8 ways to study effectively that you can start doing now
by StudyMalaysia.com on October 21, 2019 | Top Stories
If you’re a student, you’ll know that studying is (or should be) a big part of your life. Then again, there are many other things that form part of your life as a student. There will be clubs, societies or sports to participate in, events to organise or attend, and you’ll also need time to socialise. Some of you may even hold a part-time job. So how do you make sure you have enough time to study?
Maybe you’ve noticed how some of your school or college mates seem to have time to do everything and yet have time to study and score straight As to boot. And maybe the answer is not just finding time to study but making your study time more effective.
So what does studying effectively mean? First of all, studying effectively is not a single event but a process. You’ll need to implement changes and stick to them in order to get the best results. If you spend a lot of time studying but find that you don’t get much out of it, chances are you’re not studying as effectively as you can.
Here are a few things you can start to implement immediately. Remember, you’ll need to stick to them—it may seem hard but once you do, you’ll very likely see the positive results you’ve been waiting for.
1. Study in a group
If you choose your study mates carefully, this could be one of the best ways to boost productivity when studying. Studying in a group minimises the chances of procrastination especially when you’ve set a time to study and committed to being accountable to each other. Group study also helps you fill in the gaps where you may have missed out something important in your notes. If you don’t understand something, chances are one of your study mates will be able to explain it to you. Being in a group also means you can sharpen your study skills and learn new ways to learn things.
2. Avoid multitasking
A long time ago, the ability to multi-task was a prized talent. Unfortunately, it’s been shown by many experts that it doesn’t quite work when it comes to studying. Instead of spending a lot of time doing lots of things at the same time – studying, answering emails, checking updates on social media apps, etc. – it is way better to study for a shorter period with zero distractions. This is more effective in the long run.
3. Use a variety of ways to learn the same information
Do you find yourself reading a chapter or even a page over and over and at the end of it, you still don’t get it? Or maybe you have trouble remembering the key concepts? You’re not alone. Don’t continue torturing yourself. Instead, use different ways to learn the topic. Besides reading your notes and the textbook, you could watch a video on the topic, look up other online resources, create a mind map, teach someone what you’ve learned, and do practice questions from a variety of sources.
4. Space it out
An impactful learning strategy you could try is called distributed practice. This means spacing out your study sessions over several short periods of time over several days and weeks. For example, an effective practice is to work a short time on each subject every day. Instead of burning the midnight oil the entire weekend, short daily sessions will help you retain the information more effectively in the long term.
5. Practice, practice, practice
Studying alone is not enough. You need to practise. So get your hands on past year papers or other practice exercises and start practising. Time yourself if possible. You need to get used to writing out your answers, particularly for long essay questions. For subjects like math, there’s nothing better than practice to boost your speed and accuracy.
6. Sit in front
If you’ve been sitting at the back of the class all this time, try to move up and sit in front. We guarantee that you will notice some changes in the way you react to learning in class. We don’t mean to say that students who sit at the back don’t do well – what’s critical is to let the change in your environment nudge you out of your comfort zone. Go on, try it!
7. Eat well, sleep well
With all that hard work you’re putting into your studying, you need to refuel and recharge! If you find that you need to pump yourself up with coffee and energy drinks day after day, you might be overdoing it. The quantity and quality of sleep that you get have a big impact on learning and memory. If you’re sleep-deprived, you cannot focus your attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Also, when you sleep, you give your brain a chance to consolidate your memory; this is essential for learning new information.
As for diet, junk food and sugary snacks don’t do you any favours. Science tells us that some foods increase awareness and mental sharpness, while other foods make us lethargic and give us brain fog. So stick to foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals, good fats, and rich in antioxidants. Besides being nutritious, these foods can boost your memory while sharpening your focus.
8. Plan, plan, plan
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So corny but oh, so true. Planning is essential because not only does it help you ensure you’ve got everything covered, it helps boost your confidence and give you a sense of achievement as you tick off your list of completed items. Planning also helps you decide how much time you need to spend on a topic—more time for the tough stuff, of course. Don’t forget to add sleep and exercise to your schedule!