Being a student is a lot of fun – friends, parties, clubs, freedom, late nights and rambling discussions – but there always comes a point when you need to knuckle down and study. Here’s how to make your academic study sessions as easy and painless as possible … you might even enjoy it.
1. Learn at your peak time of day
Everyone has a time of day in which they feel they’re at their best. You should always try to time your studying to when you feel your brain is best able to retain information. The morning works for many people, with late afternoon being the traditional “slump” time. When you’re the most creative and energetic feeling, that’s the best time of day for you to study. This might mean that you have to study at odd hours of the day or night, which is fine if that’s the best time for you to focus. Take a break from studying during your “off-peak” times – rest, go for a walk, or go shopping to recharge your batteries.
2. Find somewhere quiet to learn
You need peace and quiet in order to learn quickly and efficiently. The library is often a great place to study and learn, as it’s usually pretty quiet and there are no distractions from studying. If you need to study at home, stay off the Internet and turn off your cell phone. Shut your door and ignore any interruptions. You don’t want anything disrupting your learning time.
3. Keep your learning sessions short
Studies have shown that shorter learning sessions makes for quicker and easier learning. You should plan to work in sessions of about 30 to 45 minutes in length. Then, take a break you’re your intense focus on your studies, for about 15 minutes. Get something to eat, read a book, or whatever – just make sure that you do get right back to work after the short break!
4. Take notes while learning
Learning can be a passive or an active experience. You can be reading something and suddenly realize that you have no idea what you just read. If you take notes while studying and reading, however, you will be more apt to remember and learn what you’ve read. Write down key points and summaries, not everything you read, or you’ll drag out the learning process. Note cards can help while reading, and provide a good way to study for a later exam.
5. Know and obey your own limitation
If you’ve been studying for a while and you feel you just can’t take it any more, by all means stop for a while, even for a day if you can. It’s no use in banging your head against a wall trying to learn when your emotional state just won’t cooperate. Take a break and come back harder tomorrow.