School is in session once again and it is time to get back to studying. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I sit down to study and feel like I am accomplishing absolutely nothing. I will read the same sentence over and over again and still retain nothing! Now, I am a very studious person, but I still have my struggles and it can be very frustrating. In today’s post I have compiled the best study tips that help me, and hopefully they will help to make your study sessions more effective too!
Your Study Location
I have lots of study tips, but this one is the first for good reason. It has to do with not how you are studying but where you are studying. I think we all have the tendency to plop down on our beds or the couch when we are working on something. It’s reasonable to want to feel comfortable–but personally I find that it is much easier to get distracted by social media or even fall asleep when I study in locations such as my bed.
Instead, I suggest setting up your study area at a table or desk with a chair that helps you sit up straight. That may sound a little odd, but it helps to keep you alert and aware tremendously. It will also help you get out of that relaxing mindset and into a studying mindset. I also find that it helps improve my notes and quality of work.
Personally, I live in a small house right now and I do not have the space for a desk (which will be changing soon and I am very excited) so I often study sitting on the floor or even outside on out patio. Weird, I know. But, I like to separate my working space from my relaxing space.
Another tip on location is make sure you are studying in a well lit area. Not only is studying in the dark bad for your vision, but it will also make you drowsier and make it more difficult to pick up on smaller details.
Do a Quick Glance Over the Material
Before you dive into reading your material word for word, skim over all the topics/subheadings etc. There is a reason they are there, and that is because they are the main points that are going to be covered. The additional text is further information that expands on those key points stated in the subheadings and titles.
If you read over the subheadings first it will prepare you more for the information you are about to cover, help you to pick out key points, and help you to set up how you are going to take your notes.
Study the Photos
Take special note of photos and visual aids that are used in the material you are studying. Very often it is much easier to remember information associated with a visual, so don’t just skim over and ignore the photos. Give them focus and pick out what you can learn from them.
One of the Most Important Study Tips- Choose Carefully What You Underline and Highlight
When reading information, it is important to choose carefully what you are going to highlight. The purpose of highlighting isn’t to make the book pretty with colors by highlighting every single sentence–although that can be tempting to do. The purpose is to make the important information stand out.
Focus on the key words and related main points. You can even have different colored highlighters for different categories of information that you want to make stand out. But, don’t over highlight or it will loose its purpose.
Preferably, study in a room where you are alone if it is possible. Put your phone on do not disturb and leave it in another room, or keep it face down and out of arms reach. Some people may wonder whether listening to music is a distraction or not, and I think it really depends.
For me, I study the best when I DO have music playing through my earbuds. It helps me to block out any distracting surroundings. However, for some music can be really distracting so I think figuring out what works best for you is important.
This is something I need to work on myself. Like I mentioned earlier, I am a very studious person and I can be a little obsessive and focused…to focused. It has been said to study in 20-30 minute increments. If you do want to study longer than that, make sure you take a short break (10-15 minutes) every hour.
It isn’t very beneficial to cram our brains with as much information as we can as fast as we can. For one, we aren’t made to learn like that. And two, there is a difference between memorizing something and learning something. Cram sessions may help you memorize information quickly, but you will not have truly learned it and remember it long term.
One of My Favorite Study Tips – Take Notes Wisely
Similar to highlighting, it isn’t very beneficial to copy down a lesson (written or verbal) word for word. Notes are to pick out key points that you want to remember and have easy access to. Everyone’s note taking process is different, and I will be doing a more in depth post on mine later, but there are a few important things to keep in mind when taking notes.
- Write down important points only, not the entirety of the information.
- Base your notes on an outline. What I mean by this is don’t have long, never ending paragraphs of information. Break it up into sections to distinguish points from one another and make them easy to find.
- Have a separate section for vocab.
- If you’re in a physical class where you are listening to the teacher speak live, take notes in the class on one notebook and then when you have time to really organize them (and make them look pretty if you’re someone like me 😉 ) re-write them in a separate notebook.
Study Tip 8- Make It Enjoyable
The truth is, studying is not easy for everyone. Some people have a really hard time sitting down and working at something that isn’t at the top of the list of things they want to do. (See my post here to learn some productivity tips!) You are going to get more out of your study sessions the more you enjoy them. So, don’t be afraid to do things that make studying more enjoyable for you. Listen to music if it helps, and have some of your favorite snacks. If you would rather study at a cafe, or in a park, than at home–do it!
I hope that some of these tips help you to enjoy and get more out of your study sessions. Thank you so much for reading ❀