How you can make your life easier
Too many times we as students have slaved away at this temple we call “the library” to be rewarded only with sub-optimal marks for our blood, sweat and tears. Some people tell themselves that it’s just the exams or they are not “test takers”, but did you know according to the Cleveland Federal Reserve study, it's not the amount of time spent studying that predicts academic success, but effective study strategies. I know during my college years I tried every which way possible to find out what worked for me. So sit back and enjoy the ride because these tips are going to save you tons of time while studying.
1) How You Approach Studying
For many this is a big issue, through my college years I lacked a lot of motivation in certain topics and had to force myself to study. Yet the highest grades I received were in the topics I enjoyed covering and reviewing. The best thing I could do for myself is make the dreadful studying into an event I would look forward to, for example I would pick up my favorite Latte from the coffee shop down the street as a ritual to begin the studying
2) Location, Location, Location!
Many people find themselves making the mistake of studying somewhere where distractions are readily available. Common mistakes include, but are not limited to locations near televisions, computers, and even friends & family! Try and find yourself a nice quiet coffee shop, library or even room (without electronics to distract you). These locations are filled with like minded individuals like you who are also studying and collaborating for their upcoming assignments and exams.
3) Bring What You Need & Leave What You Don’t
Too many times have I thought to myself that I need my computer or cellphone during a study session and have then ended up spending more time browsing the web or chit chatting than actually studying. Bring your study materials and nothing more. Now if you do need your computer to research topics and/or use it for studying the best advice I can give you is station it somewhere you won't be tempted to use it for things other than studying, for example don’t study with your computer on your bed where you usually watch Netflix.
4) Group Studying?
Now this is a very controversial topic since many people claim that without their friends they would not have achieved a higher grade and although group studying may be effective in some cases there is actually a phenomenon called social loafing where a person might actually exert less effort to achieve a goal when they work in a group than by themselves! Whenever I had to do codependent projects or studying what worked best for me was reviewing the material beforehand so that if anyone didn't understand a topic I would be able to teach them and learn the material even better!
5) Visual Learner?
Did you know that in this day and age 65% of the population are visual learners? Don’t be afraid to make graphs, charts, and tree-maps of information that will help you connect the dots! Studies have also shown that being organized and making a list of the information you have to learn actually makes studying more effective since you have a grasp of what you need to do and what you don’t. Basically sometimes you just have to see the information or even see what actually needs to be done so you are able to pace yourself and cover everything within a reasonable amount of time.
6) The Night Before: Sleep or Stay Up?
Let’s just start this topic by stating that you should never, ever, EVER pull an all-nighter. Students may argue that sleep is not as important as covering all the information, but in reality that information you’re covering doesn’t compensate for the loss of alertness and ability to concentrate due to lack of sleep. Your best bet is to start studying early so that you can keep a proper sleep cycle while also covering all the material and if you really end up staying up late try and sleep any amount possible!
7) Relax on Exam Day!
Now this is a topic I barely see on the internet and is by far one of the most important. Students tend to use all the time they have possible to study, even right before an exam, but this is a mistake! Reviewing mass amounts of information right before an exam only leads to panic which turns into test anxiety which actually destroys your chances of a high grade. A common strategy is to jot down specific notes and even some tricky practice problems to help you refresh your memory right before the exam. This will help you avoid test anxiety and let you go into the exam with a calmer mind.
Now remember there are many more studying strategies, we’ve just covered in my opinion the most important! The best thing you can do for yourself is figure out what works for you! Trial and error will be your best friend, see if music helps your concentration, try and be visual, maybe even check out some extra study tips!