Here are ten tips to start considering TODAY to improve your study habits & help you ace that next big exam!
1. Location, location, location.
You know where you focus best. If you can handle a buzzing coffee shop with some earbuds then I applaud you, but otherwise stick to a quiet space that you typically designate for studying. For example, it’s not smart to study in bed, because that’s the same place you are most likely to fall asleep.
2. Utilize every possible resource.
If your instructor gives you study guide outlines, questions, open labs, or office hours… TAKE ADVANTAGE.
3. Manage your time.
The odds are against you when studying only happens the night before a test. If you break up the work—taking even just 30 minutes out of a day—it will help you soak up all the info better.
4. Both group study and individual study = important.
Large groups aren’t always efficient if you become reserved or distracted, but if you have a close-knit group where you can bounce different studying strengths back and fourth, then it’s a perfect alliance. Solo study time matters because you want to make sure you’re also absorbing the knowledge on your own (because team tests are almost nonexistent).
5. Give yourself a little motivation.
Maybe coffee or sweets are your reward—set yourself a goal like “finish this chapter and notes” and then go treat yourself! This provides for a great study break and will refresh your mind when you get back into the grind.
6. Establish what works (and what doesn’t work).
Using a previous example you may know you didn’t pass on a test because of X, Y, and Z. WELL GOOD! At least you are able to recognize the steps you took that were ineffective, and now you know to try some other routines. A few successes for me and some friends are audio recording lectures and re-listening later, quizzing each other using flash cards (or Quizlet), and going over material BEFORE it’s taught in class so it’s a “review” to you.
7. Set aside distractions.
We all can relate to this one… that’s right, I’m talking about that device in your hand! Our phones consume a major portion of our day, and it’s not a hard question to answer about what we’d rather be doing—looking at social media or our textbooks. All I can say about this is set it aside, turn it off, whatever you have to do to keep the temptations away.
8. Get up and move.
I’ve heard it enough to know that exercise can promote more focused studying, but even a simple “shake out” will restart your brain when you’ve been sitting for hours and loosing concentration.
9. Write it, hear it, see it.
What I mean by this is try different methods to help the information get lodged in your head. Some people are auditory learners, some are not. If it helps you to write it out, then do it!
10. Let the importance settle in.
You wouldn’t be so dedicated to studying if it didn’t mean something to you. Why are you doing this to yourself? The reasons are most likely that you want to be educated on the matter, that you want to succeed in the class, and perform well on the exams. If you keep this in mind, then you are encouraging yourself to PUSH ON!
Congratulations, you have passed the course Mastering Study Habits 101. I give you an A+ for excellent effort, and for bettering your knowledge on important study skills. I hope you refer to these tips when you are struggling in a class, or just unsure of ways to tackle the exams. Successful studying ahead!