Heading back to high school or your fourth year of university doesn’t have to be a stressful time if you have trouble studying.
Every year a collective heart skips a beat as students and teachers wonder how they’re going to cram a year’s worth of information into their memory. Learning to study properly is crucial and it doesn’t need to be difficult.
Here are three tried and tested study tips that will work for you.
1. Establish a Common Study Space
Study in the same place every time. This might seem obvious, but here’s the distinction – let your study space choose you. For some cruel reason that no one wants to tell us, carefully setting up a proper desk with everything you might need right at your fingertips usually doesn’t cut it.it. University students get distracted so easily by their phones and tablets, elementary kids get distracted by their toys, and junior high and high school get dis…FACEBOOK. What was I saying?
Choosing a suitable study space means that you’ll need to try several different spots until you find the most comfortable one. This isn’t a bad thing – it just means you’re studying a lot. By the time a study spot reveals itself to you, you’ve probably taken in a lot of information.
Some useful study space suggestions:
- Balcony or deck
- On the floor at the foot of the bed
- Loft area with no TV
- School library
- Bus or train
Keep in mind, searching for an established study space is best practiced early in the school year so you’re good to go when mid-terms and quizzes pop up. So when you head back to class this week, start searching.
2. Read the Words, Then Write Out the Content
Obviously you’re going to need to do a lot of reading if you want to effectively learn about your subject. After you’ve read the text on the page, however, where does that knowledge go?
- Have I actually learned the information?
- Could I teach the information?
- Am I an expert?
Most of us merely look at the text on the page rather than absorbing the content and processing the information. Study tip number two: read the sentence and then physically write out the important key points. Writing down key words, phrases, and even whole passages is a handy trick that effectively teaches you the lessons from your textbook. It takes outward energy to take the knowledge you’ve read, process it, and then re-publish it into another document.
Write down the what you believe to be the heart of the lesson you’re studying and you’ll create a more solidified memory to recall come test time. Plus, after you’ve jotted down as many bullet points, selected terms, definitions, and passages that you feel are necessary to learn the material, you’ll have a handy cheat sheet that you can review on the bus-ride to school.
Once you’ve established a solid understanding of the material you’re studying, it’s time to kick your memory into overdrive by reading your lessons out loud. Not the entire lesson, mind you, just the sections that you’ve written down in tip #2. The sections you speak out loud are the key ingredients to your study session – the content that drives the knowledge of the lesson you’re trying to learn. Speak into a mirror or while looking at a painting or a record cover that you enjoy – associate studying with something pleasing, while you’re talking out loud, and don’t be afraid to laugh if you feel a little silly. You’re learning!
It won’t seem silly at all when you ace your first test.
To Study is to Understand
Establishing a comfortable study space, writing down key points, and speaking the focus areas out loud are three study tips that don’t involve magic potions, cheating or cramming at the last minute. These study tactics will help you learn and understand, rather than just recall non-specific words and how you should organize them so that you barely pass an exam. School is about learning, and studying is the best way to learn.
Have fun with these study tips, and have a great first couple weeks of school. Get your study habits set early, don’t wait!