(photo credit: chelsearoberson on Flickr
"Firstly, be realistic. Many of us are prone to over-estimating how much we can get done – and studying is a high-energy, intense activity which requires a lot of concentration. You simply can’t focus at that level for hours at a time.
Sometimes, being realistic about your studying plans might mean looking at the other commitments in your life. Do you need to ditch something else in order to have time to study effectively? Can you cut down on social activities to give yourself a couple of weeknights free for studying?"
Find Your Best Time of Day
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you study best right after school? At lunch? Experiment for a couple of weeks to figure out your optimal rhythm for study.
Have a Place to Study
"You’ll want to find a place where:
- You’re not likely to be interrupted
- There are no noises intruding (music etc is fine – but it should be noise which you choose)
- You have enough space to spread out any studying materials that you’re using
- You’re in a studying mood – so the family den may not be the best place
Mix Things Up
You can also try a mix of different learning methods.
"There’s no one “right” way to study. Consider:
- Taking notes from books as you’re reading
- Reading for half an hour, then writing down notes from what you remember
- Listening to audio material while commuting
- Watching videos
- Going to seminars or classes
- Talking to fellow students about what you’re learning
- Writing an article or blog post based on what you’ve been studying (perhaps a beginners’ guide)
- Drawing diagrams or pictures to help you remember or understand a concept"
How often have you made a perfect study plan, only to have it fall apart as soon as something unexpected cropped up? Life happens – and sometimes you’ll have to cancel a planned study session in order to deal with an interruption or an emergency.
Be prepared for this in advance: when you draw up your studying schedule, allow some “spare” time which you can use if you need to catch up. Even if your week goes perfectly, you may find that some areas of study simply take longer than you expected – and this buffer time lets you allow for that.
Track Your Progress Finally, it’s easiest to stick with a plan when you can see that it’s working! There are lots of ways to track your progress: for example, you could tick off study sessions on your calendar, or award yourself a gold star at the end of each week when you’ve successfully completely all the studying which you’d planned.
You can also review the material that you’re learning: perhaps taking a quiz or practice exam at regular intervals. If you can see that you’re making constant improvements, you can remind yourself to stick with your studying despite day-to-day fluctuations in your motivation levels.
If you’re studying – whether formally or informally – do you have a plan? What helps you to stick with it?
For the full article, visit Pick the Brain!