How to Study Effectively

8 tips to improve your study habits

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Despite how many times you may have procrastinated until the last minute, it is never too late to start developing good study habits.  Taking the extra effort to study properly will save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.  Between studying for tests, research, or just personal interests, studying effectively is an important skill to master.  Thankfully, there are several ways you can improve your study habits and get the most out of them.  Here are 8 useful tips you can implement to make sure that your study sessions are yielding the most benefits.

1)  Find an ideal environment

Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can focus on your work and avoid any unnecessary distractions.  Whether it’s your nearest library or just a quiet room where you can study uninterrupted, choosing a suitable environment can help you get more out of your study sessions.  Figure out a time of day where you feel energized and fully operational.  Studying too close to or after your usual bedtime, for example, can prevent you from studying properly.  Preferably, you can set a specific time frame to study every day and stick with it.  Consistency is key as it will allow you to create a study routine where everything is prepared and running smoothly.

2)  Know your learning style

Many people have a preferred or habitual learning style, though these methods of processing information can be expanded or changed depending on the task at hand (Hatami, 2012).  For example, some people may retain auditory information better while others prefer visual information.  Organize your study material based on your learning style so that it will be easier to retain the information you are trying to learn.

3)  Organize beforehand

Make sure you have access to any supplies that you will need before you start studying.  Gathering your notes, pens, paper, notecards, and whatever else you may need beforehand will allow you to fully focus on your work.  If you are constantly getting up to retrieve supplies, it may break your focus and cause you to lose motivation.  In addition to preventing distraction,  preparing your workspace will help you feel organized and provide structure to your study routine.  Try purchasing a study planner to outline when and what you will study.

4)  Take short breaks

If you plan on studying for more than an hour, it can be useful to take periodic breaks.  After each hour, take a 15 minute break to stretch or do something else.  This will give you a moment to relax and allow your brain to recover from cramming so much information.  Returning to your work after a brief recess will prevent exhaustion and  keep you from overloading too much information at once.

5)  Get a snack

Try to avoid drinks with too much sugar or caffeine since they can cause you to burn out quickly.  Although you may feel an initial surge of energy, these types of drinks will make you crash and feel less energetic and motivated than when you started.  In small amounts, they are fine, but don’t expect an excessive amount to keep you energized for long periods of studying.  Ideally, you should drink a lot of water and stick to simple snacks such as fruits or granola bars.

6)  Stay motivated

Having a study routine can help tremendously with staying motivated.  Studying at roughly the same time everyday in your chosen study environment will create a habitual process that comes as second nature.  Once you have done it long enough, your study sessions will run much more smoothly.  Instead of scattered studying or procrastinating, implement a study routine and find a way to hold yourself accountable.

7)  Get enough sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep after studying can prevent memory deterioration and help you recall the things that you learned the previous night (Payne, 2012).  Because of this, it is actually more useful to study a little and sleep on it as opposed to staying up all night to cram for a test or other deadline.

Check out our other article on how to ensure a good night’s sleep.

8)  Get help if necessary

If you are having difficulty wrapping your head around a concept, reach out to a friend or mentor who may be able to help you.  Parents, friends, and tutors are great resources when you need something explained further.  If you cannot find anyone to help, ask the question in an online forum such as reddit or yahoo answers.  Although these answers are not always the most reliable, you may get lucky and find somebody who can explain the concept in an understandable manner.

Do you tend to procrastinate or have you developed good study habits?  Let us know what study tips have worked for you.

Sources:

https://academic.oup.com/eltj/article/67/4/488/485178/Learning-styles

http://news.nd.edu/news/learning-best-when-you-rest-sleeping-after-processing-new-info-most-effective-new-study-shows/

 

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