out a calendar, and make note of all your deadlines. Then, prioritise your study across each day so that you make sure you can meet each deadline. Break it down by listing the chapters you need to read or what you generally want to get done each day.
7. Find out what time you work best.
Some people work best in the mornings, some at night. Find out what works for you, and then bar off that time each day for your study.
8. Revise before you sleep.
The subconscious is an amazingly powerful thing. It works around the clock to file away information, thoughts and experiences – and is most active while we sleep. Hence, the window before we sleep is crucial as it directs subconscious activity for the night. By revising some material (even just 5 minutes worth), you can add things to your memory with little to no effort!
9. Always remember the big goals.
Let’s face it. Study is draining, and often we can start to question why we even bother. When my motivation starts to wane, I like to remind myself of the big picture.
Take a deep breath, step back, and remember why you are doing this. How is this going to move you towards your big goals? How is this going to bring you closer to the person you want to become?
This is actually a tip that I’ve heard spoken about by Arnold Schwarzenegger. I trust this guy knows a thing or two about motivation and dedication, having achieved many outstanding things in his life as a body builder, actor and politician. Schwarzenegger mentioned that at 14, he would put pictures of other body builders on his wall to motivate and remind himself daily of the ‘big goal’. Our aspirations might be different but the takeaway is the same: remember the big picture. Whether you want to create an inspiration board, or use pinterest, take a moment to reflect on who or where you want to be… then get back to work with your motivation renewed!
Need I say more?
I’d be really interested to hear your study tips and tricks. Comment below!