School’s about to kick off this year, and you may have promised yourself last year that you’ll do better in your studies. You’ve assessed your previous study techniques and figured out that most or some of them aren’t working in your favor. Thus, you’re now starting to take out thicker books and spend longer hours on each subject so you can understand everything and you won’t miss anything again.
But the truth is, studying is not about how often you read a book or how long you spend going through your notes. It’s about how much information you can retain. Plus, it’s not always good to spend your day studying since you have other responsibilities, including extracurricular activities and chores.
Don’t worry as you’re not the only one struggling to juggle your studies and other responsibilities. With the proper skills, you may find a way to balance all of your schoolwork. To help you get started, here are five tips to help you study smarter in 2021:
1. Be Visually Organized
You may have noticed how some study tips always start with picking up books and notes right away. But when it comes to studying, preparation is essential. It can make or break your learning experience, and it could also affect how your brain receives information.
Keep in mind that every subject has its own topics, lectures, readings, due dates, and schedules. As much as possible, take your time to organize your study notes and books by splitting lessons into smaller sections, color-coding texts by topic, or highlighting the parts you should focus on. This way, your study load and materials won’t be overwhelming for your brain.
Some students tend to put a huge pile of books in front of them, so they end up not wanting to study. Keep everything neat and organized to make it easier for you to look for the materials you need and stay on top of everything.
2. Plan Your Study Schedule Wisely
Evaluate yourself and determine which time of the day is the most ideal for studying for you. Are you more motivated to study in the morning? Or are you perhaps more active at night? Plan your study schedule in a way that works for you. Make sure your chosen study time is when you’re most alert and awake. If not, you might end up wasting an hour flipping pages and not absorbing anything.
Additionally, practice time management as it’s one of the skills you need to boost your study skills. For instance, set aside 30 minutes to focus on one subject, spend another half hour to test yourself, study another subject in the next 30 minutes, and so on. Don’t forget to include five- to 10-minute breaks in between subjects. Most importantly, never schedule your study time the day or night before a major exam as you’ll only end up cramming and get tired during the test.
3. Explore Different Methods Of Studying
It’s a little-known fact that you can study a subject or learn a topic by using different studying methods. For instance, you’re reading about a particular concept in your book. However, you can also have a good understanding of that topic by watching videos about it. Turning to various types of educational media encourages your brain to retain information better and more quickly. So there’s no reason to limit yourself to what your teacher gives you such as books or lecture notes.
Don’t hesitate to explore more resources online, use studying gadgets and apps, or find another textbook that may discuss the same topic in a simpler way. Moreover, you can engage in group discussions so other people can help you understand a subject and vice versa. Then, don’t forget to test your knowledge by doing practice quizzes and tests.
4. Use Pictures
There’s no rule saying that photos and illustrations are only for kids, so feel free to use them when you study. In fact, they can help you understand concepts and memorize topics faster. Some students learn better when presented with topics through visual aids rather than lengthy paragraphs. Aside from pictures, you can also make use of diagrams, charts, and graphs among others.
In case you aren’t provided with pictures or diagrams, you can always find or make some for your own reference. Creating a visual presentation helps you remember all the information you include in it. Don’t forget to add labels, names, and a few notes on your visual aids since photos and illustrations alone may not be adequate for all lessons.
5. Boost Your Mental Focus
Sometimes, it’s not all about your preparedness of study materials, the completeness of your notes, or how much time you set aside for your studies. It may also be about how well your brain can keep up with your learning tasks and retain its focus for the entire study session.
Many students struggle to stay focused on their studies, especially since they’re surrounded by countless distractions nowadays. Those can be anything from their gadgets to their family members.
However, there are also instances when your brain’s unable to concentrate despite the ideal study environment you’re in. It may be affected by several factors like inadequate sleep, stress, or personal problems. Here are some ways to boost your mental focus:
- Improve your study space at home and remove all unnecessary items.
- Get sufficient sleep every night (7-9 hours).
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
- Meditate or do yoga.
- Stay hydrated.
- Train your brain with crossword puzzles and games.
- Eat food that’s good for the brain such as blueberries, nuts, spinach, and fatty fish.
Before you start your study session, you can also do breathing exercises for a few minutes and listen to music in order to get in the right mood for learning.
The Bottom Line
Keep in mind that mastering new study methods will take time and effort, but it’ll all be worth it. Not only will you learn more, but you’ll also increase your chances of getting higher grades and developing skills you can utilize for years to come. No one becomes a better student just because of luck—that’s only possible if you deliberately work for it. So take note of the tips above to become more efficient in your study habits.