It can be really difficult for a lot of people to find their groove and what works for them when it comes to studying. Every student is unique and so is their own personal study styles. This process is never a one and done deal. It does take a lot of trial and error in order to find your ideal studying methods. These are just a few tips and tricks that can work for anyone who hopes to get a better sense of their own study habits.
The first thing you need to do when it comes to studying is to figure out what you want to accomplish by the end of your session. Create a list of realistic goals that you can complete in an allotted time. Do not try to cram everything into one session and end up overworking yourself in the process.
Start with small tasks that can be completed first such as creating an outline for a paper or going over lecture notes. From there you can move on to bigger and more time-consuming assignments such as projects or essays. Once you get an understanding of everything you need to get completed, devising a plan of attack becomes much easier.
Create A Plan
After you have set which goals you want to complete during this particular study session, devise a study plan to follow in order to complete each task. It can be anywhere from a simple to-do list to a scheduled timeline of assignments that need to get done.
One method you can use in order to create the most effective study plan is the ABC Method. The first thing you must do before you execute this method is to compile a list of all the things you have to complete.
“A” items are things that have to be completed by the end of this session for varying reasons. It could be an assignment that is due the following day or studying for a test later this week. Anything that is marked with an “A” is atop priority. If there are multiple things that need to be completed by the end of the session, try doing the easiest or simplest tasks first to get them out of the way.
“B” items are things that have to at least be done by the beginning of the coming week. These items may not be the top priority for this session but they will be for next week if they do not get done sooner. Seeing your “B” items on the list allows you to see how much time you have to complete your upcoming assignments for the next week or so.
“C” items are things that do not have to be done for months. These items give you a chance to look at your semester and see what big projects or papers you have ahead of you. It also allows you to plan out days to study for your midterms or final exams.
The main point of the ABC Method is to plan out not only that particular study session but, future ones too. If you complete all of your “A” tasks ahead of time and still feel like doing some more schoolwork, see if you can finish any “B” tasks or if you can outline a “C” project or paper. There is nothing wrong with working ahead.
Color Code Everything
Highlighters are your best friends! Colorful pens, too!
Adding color to your notes can make it that much more appealing and easier to study them as it will help keep your focus and draw your attention to important parts of what you need to learn. By making my notes prettier, it helps me to be more motivated and go back to study them because I know that I will not be struggling to read what I have written.
When I write my notes, I have at least three different colored pens and a highlighter. I use one main pen to write everything down. Once it is all done, I highlight titles and subtitles so that I know when a different section is coming up and I can easily differentiate between them. I underline, squiggle, circle, or draw a box around key phrases or words in one color and then in a different one, I write in the margins or off to the side of that section why it is important.
Devise A Notecard System
There are many different ways to use your notecards efficiently.
As I mentioned in the previous section, use different colors to indicate different chapters and between its subsections. If you do not want to use different colors for the varying chapters, try using symbols.
Your notecards can be used to quiz yourself. Definitions or descriptions can be placed on one side and the coordinating answer can be put on the other. If you know that you learn best by studying this way, make little diagrams on your notecards to connect the different points of the lesson to one another and to quiz yourself.
Write brief notes. Do not put too many words on either side of your notebook, as that will make it that much harder for you to memorize and understand the content. Try not to put in unnecessary details either, only include important facts. At the same time, do not put only one or two words in the description because that can cause confusion and the question may become unclear. Clarify what you are needing to studying early on so that you know exactly what to focus on when writing the notecards, eliminating time spent writing the wrong information.
Take Regular Breaks
School is important but, so are breaks. Do not drive yourself crazy trying to learn everything all at once. You won’t be of any use to anyone if you overwork yourself.
Take a five-minute break every 30 minutes or take a 15-minute break every hour. This way your mind gets to rest for a bit. Use this time to stretch or have a quick snack. Refuel your brain and get some more energy. These breaks will make you more productive and allow you to successfully complete your tasks.