Study Session 101
Tips for studying effectively
(and having a little fun too!)
By Mandi Pimental
With high school and college comes added responsibility, strict schedules to keep and seemingly endless hours of studying. With early mornings and late nights, it seems impossible to keep the energy up and the mind open enough to absorb every single bit of information that you need to know. So, I am here to help. Implementing these easy, (and dare I say, fun?), tips into your routine will help you remain calmer and more focused throughout the school year.
Tools of the Trade
Using helpful study aids can help you feel more organized and in control. Make sure you always have plenty of paper and pencils on hand so you will not miss jotting down vital information. If your school allows smartphones in class, you can take photos of the board so you do not miss valuable information when watching slides or observing your teacher scribble out quick paced information. Flash cards are a favorite for the visual learner, as they help greatly with memorization. If you are a traditionalist, the physical flash card method may suit you. However, for the techy who likes to have information readily available, you can download a free Flashcard App that will allow you to study on the go. You can also use your calendar app to record important test dates and study sessions. Having a dictionary and thesaurus app on your smartphone or tablet is also handy to have, as it is an easy go-to when you are stumped on vocabulary.
You’ve Got a Friend In Me
The tried and true buddy system can work wonders, not only outside of class when studying, but in class as well. If you collaborate with a friend or classmate who compliments your study style, ask them to grab you a copy of the notes if you miss a class. You can also ask them for tips on how they balance their workload. Talking it out with someone else may give you a fresh perspective on the topic or insight on a strategy you have not tried. When studying outside of class, having someone there to keep you accountable for time spent actually hitting the books, and not posting to Instagram, will help you keep a schedule. This brings me to…
Mixing It Up:
This is a technique I implement that works wonders for keeping me productive even when I do not have an accountability partner. Endless hours of working on the same paper, or studying the same topic, can cause burnout that leads to procrastination and frustration. Instead, employ the 30/30 rule I use for school, work, and keeping up my dorm. The idea is to switch your focus every thirty minutes to keep your mind awake and alert and give you something to look forward too. (See, I said I would throw in some fun!) Set a stopwatch or an alarm and study or work for thirty minutes, uninterrupted. Once your alarm goes off, switch tasks for another thirty and so forth. On days where I have a heavy workload, I will study for thirty minutes, and then clean my living space for thirty minutes. It allows me to get up, move around, and although I am not doing schoolwork continuously, I still feel productive in what I am accomplishing. The alternative is to work for thirty minutes, then relax or play for thirty if you do not have as much to get done in your day. Play a game, do yoga, get outside, or any other activity that will switch your focus. Then, once your time is up, get back to work and continue this cycle until your work is complete.
As a writer, inspiration is my fuel. When I lack inspiration, being outside and getting out of my head usually tops off the tank. Taking a walk, visiting a friend or doing yoga helps me disconnect while allowing my mind to wander towards new stories and new characters that would not have come to life if I had forced it. If you find yourself with a mental block, get out in the fresh air and clear your head. You will usually find when you come back to what you were working on, that you are refreshed and in a clearer mindset to continue your task. You can also look for inspiration on your specific topic. Have a research paper on Rome? Get off Wikipedia, put down the textbook and try a different angle. Find and watch a documentary on your topic, such as Roman history. Speak to people who have been to Rome and immerse yourself in the task. It will enhance your appreciation for the topic and your work will reflect your newfound insight.
We all have the drive to be successful. With that being said, that drive can turn to frustration when you are stuck. By implementing these techniques, you can enhance your productivity while keeping your mind sharp and your nerves calm.
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