7 Study Tips You Need to Learn Right Now
Worry not — there’s hope for you yet. If you’ve got a bad case of intellectual malaise, drop everything and consider these seven study tips. They can make studying fun, your study time shorter, and hopefully even help you make the grade!
- No Social Media: If you’re feeling the stress of test time beating down upon you, free your mind by taking a social media break. Log out of Twitter, deactivate your Facebook, quit taking Instagram pictures, and stop defining your Path. Trust me — you’re not missing anything.
- Make a Playlist: If it’s too loud, turn it down. But don’t turn it off! Studies show that music motivates the mind to pay attention, and can augment your study process. The best music for your brain during study time is baroque classical (think: Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel), but anything non-distracting could do. Word to the wise: if you’re studying concepts, music is great. But try muting your music when memorizing ordered lists; silence is best for those brain processes.
- Craft an Outline: Think of it this way: an outline is a visual way to prove to yourself that you have an ordered mind. If you can visualize an outline of progressive facts or concepts, you can impose a mental structure to your study efforts. A successfully completed outline is a conceptual key to a practical lock — it will be easy to master concepts when you’ve organized them into bite-sized bullet points that make sense to you.
- Make Studying Social: If you can’t stand the thought of sitting alone in a room with just your books and your gumption, try studying with a partner. And if you’ve always had a problem with making the grade, making it social is the best way to go. Studying alone (but together) works just as well as discussion groups and quizzing your friends. Know how your brain works best, and who it works best around.
- Sleep On It: When you’re in the throes of mid-terms or finals, it’s difficult to care about your sleep schedule. But studies show that sleep is necessary for the creation of memories, and helps the brain automatically process information. After a night of hard studying, put the books definitively down. Relax with a bath or a short walk, then get a good night’s sleep. In the morning, review your notes and test yourself. You’ll be surprised what you retain!
- Don’t Study (In Bed): If I could give you a fortune cookie, it would read like this: Don’t study. (In bed.) Studying in bed is a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re in a high-stress situation (or if you’re just a night owl). You’re guaranteed to fall asleep before you’ve mastered any material, as your body and brain is trained to think of the bed as a place of respite. Opt for a couch or a coffee shop.
- Rewrite (or Recite!) Your Notes: Rewriting your notes, paraphrasing the textbook, or teaching someone key concepts can reinforce your mastery of a subject. Avoid rote techniques and straight memorization. Opt instead for flashcards, mnemonics, or making up a game! Although it sounds cheesy, your goal is test success — not to be the Cool Kid that flunked your exams.
(Photo via Flickr)
About.Com: How to Study for A Test or Final
Oxford Learning: Best Study Tips to Help You Ace Exams
LifeHack: 10 Tips to Study Smart and Save Time
PsychCentral: 10 Highly Effective Study Habits