9 Tips To Help You Study Better

Going to college is a great experience for young adults as they transition from their lives as high school teenagers to responsible students and employees. As college students we learn how to balance our time for work, study, and socializing, while pursuing an education that will help us achieve our career goals and aspirations. Often times, however, the idea of spending hours pouring through textbooks, written notes, and PowerPoint presentations is much more mundane than going out with friends or hanging out in the dorm gathering space.

Fortunately there are some habits and small tricks you can work to get into in order to make studying a more enjoyable experience. Whether you are studying law, medicine, business, computer technology, art, history, or any other number of subjects, using these 9 tips can help you make studying a much more enjoyable and productive experience.

1. Study positively

Before you begin to study you need to make sure you are in a positive mindset. It is no good sitting down and forcing yourself to pour over notes and material when you have absolutely no interest in doing so. Always try to maintain a positive attitude, and view studying as an enjoyable activity. This will make retaining the material much easier and drastically improve your learning experience.

2. Make a schedule

It is important to set specific time slots aside in your schedule for you to designate for study. Balancing time between class, work (most college students have a part-time job), and having a social life can help you maintain a productive lifestyle and better your organization skills. Taking time to socialize or have some personal time after studying also helps you retain the information you have just absorbed, and helps you maintain a more positive outlook towards studying. 

3. Appropriate setting

Although your dorm room may provide a sense of relaxation and comfort, studying in your dorm room is not always the best idea. Dorms offer a lot of distractions like television, video games, and group activities that can keep you from retaining information, or even going over your notes at all.

Find a quiet setting like the library or coffee shop around the campus to conduct your studies in. You can even find an empty classroom or lecture hall that’s not being used to do your studying there. Different settings work for different people, so just be sure to find one that works best for you.

4. Bring only what you need

Once you have found an appropriate setting to conduct your studies in, make sure you only bring what you need with you to study. If you have a smartphone, consider turning it off so you are not distracted by text messages. You should also try to avoid using your laptop, as this offers to opportunity to go online and browse through Facebook and other social media/news sites. Sticking to real materials like books, papers, and flash cards will help you stay focused and productive.

5. Write out your notes

Reading the same paragraphs over and over again is not necessarily the best way to to learn new material, and in fact can inhibit your ability to truly grasp the ideas and concepts of what you are learning. Writing out notes and outlining reading material is a great way to study because it allows your brain to more easily retain important information that is not overshadowed by the author’s elaborations.

The practice of physically writing out notes utilizes both your visual and tactile senses, allowing your brain to process the information in multiple ways. Reading your notes out loud is another great way to help your brain retain information.

6. Use practice materials

Going through practice quizzes and exams is a great way to help you learn new material. It forces you to practice tying together the key concepts behind what you are learning and apply them to real-life situations. Plus, going over questions relative to the material also helps you get an idea of how questions will be asked on the real exam at the end of the semester.

7. Study with others

Having others around that are studying the same materials or that are in the same class as you is another good way to study. Quizzing each other or discussing the concepts behind the information can help you better understand and retain the material.

You should, however, try to stick to groups of only four or five people; anymore has the potential to start up smaller conversations and keep the larger group from productive learning.

8. Take breaks and reward your accomplishments

Studying for hours on end is not a productive way to learn new material. The attention span of the average person is only about 90 minutes, after which your mind starts to daydream or you become more easily distracted by events happening outside the window.

Give yourself breaks every hour or so to let your brain digest what you have just read. Setting up goals for your study sessions and rewarding yourself when you complete them is another great way to study because it provides you with the incentive to keep going.

9. Maintain a healthy balance

While you are studying it is important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating junk food that is loaded with sugar will only make you drowsy and unable to focus on what you are learning. Try to snack on things like dried fruits or mixed nuts, and maintain good posture while you read. Maintaining good posture allows blood and oxygen to flow more easily to your brain, helping you stay focused and better retain the information you are absorbing.

Balancing work and fun is also very important. Make sure you set aside time in your schedule to socialize with your friends. Studying and then going to participate in social activities allows your mind to process the information you have just obtained, and helps you maintain a positive lifestyle. Making time for exercising also helps keep your mind clear and better able to process new information.