Studying can be challenging any day and knowing how to study or having usable study tips can make it even more complicated. Making mistakes while studying can cost you time, nerves and a bad mark. What can you do and what are some studying techniques that you can use to change the quality of your studying, improve your memory and get the results you are looking for?
1. Never Study Sleepy
Yes, you have the test tomorrow and you just “didn’t have time” to study earlier, so you chose to study late at night rather than to give up on the new Star Wars movie with friends. We have bad news. If you study when you are tired and sleepy, the possibility you will memorize anything at all is very low. Studying is a complicated process, and it requires energy; our brain has to be “fresh” to receive and memorize the new information given. Psychologists recommend either early morning for studying because our brain is “just out of bed”. Anything but sleepy studying is good.
2. Baby Steps
Studying is a process. You can’t learn everything at once, so you need to divide your material into smaller parts. There is this new learning technique known as “spaced repetition.” When you divide your study material into smaller chunks and review them consistently over a long period, your chances of memorizing the chunks are increased because you are giving smaller portions to the brain to work on. Consider doing this when you study for exams!
3. Make It Up
Making study material more interesting can help you with learning the matter. Turn all the details you find difficult to memorize into some crazy, wild story and you will see how easy you will recall them later.
4. Change Your Studying Locations
According to research, you should change your studying spot every day because staying in one place for a longer time makes it easier to forget the information we were trying to memorize. If you move around and study (for example you change your spot with every new topic), you force your brain to make new associations with the same material helping us remember things better.
5. Mix Up Your Studying Topics
Practice shows it’s better to switch different topics or material while studying, rather than sticking for an extended period of time to just one. This helps you develop a better strategy for solving different problems. We need to learn how to think and by changing topics we are studying, we are training our brain to think faster and to learn how to solve problems.
6. Give Yourself Quizzes
Reviewing is crucial. You get to see where you stand and what you need to improve. Make small quizzes and prepare yourself for real tests. Quizzes are short and interesting, great for checking out what you’ve learned so far. Also can do these with a study partner if you have one.
7. Writing It Down Helps You Memorize
Writing things down we are trying to learn is more efficient then typing it (like we all do these days). Write the information you are trying to remember a few times and then read it out loud. Do this repetitive writing from time to time. There’s something about the flow of handwriting that makes a difference.
8. Speak Up
Reading out loud the information you’re trying to memorize is a strong studying tool: you are reading written words (you are looking at it), and you are listening to it. More senses included, the better the memorization.
Drinking water keeps you awake and focused. Coffee also keeps us alert and can help concentrate when you’re really on the verge of closing the book.
10. Take a Break
Taking a break after 20 minutes of studying is a must if you want to keep on memorizing and studying with the same efficiency as when you started. Our brain gets tired and short occasional breaks helps it recover and prep for more.
11. Team Up
Group work doesn’t work for everyone, but those who like working in groups should try to gather one. Ask your friends if they want to try this method and see if it works out. It’s easier because you can do revision together and you can make studying more interesting. Put one person in charge for cookie breaks, one for background music, one for revision, etc.
Organizing your time is a thing you have to learn how to do. Make your schedule and set your studying hours in advance. Write down your whole week plan and put studying where you want, as long as you stick to your plan, it will be good.
13. Clear Your Mind Before Starting
Prepping for studying is important. You need to get your mind “in the mood” and your body prepared for the process. Stare at the wall for a few minutes before starting. This is a little meditation that will help you reduce anxiety and find a better focus. Breathe deeply and stretch a little bit.
14. Work Out
Research shows working out helps our brain work faster and better. Being strong helps you become smarter. It’s as easy as that. Our body is a work of art, and our cognitive functions are strongly bonded to our bodily functions.
15. Dance the Worry Away
Worrying too much is never good, and good music is always welcome when trying to relax a bit. Music fights depression, anxiety, stress and tension. Listening to classical music while studying can help your concentration while breaking out some new hits on radio and dancing the worry away will help you take a break from hard studying. Don’t get too groovy, though, you still have things to learn.
16. Eat Smart, Be Smart
Choose healthier food and food that contains Omega-3 fatty acids. Eat a lot of fish, nuts and olive oil. They are brain-boosting foods you want to include in your diet. Healthy and tasty, plus they help your cognitive functions.
17. Stand Up, Stretch and Walk
Take regular breaks. This boosts your productivity and your ability to focus. Walk a bit and stretch to wake up your body and to feel better after all those hours of sitting.
18. Don’t “Over-Study” Yourself
Start earlier and not the night before the test. Don’t study too much and don’t stay up all night long just to do a revision. If you start on time, you don’t need to mess up your sleep cycle just for one revision.
19. Stay Away From Social Networks
It’s time-consuming and focus-disturbing. Yes, we are all tempted to see this one little notification, but this leads to much more and you know it, so don’t grab your phone. Turn it off or put it on silent so you are not disturbed while studying.
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20. Use the Power of Oils
Essential oils are can be bliss if you know how to use their magic. Research show that inhaling essential oils (rosemary or lavender) can calm you down. They reduce anxiety before exams. If you have problems with stress and anxiety, try this, and you will be more focused on the exam.
21. Yoga Helps
Training your body is training your mind. Yoga reduces stress and anxiety and can be a great way to take a break from studying. An hour of relaxation is just what you need after a hard day of books.
22. Choose How to Study Based on What Works
Not everyone likes studying in groups. Some are early birds, some night owls. Some read out loud, and some write. Find what suits you best and what helps you memorize faster and study easier and stick with that. If others try to change that, just say “thanks, but no thanks” and do what works for you!
23. Treat Yourself
Make a plan for studying and stick to it. Do a revision after every achieved goal and treat yourself with things that make you happy. A cookie, pizza or movies. Whatever will make you forget about studying for some time and help you when you feel like stopping too soon.
24. Find A Spot That’s Quiet
Studying in peace is very important. You need to concentrate and be 100% focused on what you are reading, listening or writing. If you can’t find peace at home, go to the library. It is motivating, and you will have all the concentration you need.
25. Be Proud for What You Accomplish
Take small steps but be persistent. Don’t give up after one try. Studying is a process, and you need time to figure out what works for you. Be proud of every exam taken and every new thing you memorize. It’s important you keep your spirits high because motivation is the key for successful learning.