Posted on 09 March 2014.
If we take a survey and ask what students hate the most, studying would probably top the list. We simply hate it and all our energy just alarmingly drops just thinking about it. But we just have to suck it all up and study especially when the big finals is coming. I have here a few tips on how to study effectively for you to ace that exam without studying 30 hours a day. I know I’m exaggerating but sometimes it just feels like studying for an hour is like studying for half a day. These tips will make you study smarter instead of harder. Read on and discover what’s best for you.
Like what I said earlier, we see studying as a chore and I tell you that it is wrong, so wrong! Well there’s really nothing wrong with it but researchers say that when we view studying that way, it will affect our studying performance. They say that being in the right mindset will help us focus and it will simply help us do a better job because we do not see it with dread. If there’s a time where you really can’t focus because you have other things in mind, then, do some other productive activities instead.
With the right mindset we can do a lot more in a short time because we focus all our energy to the task. First, we should avoid thinking that we are studying to have good grades during exams. Well, we study for the exams but we also have to keep in mind that studying will help us gain more knowledge and will make us understand the concepts better. We have to keep in mind that having complete understanding of all the concepts is also for our own good especially if we venture on to the working world. Let us remember that we study to actually learn something.
Also, there are times when we think it is too late for us to study and then when we do open our books and view our notes, we spend most of our time thinking that it is too late for us and that we’ll never going to finish all the coverage for the exams. There are also times when we compare ourselves to other person’s studying habits. We say Person 1 studies every night or that Person two never ever study but still get good grades in school. Well, we can see what’s wrong in the picture, right? Instead of worrying, focus your energy in studying and what you think works best for you. Set your own pace and be positive.
The question of where is important when studying. Know what works best for you. Some people like complete silence when studying, some likes to have a music playing and some likes to study in a noisy environment. I have a friend who can’t stand to study in libraries and prefer to be surrounded with people talking while she diligently studies.
But for most of us, a conducive environment for concentrating means a silent place with no distractions like the TV, the computer or a friend who makes studying very pale in comparison. If you are one of these people, you should go to the library, the study hall or the quite coffee house. Find the ideal place for you to study.
It is better if we schedule our study time just as our class time is scheduled. Your mind (and heart) will get used to it eventually. We can write it in our planner and it will not just remind us of our schedule but it will also help us put things into perspective. We will be able to see that at least 30 minutes of our day was put to good use. It is even better if we pick and stick to the time of day when our brain is most alert. It could be early in the morning, the time after class or before going to school. Again, determine which suits you best.
Determine What You Need
We should also consider what we need when we want to study. We should narrow it down and surround ourselves with the things that we REALLY need. It is important because sometimes those things provide a distraction especially when we really don’t want to study in the first place. Things like our cellphone, laptops and tabs provide great distraction. So if you really can do without these things, better keep them away from you. One of the reasons why it’s good to know what we need is that we might waste our precious time running around and fetching things that we need for our study session. Things like an extra sheet of paper, pens, calculators and our notes are the things that can be considered important when we are studying.
Devise a Game Plan
Or in this case, a study plan. Some people outline and rewrite their notes because they remember the information better. What is good in writing our own notes and not just copy from our classmates or rely on books, is that we put in into writing using our own words—we put the information and explain the concepts into words and terms that we best understand. Writing notes also helps because you can sometimes picture the paper and the position of the information and it will help you remember the terms or the concepts. I’ve been benefiting from this for a long time now. Whenever there are just so many concepts to remember that it feels like my brain is going through an information overload, I write it in a piece of paper and I remember where it’s located and yes, I can actually picture out the words and their position. Think of it as categorizing the info, not just in your brain but also using your sense of sight. If this works for you, you could also try mouthing the words and you’ll surely remember it. There are times when I act like I am talking to someone and I am teaching that someone the things that I am studying. I know, it sounds crazy and it’s embarrassing especially if your roommate suddenly opens the door, but it is helpful for me. Maybe it will work for you too.
Another popular trick to remember the terms especially if you are going to enumerate things is to use the method of mnemonic devices. You use simple association of common words to the terms you’re studying and it will help you remember the information. Some people string together words to form a sentence that is easy to remember. Some also form a word by using the first letters of the words you are trying to memorize. Some people, especially in memorizing difficult terms, use a common word that sounds like the term or that associates with the term.
It is common for some people to study alone, but if you can do it with friends, then do so. The danger in this is that you and your friends could end up discussing things which are very irrelevant to your lessons. However, if all of you stick to the plan and the main goal—which is studying, it could also bring lots of benefits for your group. For one, being with friends will make studying fun. You can device lots of games for you to remember the concepts and the terms better. You could use flash cards or challenge yourselves to a game of who can answer the question first. Being with a study group also helps because if there are concepts which you do not understand, you could ask someone to explain the concept to you and vice versa.
Breaks and Rewards
This is the fun part when studying. But aside from being the fun part, taking a break also helps to refresh your mind so you can concentrate better and retain information more. Determine your limit and take a break—stretching, eating a light snack or walking a little distance. It is also important to give yourself a reward after you finish a section of your lessons. I have a friend who studies five days a week, not all the time of course, more like two to three hours of the day and during Saturdays, she’ll go out and treat herself. She said that a rest is more meaningful if it is a well-deserved rest.
Healthy, Mind and Body
It is important to take care of yourself, not just when you are studying but everyday. Take vitamins and eat a healthy diet to make sure that your body is in a perfect condition. There are times, especially when you are cramming to study all your lessons that you forego eating. It is a very bad habit and one that you should break. But if you follow the tips above, you won’t find yourself in a no-choice fasting because all is set and ready a day before the exam.