Studying: we all have to do it. We all hate it (at least, I do). I’ve learned through hard experience, however, the more I put into a class on the front end in the form of studying, the more calm I am on test day and, of course, the better I do. Being a natural procrastinator, though, studying does not come easily to me. I’ve had to develop certain strategies that, while seemingly basic and simple in some cases, have made a major impact on my ability to sit down and actually get to it. If you’re like me and have difficulty putting in the time, here are the top five strategies that have worked for me and that I’m sure can help you too…
- Turn off the TV (or smartphone or tablet or video game)! This strategy could be listed ten times in a row and it still wouldn’t be emphasized enough. These devices are the top time suckers in your life and are almost always the reason you are not getting the grades you want, the job you want, the apartment you want. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as into Stranger Things as the next person, but there’s a time and a place my friends. Learn how to turn it off and you will jump lightyears ahead on your Goals & Accomplishment lists. And it all begins with studying. Study for thirty minutes tonight instead of watching that show and you’ll be that much more prepared for tomorrow. When tomorrow comes and you’ve done better on that test thanks to the extra studying, your grades will show it. When you leave college with your improved grades your job offers will show it. The list goes on and the doors keep opening, all thanks to a little less screen time, a little more study time.
- Pick your place and set a routine. Whether it be in your bedroom or the cafe down the street, find a designated study spot and stick to it. It will become habit and soon your body will automatically shift to study mode the minute you take a seat. Once you have your spot, set a routine. Just like a bedtime routine trains your body to settle down at night and rest, a study routine trains your mind to get to work. Whether it’s grabbing the same drink and snack before settling into the same study spot each day, or heading out to the library at the same time each night with the same songs to pump you up…keep it routine and before you know it you’ll be slipping into study mode without a second thought.
- Beware of social settings. Feel free to study in the library, at the coffee shop, wherever your heart desires. Just be sure if it’s a place others congregate to seclude yourself so you are actually studying and not spending the time chatting up friends. Being at the library all night but accomplishing nothing is just a waste of time (unless you just scored that hot date you’ve been hoping for, in which case…way to go!).
- Flash cards. Yes, those things you used in kindergarten to learn your letters. Turns out they work wonders with biology, physics, historical dates…pretty much anything and everything you’d ever need to memorize. Bonus if you write out your own, which gives you study time not only when you’re practicing with them but while you’re creating them as well.
- Skip the break. It’s easy to get home from class and want to decompress. Your brain has been working hard all morning, after all, listing to teachers, taking notes. You deserve a little zone-out time, right? Wrong! It’s so much easier to keep your mind in “work mode” than it is to get it back into work mode after you’ve given it a break. So stick with it. As soon as you get home hit the books, pull out the computer, read that chapter. It may take a few minutes, it most likely will take a few hours, but keep at it. Work hard now so you can play hard later.
There you have it, the five things that helped me turn my anti-studying ways into a successful college career. Give them a try, you may be surprised just how effective they can be!