Your parents and teachers were right—college is not a joke when it comes to learning. With all the reading, essays and presentations, you can barely manage to keep up with notes and reviews before exams. It’s more than obvious that you need a good study plan and a few tricks up your sleeve when studying if you want to do it more efficiently. Here are different techniques to try out to boost your studying:
Identify your learning style
There are different types of learners: visual learners (learning best through pictures), auditory learners (prefer using sounds and music), kinesthetic learners (engaging their sense of touch, their hands and body) and logical learners (reasoning, logic and systems). Some people are solo learners and others are social learners. Consider your learning preferences and use them to your advantage when determining study aids.
Create a study schedule
Routines are crucial for college success because they allow us to stay on track at all times. When you come up with a good study schedule, you’ll be able to organize your time better and make your study sessions more effective. Try to study at the same time every day to get your brain “addicted” to this beneficial routine. Or you can create a post-class routine that includes making dinner and revising everything that happened that day in lectures.
Making it to all your classes is one of the best things you can do for yourself. However, just sitting there mindlessly won’t do you much good. Active listening and writing down important information is where it’s at. As you listen to your professor, you’ll often come across important information that won’t be in your book yet can be crucial for your grade. Plus, being an active listener will make a good impression on the professors.
Use various sources of knowledge
Your professors will recommend textbooks and websites to use when studying, but don’t hesitate to rely on many different sources (with credentials of course). For instance, smart students from Singapore love going through useful GCEALevel notes when reviewing their knowledge and preparing for exams. These notes are submitted by verified students and they give you a completely different perspective on your classes and subjects. With information coming from different sources, you’ll get the most comprehensive knowledge.
Don’t try to memorize
It’s possible to memorize things for your exams, but that strategy is boring, taxing and inefficient. Instead of memorizing, you should focus on learning by internalizing what you read and see. Different unique methods you can use to learn a certain subject are mind maps, idea visualization and note organizing. One thing that works quite well for many students is asking and answering questions, but whatever you do that actively engages you with your material will result in success.
Take plenty of breaks
Be kind to your mind and body, and take plenty of breaks while studying. Sitting and reading for hours can be quite ineffective because your mind will stop retaining information after some time. Short bursts of studying allow the brain to process information more deeply. Focusing on 30-minute sessions followed by a short and effective break is the best solution for many. Your breaks might include stretching, grabbing a snack, power walking, chatting with friends, etc.
Creating short quizzes for yourself can push you to repeat what you’ve read and learned which is much better for retaining information. This method also allows you to see where you’re at with your studying: subjects you’ve learned, subjects that need more work and subjects that might require additional explanations. Whenever you hit a wall while quizzing yourself, write it down so you can come back to that hole in knowledge and fill it in.
Find a study buddy
For many people, having a study partner shows great results. As long as you and your buddy are on the same page and have learning styles that match, you can greatly benefit from your arrangement. The main goal of your partnership should be studying, but you can freely use your breaks to chat. Make sure to quiz each other and share knowledge.
It’s often not possible to achieve total silence when studying, but try to eliminate as many distractions as possible. To achieve the best results, it’s important to focus every part of your attention on your subject and not have some parts of your brain engaged with music, social media or strangers’ conversations. If you study alone and have access to a library or study lounge, make sure to put them to good use. If you can’t escape the noise physically, you can invest in noise-canceling headphones and put all your devices on do-not-disturb mode. The constant buzz of notifications is one of the worst attention killers.
In order to become a successful student that smashes all their exams, you need to dedicate time to learning effectively. With these tips above, you’ll achieve great results and have plenty of time on the side to enjoy student life and make memories you’ll cherish forever.