The arrival of spring brings warmer weather, the song of birds, and a reminder that we’re much closer to summer time. If you’re a student though, it means something else too – time to study. With finals just around the corner I present you with 10 tips to help you study...
1. Get a Plan
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Making a plan to study is more than just telling yourself that you’ll do it after you’re done watching TV. A good study plan includes setting goals about what is it you want to accomplish, and preparing all of your materials so that you don’t have to stop to get things you’re missing. You should also plan to study in an area devoid of distractions.
2. Make a Schedule
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I’m the type of person that schedules everything. It’s helpful in getting things done properly and in a timely manner. This is no different with studying.
3. Don’t Read out Loud
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I learned every line of “Oops… I Did It Again” by singing it, albeit badly, out loud each time it came on the radio. So it only makes sense that it would help to read your study materials out loud right? If you do this during studying though it just means that you aren’t retaining the information. Reading out loud slows you down and prevents you from keeping that information. If you find that your mouth is moving while you read put your finger over your mouth and you’ll be surprised how much more everything makes sense.
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Study notes should be straight to the point. Copying entire passages will only confuse you and make it harder to find important points later. Perhaps the most important thing to remember about notes is to make them legible. There is nothing worse than referring to note and not being able to read anything I wrote.
5. Highlight, Don’t Underline
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Studies show that highlighting helps you remember better than using a pen to underline. If you are a visual learner (like me) this can be used to your advantage even more so. Use your highlighters to color code the information in your study materials.
6. Pace Yourself
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Three hour cram sessions might sound like a good idea in theory, but it’s the fastest way to tire yourself out. Taking breaks every now and then to stretch, get water and give your brain a break is a great idea. My sister likes to set a timer. I like to take a break when I realize that I’ve read the same page 3 times. Either way I keep breaks short, no longer than 15 minutes so that I don’t get sucked into something a little more fun than studying.
7. Don’t Get Too Comfortable
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When studying, find a nice sturdy chair, a solid surface with ample space. Being in a comfortable will help you focus. But being too comfortable can blow the whole thing. I know that the sofa looks like a prime place to study, but beware! You don’t want to be let yourself get so relaxed that you allow your brain to wander.
8. Use the SQ3R Method
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Survey, Question, Read, Recite & Review is a good formula for learning study material. Find a detailed explanation anf how to at Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org
9. Get a Study Partner
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I would love to tell you that this is the perfect opportunity to talk to that cute guy from Chemistry, but unless he’s a science whiz you’d better not. When working with a study partner you want to look for someone that can help keep you focused, knows the material better than you do and most of all, won’t distract you especially with dashing good looks.
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Each time I try to curl up in bed with a good book I always fall asleep. This is because my mind associates my comfy bed, cushiony pillows and a warm blanket with sleep. The same can be true for studying. I try to study in the same place and usually the same time. When I follow this method my brain usually kicks into study gear and it’s infinitely easier to focus.
There are many more tricks to make your studying more effective and enjoyable, but those above are my favorite as they've worked like a charm. Do you have other tips on how to study for exams? Please share!
Top Photo Credit: Quixotic Pixels