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6 Ways To Improve Your Studying Habits In The New Year

Frustrated student trying to figure out the challenging

As the new year comes around, you may be coming up with resolutions for yourself. Have you ever thought about maybe adding an improvement regimen to your studying habits? Most people these days study to pass an exam or do an assignment, but knowledge is not something you should flush out of your system when you don’t need it. Studying more efficiently can help you do better on everything and still retain that knowledge.

Only Bring the Essentials

When you pick up your homework and classwork in the new year, be sure to evaluate what you have with you when you start working. Avoid getting distracted by only bringing what is necessary when studying. Yeah, you will have to bring your computer with you, but try to keep computer use to a minimum because your devices will provide the most number of ways to distract yourself from what is necessary. Same goes for your phone, put it on “Do Not Disturb” mode when you’re trying to work. The less you are tempted to be on these devices, the better it will be for you.

The fewer items you have with you when you are studying, the fewer distractions you’ll have to fight.

Outline Your Notes

When you are taking notes, you are rapidly writing things down. Do you let the information boil a little? Letting this information sink in after you write it can be very beneficial. The best way to do that is to outline what you have written after you’ve written it. You can borrow someone else’s notes to better understand the topic from a different perspective, but you need to be able to put it into your own words. That’s the only way to completely understand everything.

Many times, understanding the big picture is just as important as remembering the smaller little details. Outlining allows you to put the smaller details under their larger ideas.

Use Memory Devices

Memory devices. They seem childish, but they are proven to help you remember the more complex items more easily. Many times, people string silly, nonsensical words together to remember related pieces of information, with the first letter of each word representing something else.

EXAMPLE: All Students Take Calculus – diagram to show the positivity of trigonometric functions.

Try to create your own memory device to help you remember certain facts or ideas. Usually, the more crazy it sounds, the easier it is to remember. Only because our minds tend to remember the things that stand out first. The point of the memory device is to make something stand out.

Create and Stick to a Study Schedule

This is all about habits. Habits are formed when you regularly do something. Studying only when you have some spare time can cause you to be unmotivated to learn. Ideally, create a rigorous study schedule. The point of it is to not only get you into the habit of studying, but treat it as a space for you to grow your knowledge. Kind of like attending a class. This will set you up for success as opposed to a panic-induced cramming session the night before an exam.

Your study schedule should be consistent.

It doesn’t need to be a huge chunk of time dedicated to studying. Rather small, consistent study periods will yield higher results than infrequent large study sessions. Go for regularly scheduled 30-minute study sessions instead of one 12 hour all nighter.

Give Yourself Something in Return

Yeah, yeah, we’ve been talking all this time about studying and how to do it better. But there is something that you can do that you don’t usually think of. So, after a good amount of studying is done, not only should you give yourself a break, you should give yourself a reward. Not only does giving yourself a reward motivate you, it will create a positive reinforcement cycle around your studying sessions.

You should also consider a negative reinforcement. If you don’t get something done that you have set yourself up to do, have a negative repercussion in place. It’ll force you to always focus and get things done.

All work and no play usually leads to exhaustion and burnout. Create a system of rewards to keep you on track and motivated.

Nothing Works Without Balance

Balance between school and life can be a very difficult thing to maintain  but it’s crucial for success. Don’t spend all your time studying or all your time relaxing. Try to have a balanced life. Develop hobbies outside of school and make time for these hobbies. Stay in touch with your friends and family and keep them apprised of your school progress.

It’s definitely a challenge but living in balance will keep you on the path to success.

Going to school nowadays (especially during a pandemic), means you have to study on your own. There’s no way to get around it. That’s why you want to study efficiently and effectively. There’s no need to exert so much energy studying for a prolonged period of time once a week, when you can break that up into smaller digestible chunks throughout the week. 

Make the most of your limited time. Keep from spinning your wheels.

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