Let’s be real, studying is not the most fun thing in the world. Props to the people out there that don’t get stressed about assignments and exams… we can’t relate! When it comes to dealing with assignments, class projects and studying for exams, it can feel stressful. If you’re in the same boat, here are 10 tips and tricks to help you study like a pro and take on the semester like a champ.
Start with prioritizing what is most important. Consider dates, the weighting on your overall grade, and how much material you must review. For instance, if you have a few exams coming up, start studying for the exam that comes first! Or perhaps one of your exams is a big unit final and is worth 20% of your mark – it would be beneficial to prioritize studying that before a mini quiz. Once you figure out what to prioritize, you can organize your time accordingly and this will ultimately help you determine where to start and how much time to put towards the task. Staying organized will help you avoid cramming and feeling stressed.
2. Set up
Your environment can make a huge difference in your study habits. Set yourself up for success by choosing a study space that you enjoy being in and stick with it! Whether you like to study at home, at school, or the library, it’s best to try and find a place with good lighting and minimal distractions.
3. Set a timeframe and don’t forget to take breaks
It’s important to set time aside for studying but remember that breaks are necessary too! Our brains can only retain so much information at once. While studying for 50 minutes straight sounds like a big accomplishment, it might be doing you more harm than good. It’s recommended that you work in chunks and find time intervals that are manageable for you. For example, study for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. You can also try a time management method like the tomato timer for better results!
4. Fuel up
Just as breaks are necessary, so is ensuring that you are fueling yourself appropriately. Consider it brain food! What you are eating and drinking while studying can impact your ability to concentrate and focus. We suggest reaching for water or tea to stay hydrated instead of that pop or energy drink. Likewise, a healthy study snack that’s packed with nutrients is probably going to be more effective than a handful of candies filled with sugar.
5. Find study habits that work for you
Cramming is definitely not the best way to retain information so we recommend finding study methods that work for you. Remember, everyone has different learning styles. Just because a study habit works for your friend, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Whether it’s re-writing notes, doing practice problems, watching videos, talking out loud, or making cue cards, find out what your best study method is and stick with it. Not sure what your learning style is? Try an assessment like this one here: http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml
6. Ditch the phone
Scrolling social media and watching that new Netflix show does sound a lot more exciting than studying sometimes but let’s be real – our phones can be really distracting. To get the most out of your study sessions, shut your phone off, put it aside, in a different room or at least put it on do not disturb so that you can direct your attention to studying. Don’t worry, those Tik Tok videos will still be there when you’re done studying. If it helps, you can always use your phone as a reward!
7. Pair up
Having a study buddy can make studying more fun and bearable, as long as it’s productive too! If you have a friend in the same class, consider pairing up and reviewing things together. It can be helpful to conquer the chapter together and quiz each other after. Plus, if you have questions during your study sesh, your friend might be able to help you out! Pairing up may not be for everyone but it can be affective if you use the time well.
8. Study soundtracks
This may be another tip that doesn’t apply for everyone but if you’re not into studying in silence, consider some background noise to help you get through your study session. There’s evidence to support that music can help us study better – but your choice of soundtracks does make a big difference. Find out what tunes help you stay focused, put those headphones on and get to work! There’s a lot of pre-curated study playlists on Spotify and YouTube that you could take advantage of as well.
9. Don’t forget rest and movement
Rest and sleep are vital to test-taking. Not only does rest ensure that you can focus and concentrate properly, but it also helps with memory. Research shows that proper sleep helps us improve our ability to learn and retain information – think of sleep as a way for your brain to replenish its superpowers. Remembering concepts can be a lot trickier when you’re sleep deprived so make sure to rest up!
Studying can take a lot of time and energy, so give yourself some incentives and celebrate your accomplishments! Break down your sessions into realistic goals, such as finishing a chapter review or checking a certain number of itmes off your to-do list. After reaching each goal, treat yourself to a break, a delicious snack, an activity or screen time. And once you ace that exam, reward yourself again!