With exam time racing toward us I thought I would share some of my personal study tips in no particular order.
Put the Highlighter Away! The problem with highlighting is that it draws our attention to that spot. “WHAT!? that’s exactly what it is supposed to do!!” I hear you cry out. Efficient as it may be, the brain is also very lazy, and when it finds highlighted text it recognizes that you have read it before, it then tells you recognition means knowledge, no need to explore it again right? So you believe you have learned it, except, without the reference there in front of you, the information remains lost. What to do instead? Try attaching a post-it or a flag on the edge of the page so you know where to look later. This makes the information easy to find and forces the brain to engage in a search through the material.
Get a Wall Calendar. You don’t need to have a you beaut colour coded study schedule, but you do need to have a good understanding of when your assignments are due as well as other major happenings so that you can plan appropriately. This also helps set your work/life/study priorities in order. I find the big yearly planners great for this as it is easy to see ahead and everyone in the household can have an idea of what you’re up to as well avoiding confusion and conflict.
Get the Elephant Out of the Room. That big assignment you don’t want to do, it lurks in the back of your psyche filling you with dread and guilt… you can’t enjoy anything, its hangs over you like a cloud of misery.. Just do it! and do it early! Usually it turns out not to be as bad as you thought, and as soon as its gone you can get back to feeling good and energetic social and free from that burden.
Create Small Victories. Feel like you have hit a road block in a particular subject? Are negative thoughts creeping in suggesting you may be stupid or slow or not able.. First of all it’s not true! Take a break…breathe…. Re-focus on an area you feel more confident in, or complete a challenge in another area of life or study. A feel good moment can bring you back into the fold, clear your mind, and allow for new growth.
Procrastination is not a Dirty Word. Sometimes it seems impossible to just sit down and study. when the mind and body are both unwilling what should we do? Use it! As long as you have the time, enjoy a guilt and stress free break. You may need it. From personal experience I can attest to being able to perform much better after a small break, and that pushing through can be not only unproductive but damaging to the learning process. So sit back and enjoy a couple of episodes of your favorite TV series or have a night out with mates, even better is productive procrastination.. do the dishes or tidy the bedroom you’ll be glad you did.
Excercise. Even something as simple as going for a walk. It gets the blood,energy and ideas flowing, clears the mind and gives you something else to focus on for a while. Some of my best ideas and conversations have come during long walks out in the fresh air. additionally a bit of exercise can encourage better sleep which in turn makes us more alert during the day. So win win win find 30 today.
As I was writing this I realised that study advice is a topic you could write books about and a single blog post just wont cover it. However I hope you enjoyed this post and that it has been helpful. If you have any additional study advice to offer please feel free to leave a comment.