How To Study More Effectively: 34 Ways for Lasting Success
If you have ever wondered how to study more effectively, this article is for you.
Even although Bill Gates’ target market are engineering students, his advice applies to all students. At some point in life, everybody has to face unforeseen surprises in the work field. The exams are just a prequel to the challenges that lie ahead. But try saying it to a student and he might provide you with a death stare. For students, exams are a matter of life and death. Most of the students wholeheartedly followed Mr. Gates (accidentally obviously) and trying to stay up late before exams.
Pre-exam stress can do things that are detrimental to the mind and memory even when the student is experienced. The exam is just as much about nerves as it’s about testing acquired knowledge.
Being a student myself, I can feel the nightmare that exams could occur. Hence I have written this article to help everybody out there in their quest to prepare as best they can in the shortest time possible.
If you have exams any time soon then Good luck! I hope you find the tips here helpful.
How to Study More Effectively:
1. Gather All Materials
Before you sit right down to study, be sure you have everything you need. This includes pencils, pens, writing paper, calculators or dictionaries. Waking up repeatedly to get the things you need breaks your concentration and is a waste of time.
2. Find a Suitable Place
It is essential that the place where you sit for study is quiet and peaceful. Find a place away from distractions such as the tv. Also avoid studying in the company of individuals who might distract you. Better to have a room to yourself. If you haven’t got your own bedroom facility in your home (say, you share it with siblings), a corner at the local park or library might be a good place to consider.
3. Play Background Music
I personally do not recommend lyrical songs as they can distract you. But some people find that listening to their favourite artist while studying math in fact helps in the process. Listening to light and mellow instrumental music is the safest way to go because it calms and relaxes you.
4. Practice Before Starting
Light exercise can relieve drowsiness. It also improves blood circulation. The more blood flows to your brain, your concentration will improve. Sport also gives you purpose and determination to do something. This can help you see your exam-related goals and targets.
5. Practice Yoga Poses
Yoga is among the smartest routines out there. Not only is it great for your body and soul, it does wonders for your mind too. Proper yoga practice can open your mind and senses. An open mind that’s more in sync with the world around you can absorb and retain knowledge longer. Several yoga poses have been shown to be particularly beneficial for mental health.
6. Avoid studying on the computer
Studying on a computer can be very distracting. Every ten minutes, you will tend to check your Twitter or Facebook, even if it is just to check notifications. I know I’m suggesting supporting educational videos but when watching videos you get more absorbed into them than reading something on the web. If possible, try to read from a book. If you haven’t got the required book and need to consult it online, find the file you want and print it. Your attention is much more focused when reading from paper.
7. Turn off your Phone
Just like the internet, your cellphone can be your number one enemy when trying to study. Tackle the problem early on and just kill it before starting your study session.
8. Take Omega 3 & 6 Capsules
Our brain is made of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Consuming enough amounts of this supplement can help increase brain volume; which means better concentration and memory. These two things can be key players when you try to pass the test.
9. Building Concepts
Everything in your course is built around a few fundamental foundational concepts. Just as all English stands on a foundation of letters and grammar. If your trigonometry is weak, your calculus will absolutely suffer. On the other hand, if you have a solid understanding of the fundamental concepts, then you’ll be capable to understand advanced material more easily.
10. Get an Overview in Advance
Before you bother memorizing details and formulas, get a summary of your subject first. Instead of jumping right into memorizing dates for your history exam, understand why certain events happened, their background and their impact on the world’s population. This way, even if you do not remember the minutiae, you can answer the questions in general terms.
11. Take frequent breaks
Educator experts advise not to study for a long time. This way of handling your test, tires your brain and makes it unable to process information after a certain quantity of time. Science shows that the maximum amount of time before which the brain can think about something is one hour.
After an hour, take a brief 5 to 7 minute break. Get up, move around and preferably eat or drink a little.
12. Make Bullet Points
For each topic you study, record the important information you have gathered in small, memorable bullet points. For example, Instead of trying to memorize the whole description of the events leading up to World War II, jot down in small phrases two to three words per event. Making bullet points and memorizing them will help you retain information during the test.
13. Give space
Instead of understanding and memorizing a whole chapter or topic by itself, break it up into smaller subheadings. Our brains store small pieces of information better than long continuous texts. Take the events leading up to World War II as an example. Instead of trying to remember all the events directly, break them down into smaller chunks like “Most Important Events”, “Most Important Events”, and “Less Important Events”.
14. Make a Story Out of It
Humans are natural living beings. We love to hear good stories. You can use these little facts to help you with your exams. Theoretical subjects normally have ready-made stories for them. But for science subjects, create animated stories to help you remember the facts better.
15. Write it down
After you have finished a subject, close the book and write down everything you can remember about it. Writing it down in your handwriting makes it a part of your hand memory. Or if you just read it and move on to the next topic, everything will be jumbled up in your mind. Whenever possible, learn by writing things down.
16. Understand the Pattern
No matter what exam you take, there will even be a set pattern for it. Whether it is a school exam, end of term or SAT, every exam has a particular style of asking. For exam success, it is essential that you have prior knowledge of the expected question patterns and answers.
- How many words is the expected answer to a 10 grade question?
- What answer is anticipated if the question says “Specify”?
- How do you handle questions that ask for your opinion?
You should know all these facts before taking the exam.
17. Set Schedule
Some people study better in the morning, some work better in the afternoon, while others like to stay up late. Observe yourself and know your most productive time. Then organize your study schedule around it. For example, if you perform better in the morning, wake up earlier to make the most of that time. You can compensate for sleep by falling asleep at other, less productive times.
18. Avoid Television
While you’re taking hourly breaks, avoid television during this time. If possible, do not skip the tv altogether. It can quickly catch your attention and make you lose track of your goals. You may find that your 5-minute break has been extended to an hour. Find other ways to relax yourself by not using the tv.
19. Be Selfish
During the exam session, your first precedence should be your studies. If anyone in your family asks for help around the house, blatantly refuse. Your prep time is there so you can prepare for a test, not so you can mow the lawn.
20. Create Flash Cards
If you must memorize something like dates or formulas, the smartest thing to do is make flashcards. Take strips of coloured paper and cut them into squares of appropriate size. Then write down the facts you’ll memorize with coloured pens. Keep these flashcards with you wherever you go so you can keep revising them.
21. Connect Things
As you progress and move on to higher studies, you’ll find that all things are eventually interconnected. You will find traces of calculus in industrial manufacturing subjects, statistics in quality control. If you can make these connections, you can cover multiple subjects on a single topic.
22. Say it loud
Some students report that reading aloud rather than silently works better for them. This doesn’t apply to all students out there. If you are someone who gets sleepy while reading, try reciting the text aloud and see how it plays out for you.
23. Avoid Over-Studying
If you have a goal of say completing two chapters per day, then once you have achieved that goal do not over study. Just as not completing your daily goals can make you forget your goals, the same will make you tired. After you have completed your daily goal, reward yourself by relaxing and doing the things you enjoy.
24. Clear Your Head
It is a common complaint amongst students that when they sit right down to study all the thoughts of the world come to live in their head. If you are familiar with the meditation practice, doing it before starting a study session will help clear your mind and make you feel more focused. If you are not aware of them, reading about them and practicing beforehand will help you during your exam time.
25. Create a Web
After you have finished studying a subject, take a blank sheet of paper and randomly write down everything you can remember briefly sentences. Once you are done, open your books & notes and see how much you have covered. Check again for points you may have missed. This will really solidify the whole text in your mind.
26. Test Yourself
Most of the time, just reading and memorizing is not enough. To really be sure you’re ready for the exam, put yourself to the test. Write down a few exam style questions and try to answer them. Or you can even ask a friend or family member to test you.
27. Promise a Treat Yourself
If you love chocolate or pizza or simply enjoy watching movies, use your interests as an incentive for yourself. Promise yourself that after completing two chapters, you will reward yourself with pizza. Doing this will make sure that you do not lose sight of your goal.
28. Rely on Caffeine
I know that this is not the best advice but when time is short and sleep is knocking at your door then caffeine can be your best friend. If you have very limited time and want to cover as much as possible, depend on coffee or tea to keep you awake. This is not a long term strategy but will get you through the day.
29. Break Up into Smaller Portions
Instead of studying for several hours, divide your study time into smaller portions. If you have a goal of studying four hours a day, you can divide it into two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. You’ll be capable to cover more content this way because you will not be distracted.
30. Avoid Revising Your Weak Areas
The night before or right before an exam, do not look at content you have not prepared properly. Doing this will only make you realize how much you do not know. There’s no point in making this realization now. Right before your exam, you need to be stress free and assured. Exaggerating your weak areas will have the opposite effect. Instead revise things that you have prepared well. This will provide you with a much needed confidence boost.
31. Try All Questions
If you run out of time during the exam, complete all questions. The average of all the questions that were mediocrely attempted was greater than that of the items that were very well attempted. If you are answering a question and realize that you are not going to be capable to complete your paper, leave the question alone and continue answering everything.
32. Don’t Watch Other People on Exams
When writing your exam, focus only on your own paper. Don’t worry about how many sheets the person to your right has filled in or if the other person has completed their paper. This will only cause you to panic which is the last thing you want on an exam. Stay focused on your own work and avoid looking at other people as much as possible.
33. Learning is More Important
Remember that the exam tests your ability to memorize and reproduce information. No test in the world can test your learning and knowledge. In the exam preparation process, remember that exams are just obstacles that you must overcome to get your degree/diploma. Your true goal is true learning which can’t be evaluated by any exam. So amidst all the exam preparation, remember that even if you pass the test but get nothing, it won’t serve you well in the long run.
34. Everyone is Unique
Widespread educational systems treat every individual as equal which is as far from the reality as possible. Everyone is unique. Some people are better at reproducing information than others which is why they achieve great success on exams. If you are such a person, then good for you.
But if not, then do not worry and never think of yourself as less clever than your high-scoring peers. Intelligence equals originality and creativity NOT the value on your result card. Be yourself. Be creative. You are worth more than what is written on your report card.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article on how to study more effectively. I actually hope that its content has been of good help to you.