Learning how to study effectively is just like baking a cake. Once you have all the ingredients in place, with a bit of hard work and some time to consolidate (or bake), the results will speak for themselves.
Here’s what to do:
1. Create a personalised study zone
The first step is to determine where you get your best study results. It might be a quiet bedroom, or a dedicated office, or even the library. Pick a space that works for you and then stick to it. Your brain thrives on consistency and routine. Make sure it has few distractions, and (where possible) customise it with inspirational posters, notes or formulas to remember and maybe even a plant or two.
2. Be motivated
Do you have a particular song that gets your blood pumping and neurons firing? Or maybe it’s a motivational video or audio recording, a special scent, or even a piece of prose that has the same effect. Find your trigger and use it to get your mind calm, focused and ready for work. And, don’t forget to give yourself a small reward when the hard work is done.
3. Be organised
Plan your time ruthlessly. Determine when you work best and lock in a daily time. Maybe you work better in the mornings rather than the evenings? Make sure you have everything you need, set alarms to provide clear work times, prioritise the areas that need the most concentration, revise and review each week, and go for it. It’s also good to have a planner on show with important upcoming dates.
4. Reprogram your mind
Negativity sucks the life out of learning, so ensure you’re in a positive frame of mind before starting any session. Try changing your point of view from “I’ve left it too late” to “I have enough time to learn most of what I need to know”.
5. Check out study apps
There are heaps of study apps on the market, so see if any work for you. Be warned, however, sometimes it’s best to take the low-tech route of books, pens and paper. Access to the internet is often the ultimate distraction.
6. Embrace your learning style
Are you mainly an auditory or visual learner (or a combination of both)? Work out a regimen that plays to your strengths.
7. Practice old tests
Not only do these provide a great baseline to let you know where you’re at, but they can also provide an indication of the areas on which to concentrate (especially if you’ve left your run late).
8. Ask for help
Stuck on a particular issue or problem? Consult your professor, teacher or peers, until you can find someone who can relate the information in terms you can understand.
9. Keep fit and healthy
The mind can’t function effectively if the body is impaired. Eating properly, taking breaks, getting enough sleep and regular exercise are all essential to the learning process.
10. Find what works for you
Finding the right strategy means experimenting with new and old techniques. Only you know what works best for you.
Summary of study tips:
- Create a distraction-free work zone
- Find your motivation triggers
- Healthy body, healthy mind
- Do what works for you
- Embrace your learning style