Studying is an important part of the education process. No matter how much information you glean from lectures and classroom sessions, you are still expected to hit the books and soak up a certain amount of learning on your own. It can be quite difficult, especially for a student carrying a heavy course load, to find the time to do all of this studying. Developing some effective study habits can make the difference between success and failure in this endeavor.
Mind over Matter
Getting in a proper frame of mind to study is important. Take care of any distractions before you sit down to study so that you can devote yourself 100 percent to the task at hand. Start gearing up about 15 minutes before hand, thinking about the subject, where you are weak, what you should concentrate on. You’ll find that when you finally do hit the books, you have a plan of action and you’re ready to soak up the information.
Find Your Sweet Spot
Distractions can quickly leach away most of your study time, and come in the form of friends dropping by, loud conversations, music, television or anything else that is competing for your attention. Take some time and look for a good study spot where you will not be bothered; some place quiet and out of the way. It can be a corner of the library, a booth in a coffee shop or even a park bench. Consider studying in a library off campus where you’re not likely to run into anyone you know.
It’s All in the Format
Hastily scrawled notes don’t do much good later on when you’re trying to figure out what you wrote and why you wrote it. Immediately after a class, rewrite your notes in some sort of useful format or outline. Use bullet points for important things you want to remember. Rewriting your notes will not only make it easier to study later, but it also helps you remember the information, so that you may only need to glance at your notes later, which will help tremendously when you’re in a time crunch right before exams.
Stick to a Schedule
Studying may be a chore, but it’s less of one if you do a little every day rather than trying to cram it all into one mega-session. Research on how people learn shows that when you introduce new material, you should revisit it the next day, and then again in one week, and again in one month. Make some time each day to go over the previous day’s learning, rewrite or format your notes and firm up what you have learned.
Weekends are a perfect time to go over the week’s lessons, and don’t forget to do a monthly review whenever is convenient – like right before a test. If you do this, you may just find that when it’s time for exams, a review of your notes is all that you need!