For most of us, studying isn’t exactly something we look forward to. When it comes time to start working on that big project, some of us hem and haw, procrastinating until the very last minute. Or, when it’s crunch time before midterms, there are those of us who wander campus in search of the perfect study spot…only to realize we’ve wasted the whole day and still don’t know anything about Shakespeare (Romeo and who?!). Motivating ourselves to crack down and study can be tough – but fear not! We’re taking a look at how to make better use of our time – and leave some for the fun stuff!
1. Find the perfect place or routine.
The best way to ensure that you’ll get the grades you want is to get a study routine together and stick with it. It’s all about figuring out what works best for you. Try to block out a chunk of time each day that you know you can commit to doing homework. You’ll get yourself into the study mindset which will help you focus!
Having a routine study spot is also very helpful. Some people can only get their work done in the library. If that sounds like you, than plan some time to go each day and head to the stacks for some studying. If you work best in bed, break out the pajamas and the comfy pillows, and hit the books! And if you go with the bed option….just make sure it doesn’t include Netflix.
2. Figure out your best note-taking technique.
Many people like taking notes by hand because they feel that it ingrains information in their minds better. Plus, writing notes by hand keeps you focused on the professor – whereas with a laptop, you may be tempted to check Facebook and shop online. On the other hand, taking notes on your laptop is handy because typing is quicker than writing. Or, perhaps you’d rather record lectures and take your notes later, leaving your whole brain to focus entirely on your professor. The trick is figuring out which one fits you best. If you’re not sure, try them both out during the first week, when the course load is lighter and see which works best for you!
3. Read actively and efficiently.
Take a close look at your syllabus and see which chapters and sections your professor really emphasizes. Be sure to read those areas thoroughly – and take advantage of any extra practice quizzes your book might feature! After you’ve read them, ask yourself what was the main topic and write out any other key ideas.
If there’s a long section on a subject your professor has never mentioned, read through it but don’t spend too much time on it. It will just take up time you should focus elsewhere.
4. Form a study group.
Get together with some classmates or friends in your course before an exam or every other week to discuss the class. With a bunch of great minds coming together, you’ll be sure to have plenty of notes to look at – just in case you’re missing anything in your own notes. Plus, you’ll be able to discuss and break down the main themes and concepts with your peers – so if you’re too shy to raise your hand in in your giant lecture hall, this is a great alternative to understanding the material better!
5. Take a break.
Studying for hours throughout the night might seem like an admirable feat, but it’s actually not all that effective. Your brain needs a break every once in a while to recharge and process all of the new information. We don’t mean stop every ten minutes to take a forty minute rest, but it’s definitely a good idea to break up your studying. Block out smaller chunks of time in advance to study and really focus during those times. During your break, have a snack, stretch, or even take a walk.
Written by Guest Blogger Ilana S. of Rutgers U.
You’re ready to take on the semester now! Share your favorite study tips with us @BNCollege OR in the comments below.
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