Whether you’re a prospective student or well into graduate school, knowing how to study is an important skill that you can improve on at any time. If you’ve been struggling to maintain your grades or feel like you’re burning out instead of making progress, it may be time to assess your study habits and implement changes.
While some of us may get lucky cramming before exams, it’s much more fruitful to manage our time effectively. If you know you have an important test or research project to study for, don’t put your work off until the last minute.
Structure a schedule that you can be consistent with and allow yourself breaks so you don’t get overwhelmed. If you find it difficult to focus for long periods, consider sectioning your study time into thirty-minute chunks with short breaks in-between.
It may be tempting to listen to music or the hum of a television while you’re studying, but such background noise can be distracting, particularly if you’re prone to procrastinating.
The Internet can also be a very distracting time warp that saps your concentration. So when studying, limit technology and try to seek a quiet, cozy atmosphere. If you insist on playing music, opt for instrumentals and orchestrated pieces rather than songs with lyrics.
We’ve all been in situations where a teacher springs a surprise test on us to check our absorption of the material. The benefit of doing this at home is you don’t have to have an anxiety attack.
Once you’ve read an important selection or think you understand the basics of a formula, go ahead and test yourself. Test your reading comprehension of books and passages. If you’re studying a language or unfamiliar terms, see if you can write down the definitions and translations without looking them up. Testing yourself will give you the confidence you need to overcome exam jitters and be successful.
Take Copious Notes
Some instructors forgo lengthy textbook readings and refer most to lectures. When your teacher is speaking, make sure you not only listen but write down as much content as possible. Identify the important facts and transcribe them so that you have a reliable source to study from. Make an effort to jot down dates, names, formulas, and definitions. Keep your notes simple and follow what works for you.
As long as you keep your mind open to learning something new, it’s possible to make studying more effective. Remember that everyone learns a bit differently and at a different pace, so don’t compare your methods to others. Find what works for you and be consistent.
For more helpful tips about being a great student, check out more posts here!