Studying a necessary part of any student’s life. Sitting in class and taking tests are only part of the story. Studying consists of taking information and internalizing it in a way that allows for accurate recall.
While we spend all of our childhood in school, we’re rarely taught how to take notes or study.
Become a more successful student by studying more effectively:
1. Take good notes. Record all the ideas presented by the instructor. You can fill in the blanks with the textbook. Date each entry and keep all the notes for a particular class together.
- If your instructor writes it on the board, you’d better copy it into your notes!
2. Study a little each day. Most students wait until the last possible minute to study for a test, but there’s only so much you can learn in a day. Study in small, frequent sessions. The time to begin studying for the final is the first day of class. It’s never too soon.
- Study for a few minutes right before bed. Everyone needs a good bedtime story. Yours can be a riveting tale about sub-particle physics. Studies have shown that information learned just before falling asleep is better retained.
- Fifteen minutes each night over a 16-week semester is 28 hours! That’s a significant amount of study time.
3. Visit the instructor outside of class every so often. Avoid being a pest, but show that you care about learning the material. Have an intelligent question to ask. Avoid asking anything that can easily be found in your notes or the textbook. You’ll only make yourself look foolish or lazy.
- You’re likely to get the benefit of the doubt if your grade is borderline. All you need to do is stop in the instructor’s office and ask a good question a couple of times each month.
4. Have an attitude that works. When viewed negatively, studying becomes much more challenging. It’s about as exciting as mowing the grass on hot summer day – something unpleasant that has to be done. In reality, studying is a chance to learn new things, secure your future, and show your best.
- Avoid procrastinating, but study when you’re in the mood to do so. If you’re overly distracted or disinterested, wait until your attitude has changed.
5. Pick a location conducive to studying. A quiet location with minimal distractions is best. In spite of what you may think, studying with the TV on isn’t optimal. Find a quiet place where you can focus most easily.
- If possible, study in the place where you’ll be tested. It will be easier to recall the information.
6. Leave everything else at home. Leave your laptop if you don’t need it. The internet, Facebook, and 60 minutes of wasted time are only a few clicks away. Avoid bringing anything to your study session that might be a distraction.
7. Do the required reading before class. When there’s reading assigned to go along with the lecture, read the material before class. You’ll already have a good idea of what’s going on.
- It will also be easier to take notes since you’re familiar with the material.
8. Take frequent breaks. Avoid studying for more than an hour without taking a short break. Get up and move around. Call a friend and chat for a few minutes. You’ll get more done in the long-run.
Studying more effectively will take less time and provide better results. School doesn’t have to be stressful. Developing good habits is the key to success. Learn to study more intelligently rather than applying brute force to the situation. You can be a highly successful student.