How To Study Effectively
Study notes: a few tips on how to study effectively.
Here’s an interesting fact: researchers have found that how you approach a task is almost as important as what you do. And the good news is that effective study habits are easy to pick up. So to help you improve your ability to retain information, we’ve put together our top tips for effective study.
Don’t leave it to the last minute. Okay, some students thrive on cramming, but for most of us, it’s one of the worst ways to study. You’ll get tired, lose concentration and end up stressed. It’s far better to set yourself small, achievable study blocks and timeframes. You win a marathon by pacing yourself – not trying to sprint like crazy when you’re miles behind.
Talking of marathons, there’s nothing like exercise to clear your mind and make you feel a whole lot better when you’re studying. So give yourself a break… and go break a sweat.
Family and friends
Life shouldn’t be work, work, work. Make time for family and friends in your busy study schedule and you’ll feel far more motivated to keep going in the long run.
Lose the distractions
Switch off the TV, hide the games console and put that phone away. Staying focused is hard enough – and the last thing you need is an easy distraction. When it comes to music, it’s personal preference. For some, background music helps; for others, only complete silence will do.
Organise your study space
The trick is to make your study space as appealing as possible. Get the light levels right, create enough space to spread out your study notes and make sure you’re sitting comfortably. You’re far more likely to focus if everything feels right.
A little help from your friends
It can sometimes be a good idea to organise a study group with friends. They may have the answers to your questions and you could be a fountain of knowledge for them, too. If you can stay focused on the task at hand for an agreed amount of time, you’ll be surprised how effective it can be when you band together.
Take regular breaks
Doing the hard slog for hours on end is almost always counterproductive. Studies have shown that the best way to retain knowledge in the long term is to take regular breaks.
Find the right time
You can’t force yourself to be in the right mindset. So if the time isn’t right, simply wait until it is. Some of us are morning people, while others only get going at night. Everyone’s different, so work out a study routine that works for you.
No, it’s nothing to do with zombies. We’re talking about keeping your body and brain well-fuelled with nutritious foods that aid concentration and memory. What you eat can really have an impact on your energy levels, focus and attention span. So stay away from junk food and sugar, and stock up on fish, nuts, fruit and seeds – intolerances aside, of course. Oh, and drink plenty of water. Your brain works at its best when you’re well hydrated.
Online study tools
Use an online study tool – such as Trello, Forgett, and Evernote – to help you organise your studies more effectively. You’ve nothing to lose, as many of them are free. There are also a heap of resources such as Grammarly and Hemingway that check for things like incorrect grammar or overly complex sentences.
Nobody said that study was going to be easy. And when the sun is shining and everyone’s out there having fun, it can be doubly hard. But that’s why you should use every trick in the book to make it as easy as possible!