I don’t know about you guys, but I HATE studying. Up until maybe a year ago, I really never needed to study to make good grades. Even freshman and sophomore year of college I did not need to study much, but after that… I found that just skimming the notes was no longer going to be good enough.
So, how do you start studying when you’ve never really had to?
Through some trial and error, I found these practices worked the best for people who have a hard time sitting still (raises hand). However, these practices may seem a bit weird. To find them, I combed through all kinds of blog posts and advice (let’s just say reading and taking notes doesn’t work well for me) in order to find a few tips that could give me an edge, without boring me to pieces.
1.Take adequate moving breaks
Nope, this doesn’t mean check Facebook. It means get up and do some jumping jacks or squats, start a load of laundry, fold laundry, anything to get your mind off of studying and get your body active. I take a break every 25 minutes for 5 minutes, then at the hour mark take a 10 minute break.
2. Drink lemon water
Keeping your energy up is key. One way to do that is to stay hydrated. The lemon helps keep your energy up and keeps you from reaching for the can of coke in the fridge.
3. Lay out note cards like a map.
It’s kind of like creating a real life scavenger hunt for your notes; You make cards with their definitions and lay them around your house or dorm on top of things you can make a connection to, or in the order you need to remember them. For example, the amygdala has a lot to do with memory-I had a stuffed elephant in my room and an elephant never forgets. Making connections helps you remember things easier, the weirder the better. I also am very good at reading maps and navigating, therefore, when I study I like to go through and make a map of my house. I take the terms or concepts and put them in rooms. Think mind palace from Sherlock. (Learn more about the mind palace, here).
4. Do your notes in class like this:
I know, my notes are never that color coordinated (who seriously has time for this!?!?!) but the concept works SUPER well. That way, you’re not taking notes exactly from the power point or lecture, instead you focus on key points. These kinds of notes are very easy to follow and even easier to study later on!
5. Keep a fidget gadget
We all fidget, some of us more than others. There are a few different fidget gears out there that are specifically made for people who need to be doing something with their hands, however I have found that something as simple as playing with a tube of chapstick (like EOS) or even playdoh helps! It let’s my hands move while still paying attention, or it lets my left hand move while my right hand writes.
6. Mix it up
Don’t study one particular subject for more than an hour or so. Make sure to add a few different subjects in there to at least review, that way what you’re studying doesn’t just become white noise. I know, I know, you’re like me and you’ve waited until the night before the exam to study, but trust me here. If you can’t sit still for long, more than likely you can’t focus for long either. Make sure to do this after studying for at least sometime and DON’T study two topics at the same time.
7. What about sleep?
DO IT. College is NOT just about pulling all night-ers, it’s about learning how to manage your time so you DON’T have to pull all nighters. Your memory gets extremely impaired after one 24 hour period of being awake. It actually has the same affect on your body as drinking two glasses of wine. Tip: Don’t take a test while intoxicated, thus don’t take a test when you haven’t slept.
8. IF you must study more…
Go to bed, and wake up EARLY. I’m talking 4 a.m. early! Don’t believe me? 4 a.m. is a time where our minds will have no other demands or distractions, meaning you are more likely to focus (if you’re not falling asleep, of course). Making a habit of getting up early will allow you to start your day without any kind of hurry or distraction: what better time to study!
There you have it! Do you have any other study habits that have worked for you? Let me know!
Happy Semester Everyone,