Studying for Smarties
Studying, like any activity that feels like work, does take actual work to get used to. If a student hasn’t already gotten comfortable and good at studying (in a timely manner without getting distracted), then that should be the first thing to do before preparing for any big test. The most successful students have their studying habits locked down. We aren’t trying to talk about motivation as we have talked about that elsewhere, so let’s focus on the most important tenements of studying!
This is what everything boils down to. The main way to do well in studying is to keep organized. All the other points we will discuss come back to this one! What does staying organized look like? Keeping a calendar with due dates, dividing subjects into different folder or binders, ordering assignments and study materials by date and chapter, and so on. Whatever a student can do to keep things orderly and easy to manage is what is necessary, but those are just a few tips. If one is aware of where everything is located and when it is relevant, that makes studying (or any activity for that matter) all the easier.
A large part of organizing and planning is setting realistic and important goals for oneself. As a part of the calendar, there should be exam dates, times during which to study, and other goals that can help spur a student onwards. Once those have been met, there is a lot of free time leftover to do whatever a student wants! Otherwise, procrastination will happen, which is entirely detrimental and will eat into sleep, free time, and grades. Always complete work and preparation as soon as possible!
In class or at home, students should always keep a notebook handy to jot down important information they’re being taught or actively reading. These notes shouldn’t just be a copy of what is being said, but put into the students’ own words. It’s widely known that taking notes by hand helps improve retention whilst learning! Doing so while reading or during a lecture will not only help students remember facts and strategies taught, but also how to multitask: listen and take notes at the same time.
Find a Study Area
Trying to work in an area that is comfortable might lead a student to become overly relaxed or distracted. This defeats the entire purpose of sitting down to study in the first place. Students should pick an area of the house that they don’t normally relax in (like an office, the dining room, or even outside) or simply go to a library or other easily accessible public place. Much like someone with a job is probably very productive while at work, a student must have an environment suitable for studying in order to maximize efficiency.
Study in a Group
There is a very thin line when balancing work and play when doing so in a group. However, often times when there are other minds readily available to share ideas nearby, learning can be much more effective. Students must resolve to help each other stay on task, organize thoughts, and challenge each other. Much like a group project (a real one, not the ones where one person does it all), everyone should contribute equally and be actively engaged.
Speaking of staying focused, that is possibly the hardest thing to do when trying to commit to studying. Motivation is key here, so do check out our blog post on that as I linked above. All the things mentioned here should help a student stay focused: organization, group studying, a serious environment, taking notes. Actively and critically learning is something one must dedicate oneself to do when doing any kind of work. Getting tired? Do some exercise. Bored? Take a short break. Hungry? Keep snacks and water on hand.
One final note: always get the right amount of sleep every night! If you don’t have the energy, you can’t accomplish much of anything. By following these tips and more, you will find yourself in the habit of studying in a healthy and efficient way. That will lead to better planning, work ethic, and results in life!