Studying can often be challenging, either because you don’t know the most effective way to study, or because you have issues concentrating, sometimes due to distractions. Here are five tips which may help you to improve your study habits.
- Understand, don’t just memorize
There may be a lot of classes in which simply memorizing terms and concepts may help pass an exam without the true understanding of their reasoning. Sometimes memorization alone isn’t enough to get that A grade. This is often the case with science and math courses. Make sure you go over the reasoning of concepts and formulas so you understand what you’re studying. That way, you will have an easier time being able to relate to what you studied if a question on an exam is worded differently.
- Don’t start at the last minute
This may be obvious to a lot of you already but it’s not always the best idea to cram your studying to the last minute. Cramming may work for certain people, but for many others it’s a terrible idea. It’s easy to procrastinate on your studies and let the last few hours before your exam force you to sit down and prepare. However, it’s always a better idea to mark down the date of the exam several days before the exam. Make a schedule of what you will focus on each of those days so you have an organized way of splitting it all up. This can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed from too much material during one study sitting.
- Music or no Music?
This tip may help or hurt studying abilities depending on the person. It’s always best to study in a quiet place, but sometimes we need ways to block out even the slightest bit of noise. For some students, listening to music can help them keep focus on what they need to get done and help them ignore whatever is going on around them. For me personally, I will often listen to classical music before really big exams since there are no lyrics and it’s less distracting. Find out what type of music works for you. You might just find simple audio samples of the ocean or nature sceneries more helpful to listen to in order to concentrate. It never hurts to try listening to audio while studying, but sometimes total silence may work better for some.
- Eliminate technical distractions
One of the biggest distractions for me personally is my smart phone. If you have your smart phone on you, it may be ok to keep it around with you in case you’re contacted for emergency reasons. However, if you find yourself constantly checking your facebook, you may want to keep the phone out of easy reach. Doing this might help you better focus on the material you need to study. Try studying in places that are far away from the television and away from videogame consoles. It might not be easy to resist the temptation, but just tell yourself that “social media and games aren’t going anywhere, and I can use all of that when I’m done studying.”
- Move around, change locations, refresh!
Sometimes sitting in one spot can make us a bit antsy. Be sure to give yourself a break and move around a bit. Take a bathroom break here and there, get a drink of water, and grab a snack to eat. A small bag of candy may be alright every now and then but try to keep it healthy by eating fruit, like a banana or apple. It’s not uncommon to get really hungry from long study periods, but it’s often better to study in chunks instead of studying straight through hours on end. Doing this well help to better absorb the material and keep you from frying your brain! Studying in one spot for a little while and then moving to another one might keep you feeling more refreshed.