Studying is great for many reasons like to learn a course, to get a degree, and to pass an admission exam into your favorite school or university to mention these few. But studying, especially when not done right, can be, for example, stressful, boring and difficult. And this is in addition to having no understanding of what is being read after spending all the time studying.
One, to avoid all of the pitfalls of bad study habits, needs to learn how to study correctly. So, we asked the reading experts for some study tips, and here is what they recommend based on the science of learning and absolute best-practices for studying.
1. Get Rid Of All Distractions
One must get rid of all these forms of distractions, and pay attention to learn and study effectively, and focus on what is more important at the moment.
A couple of ways to do this is to 1) switch off one’s phone or put it on silent, 2) look for places, like your school or public library, which can give you enough study privacy. And 3) in the worst case scenario, turn off your internet access especially for those addicted to checking their social media accounts every second. You can get printed study and learning materials as a substitute for online materials.
2. Make A Time Table And Stick To It
The amount of content that one needs to cover during the course of studying/learning may seem overwhelming. One way to overcome this problem is by breaking down the material into manageable portions with the use of a study plan or study time table and making sure to stick to the schedule.
A good example of a schedule would be to study section 1 on Monday at 9 am, and section 2 on Monday at 8 pm. Creating and sticking to this schedule will help you cover the content before you know it.
3. Be Devoted To A Study Session
An intensive and consistent study/learning session of an hour is more effective than the 5 hours a week. The one hour study period will give you the same amount of knowledge in a shorter time.
Schedule, in a day, an hour for an intensive study/learning session and act upon it. This method also helps release tension and creates time for other extra-curricular activities.
4. Review of Previous Studies
A course is broken into different sections or chapters that should, in the end, paint a bigger picture of the course for the student. Therefore, proper planning is the backbone of effective learning.
Plan to review previous days works, i.e., notes in class or flash cards, each day to look for connections. Learn the day’s assignment and then recall the older ones to refresh. This way, you begin to find the links between lectures/courses that would help make sense of the course as a whole. And by the way, leave 2-3 days between study/learning sessions on the same section.
5. Start Early
Every minute of one’s time is essential especially when an exam or test approaches. Start as early as possible and use your time wisely. Allot some time to each study unit and stick to it. This way, you will stay on track and be ready in time for the exam.
6. Make Study Cues And Notes
It may seem tedious at first, but writing study/learning cues will help one remember what one has studied as if one was reading from a book. Rewriting your study material will help pin the main points to the sub-conscious part of your mind, making the studied materials even more easy to remember.
7. Read Out loud
Now, this may not work for everyone but it will work for most. Reading your study notes out loud will go hand in hand with point 6 as it will help feed your sub-conscious mind helping you learn better. That is, it will also make it easier to recall the course materials when needed.
8. Use Visuals
Images and videos speak louder than words. So, go through your textbooks to see the pictures related to the study topics before finding the details in the text materials that match exactly the image sections. Sometimes, finding the connections between image contents and the text contents solve most study questions, helping you to also learn more effectively.
And if this does not work, look up similar explanation/learning course videos on platforms like YouTube. But be sure that what you learn from the explanation course video correlates with your study material as some explanation course videos could be wrong.
9. Don’t Skip Over “The Easy Stuff.”
Sometimes, there is the temptation to skip over the easy stuff to focus on the hardest parts of the lesson. But don’t do that! This is because, in most cases, the easy parts of learning/ study usually are the fundamentals of what you need to learn. And in addition, the easy stuff is what we forget when we sit in an examination room.
Instead, study/learn the easy parts of the lesson/course and build upon it as the lesson/course gets more complicated.
10. Use Past Examinations Papers
One may find a hint to how a teacher thinks and/or how they frame their questions by looking at past course papers or questions written/set by the same teacher.
While you should be prepared for anything, practicing on past papers from a year or two back can never hurt, especially when one tries to answer the question in the same time allotted to complete the problem in an examination setting.
11. Know The Exam Format
It is essential to be aware of the areas of concentration for the course exam. For instance, you would want to find out the chapter topics that the course exam will cover.
Another thing you would need to know is the structure of the course exam— how many multiple choices will it comprise? How many questions will there be? How much time will be allowed to complete the course exam?
All of these, as simple as they sound, will help one to learn or study effectively especially when practicing for the big day.
12. Join A Study Group
Joining a study group can be very instrumental in one’s study/learning efforts. A study group can help you think of things that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. A study group can also assist you in finding the solution to problems faster than if you were working alone.
Asking each other questions, picking each other’s brains, explaining your answer to someone and vice-versa can be a “lifesaver” when preparing for an exam.
13. Know When To Stop
While it is essential to get as much information as possible, it is also important to note your study time, and know when to stop and take a break, eat some brain food, drink some water, and then keep going.
Stop studying three hours before you enter the course exam room even though it can be an excellent refresher to look over the study material a few hours before the course exam just to keep the main points fresh in the mind.
No, just relax and be confident in what you have learned, and how well you have prepared. Now go in, sit down and do your best.