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How Can I Improve My Study Skills?

How Can I Improve My Study Skills?

Here’s the thing: studying is one of the least glamorous parts of life. It takes a lot of time, and it means going over the same material again and again. Sometimes, you’re stuck having to learn something that feels pointless.

Even if you use every trick in the book, studying is intense work, and there’s just no way to make it look cool.

But there are ways you can make it a lot more effective. Once you develop good study habits, you’ll become a lot more confident and you’ll be ready to take on new challenges.

Here are some questions you have to ask yourself:

  1. What’s the First Thing I Need to Do?

Studying can feel like an endless climb, and it’s very easy to lose motivation right at the beginning. That’s why procrastination is such a widespread problem about students. Even if your work habits are normally impeccable, you can be daunted by the grind of memorization and repetition.

The solution to this is to make an extremely detailed schedule. Your goal is to learn something new every day. When you achieve your daily goal, you’ll feel accomplished, which will motivate you for the following day.

Keep in mind that you may need to alter your structure as you go along. Some subjects may prove easier than expected, or you might come across something particularly tricky. But don’t fall behind or count on any last-minute bursts of inspiration.

The Pomodoro Technique can be a great way to keep on schedule and help you keep away from going on tangents. This is a popular time-management approach from the eighties. The idea is that you break your work down to regular intervals, usually 25 minutes, though some prefer 45. Between the intervals, you should take short, timed breaks.

You can use an app for this, or simply set up a timer. After a week or two of using this technique, you’ll know exactly how much effective studying you can get done in a day, and the whole process will become a lot smoother.

  1. Am I a Night Owl or a Morning Bird?

According to a survey done on college students in Nevada and across the UK [1], the average best time frame for studying is between 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The same survey also discovered that choosing your own schedule is the absolute best approach.

Some students like using the energy boost that comes with starting early in the morning. Many others only become alert and ready to work two or three hours after getting up.

But there are upsides to studying in the late afternoons and nights as well. Maybe you feel less stressed in the evening hours, and you might have fewer distractions to deal with as well.

Plus, according to research [2], your memory will work better if you sleep immediately after studying.

So what you need to do is pay close attention to the rhythm of your body.

When you feel tired at the end of your day, don’t put off going to bed at a reasonable hour. Don’t waste your first spike of energy by lazing around in bed. If your plan is to work at night, make sure you follow through with it instead of leaving your work for the morning.

If you feel like taking a nap during the afternoon, do exactly that! It can be a great way to sharpen your focus and your data retention.

  1. Am I an Auditory or a Visual Learner?

You could also be a bit of both.

Although this is an important question, the right learning style will depend on your circumstances as much as anything else.

If you’re studying for a presentation, you absolutely have to rehearse for it. Even if it’s daunting, you should record yourself speaking the words out loud. Not only will it make studying a lot quicker, it will build up your confidence too.

For other types of studying, making a good visual representation is the key to quick progress. A few tricks that can help any student:

  • Don’t type! Take notes by hand. Research shows [3] that taking notes by hand activates your brain more and thus increases your learning speed.

  • Bite the bullet and make bullet points. Making clear and visually distinct lists will help your memorization. It will also make it easier to understand and explain complex structures.
  • Try mind maps. Mind maps can help you visually organize data. You can create them by hand, or you can try out some software. You’ll end up with a handy diagram that will make every step of memorization a lot easier.

It’s always worth putting in some extra effort when it comes to making your study material more visually accessible.

  1. Are You Using Your Brain’s Full Potential?

If your thoughts feel hazy and your attention span’s too short, efficient studying is just not possible.

Are you getting enough sleep? Studying is mentally exhausting, and it’s physically taxing as well. Whatever your study schedule is, you should make sure to get enough uninterrupted sleep every day. Older students typically need more sleep, but you need to take care of yourself at any age.

What are you eating and drinking? Overeating can make you feel sluggish, but so can prolonged hunger. In addition to balanced meals, it’s worth looking into brain foods such as dark chocolate, nuts and berries. Green tea, coffee and other nootropics can give you a much-needed boost as well.

Have you removed every distraction? You need to avoid noisy environments and frequent interruptions. Turning your phone off can be a good idea too, since a badly-timed alert can set your progress back significantly.

A Final Thought

To remain motivated while you are studying, you should make sure to remember why you’re doing it. You need to have an end goal in sight. Whether you’ll reach it in a few weeks or a few years depends on your circumstances, but it should be your main motivator in any case.

But it’s also very important to celebrate small victories. Quiz yourself often, reward yourself for doing well. Review your progress and take pride in it, because you’re in the process of achieving something awesome.

 


Hi! We’re Team Neuro, aficionados of all things brain-related, from creativity to working out. With backgrounds in art, science, and athletics, we love delving into all the potentials of the human body.


We also created the world's first sugar-free nootropic caffeine gum that utilizes the effects of caffeine and L-theanine, made to help you optimize your mind — anywhere, anytime. Find out more here.

[1] https://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2017/best-time-of-day-to-study

[2] https://news.nd.edu/news/learning-best-when-you-rest-sleeping-after-processing-new-info-most-effective-new-study-shows/

[3] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/

 

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