Studying is integral to college or university life. Like many aspects of academia, however, studying can be complicated and stressful. It can be even more stressful if you don’t have disciplined study habits. These habits may include practicing effective time management, studying in a quiet place, avoiding cramming sessions, etc. But there are even more specific techniques that can help improve your study habits, such as:
- Turning off the technology
- Organizing your notes
- Finding a comfortable, quiet space to study
- Creating or joining a study group
- Taking breaks
Turn Off the Technology
Technology, like smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, computers, and televisions are constant distractions that can derail any study session. These things should, therefore, be turned off or put on silent while you’re studying. It may be more effective to just put smartphones or watches out of sight during this time. For example, turning your phone on silent, turning off the alerts, and placing it in a drawer may help reduce the urge to constantly look at or check it – out of sight, out of mind. You should also avoid social media, which can be even more distracting and time-consuming.
Organize Your Notes
For many, their lecture notes can be illegible and disorganized. Although this can be partially remedied by recording or typing vital information from lectures, notes should be organized and reviewed before studying. To make your notes easier to understand, consider creating a key for any abbreviations or shortcuts used in the notes. A key can improve the legibility of your notes and make them easier to understand. Before studying, organize your notes chronologically or by lesson (depending on what you’re studying). Once the notes are organized, create a simple, comprehensive outline to follow. Finally, use notecards and games to help you review and recall essential concepts.
Find a Nice, Quiet Space to Study
To ensure optimal recollection and concentration, your study space should be as quiet, clean, and distraction-free as possible. Some of the best spaces include the library, student study lounges, and your own room or apartment. Just make sure the environment is quiet and comfortable with few distractions and little foot traffic. It might be helpful to think of the hunt to find the perfect study space like the hunt to find student housing. In both cases, the space should fit your comfort levels, style, and needs.
Create or Join a Study Group
Study groups are one of the most effective ways to study. They serve as support groups, can help you learn new study techniques, and can reinforce healthy study habits. Students who are studying the same material may be able to offer tips or provide clarification and information you couldn’t find or didn’t know you needed. Creating or joining study groups also provides an opportunity to connect with different personalities, as well as other people who may be struggling or succeeding in the same coursework. For the best results, create or join a group as early in the term as possible. Plus, make sure your group meets at least once a week or more, especially during heavy testing periods, such as in the middle or at the end of a term.
When engaging in strenuous exercise, mental or physical, breaks are always necessary and recommended. Breaks will help you maintain mental clarity and ensure you’re able to properly memorize and recall the information you study. It can also make the studying process less stressful. You’ll be able to study long hours without feeling overwhelmed and overly tired. Not to mention, rest and proper care will help you perform at the highest level. So, take several breaks while studying, making sure to eat, engage in relaxing activities, sleep (if necessary), socialize with others, and generally, take care of yourself.
Best of luck!