Studying in college is the most important skill to master as early as possible. Good studying habits are key to doing well on exams as well as maintaining good grades. With that said, studying is by no means an easy skill. Between the numerous distractions you are likely surrounded by and the many other commitments in your life, it can be quite difficult to study effectively. Here are 5 tips to make studying both fun and effective!
1. Break up big tasks into smaller tasks
To form effective studying habits, you must intentionally set aside time to sit down and begin studying. When there is a big exam looming, the daunting idea of studying can seem overwhelming. The stress of studying so much material can cause you to procrastinate longer. This will ultimately lead to more stress, as time that could have been used to study is now wasted. Instead of looking at it as one big task, break up your studying process into micro-tasks. The more time you have to work with, the smaller you can make these individual tasks. For example, if you have 2 weeks to study for an exam, try setting a goal to study for only 20 minutes a day to get started. By setting a small goal, you are more likely to actually start the process of studying. Once you begin studying, you might get into the zone and study longer than 20 minutes. It’s all about sitting down and getting started. And by setting smaller goals, the task of studying seems far less daunting.
2. Reward yourself
Rewarding yourself is a great way to increase your endurance when studying. By training yourself to associate studying with a rewarding feeling, you will be able to study for longer periods of time. Take the previous tip, making bigger tasks smaller, and apply it to a reward system. Create incentives for yourself to study for set periods of time. Rewards can include candy, hanging out with friends, or watching a YouTube video. You can also restrain yourself from attending an activity or social gathering until you have studied for a sufficient amount of time. Rewarding yourself can also make studying fun. By introducing the reward of your choice, you might quickly find out that studying can be enjoyable when you create your own incentives. Ultimately, your biggest reward will be acing the big exam.
3. Flash cards
Using flash cards is an amazing way to use memorization to increase your studying effectiveness. You can either use physical flashcards or virtual flashcards, like Quizlet—whichever works best for you. Memorization works best for tests/exams that require, obviously, memorized knowledge. Quizlet offers a multitude of tools that allow you to quickly memorize material. There is a traditional flashcards mode, which is what you would expect when studying with physical flashcards. There is also a long-term learning mode, which tracks your unlearned concepts and will quiz you until you have the material committed to memory. The gravity and scatter modes turn your terms into an interactive game that can help you memorize them. Overall, there are plenty of ways to use flashcards to make studying more effective.
4. Study groups
Study groups are a super fun way to make studying more effective. Study groups can consist of classmates and/or friends, and can allow you to be productive with your studying without being bored out of your mind. Having a study group will allow collaboration where you can share notes, get clarification on concepts you are confused about, and quiz each other. Quizlets are a great way to make studying with friends easy and fun. You can use your sets to quiz each other and, I guarantee, it will be far more fun than studying alone. Studying with friends also tends to be effective at stopping procrastination. Studying alone often isn’t all that fun, so we tend to use social media as a way to take an entertaining “break.” But those “breaks,” as we all know, can turn into hours. Spending time with friends will ensure that you are not completely bored out of your mind and, as a result, you will be less apt to disappear in your phone for 2 hours. Whether you are studying with a study group or a group of friends, being around other people who are studying the same thing will increase your productivity and make the process more fun. So, don’t be afraid to branch out in your classes and ask others about forming a study group. If you are not keen on talking face to face initially, try contacting everyone via social media to set up a time to get to together and study. Likely, everyone else is in the same place and looking for some people to study with. Ultimately, forming a study group is a great way to make studying more fun, as it allows for socialization and more effective collaboration.
5. Changing locations
For me, I am never able to study in my bedroom. My apartment is a space for relaxation and sleep, and trying to be productive in that space is impossible, as I always end up on YouTube or sleeping. If you are someone who just finds it hard to study in general, try changing up your study location. You may have the same problem that I have, where your space of relaxation cannot double as a space of productivity. If your school has a library or student union area, studying in those spaces wouldn’t be the worst decision. Common spaces like this are free to get into, and you can bring drinks or food. Oftentimes, there is also a lot of empty space in these areas, so you will always have the ability to spread out and get working. Another excellent choice (and my favorite), is a coffee shop. Coffee shops usually have great vibes for studying and the murmur of conversation tends to be very good for concentration. Besides, you will be majorly judged for kicking back and watching YouTube or taking a nap in a coffee shop surrounded by people. Environments like these will make you want to be productive, and don’t even get me started on the good coffee. The only downside to this option is the cost. But, for the productivity and good grades, it may be worth it.