studying 101: how to stay focused, motivated, and on track.
lots of you have been messaging me asking for study tips and methods i personally use, so here is a masterpost for studying that i’ve created for all of you! feel free to reblog and add your own advice, but just remember to keep in mind that learning is a very individualized process and what may work for me may not work for you. that being said…here we go!
- an app called self control (which i think is only available for mac) is perfect for people who use their laptops to do work but always find themselves aimlessly browsing buzzfeed, facebook, and twitter instead. it blocks websites for you for a specified amount of time so you can’t access them! what i like to do is set it for anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, do some intense studying, and then reward myself with a 15 minute break. then i set the timer again.
- sometimes when i try to sit and study for long periods of time, i start to get antsy and starting fiddling with my pens or shifting in my seat a little too much. what i do to combat this is get out of my seat and do a very quick mini work out to calm my nerves and get the restless feeling out of my system. this also helps if i start to feel drowsy or tired because it helps get oxygen to your brain and gets blood flowing! i like to do to 10 jumping jacks, 10 sit ups, 10 pushups, and 10 squats.
- switch up your studying methods occasionally. there’s nothing more boring than copying notes everyday or reading chapter after chapter of the same textbook. quiz yourself with flashcards, create a diagram or chart instead of plain notes, annotate your textbook as your read with different pens… varying your methods of study will not only help you grasp the material better (since you’re learning it in many different ways), but it’ll keep you from getting bored.
- turn off your cell phone. i’m sorry. but seriously. turn it off. put it away. and none of that “i’ll just put it on silent” bullshit. turning it off is way better because then you get too impatient/lazy to turn it on and use it again.
- try not to devote more than 5-6 hours of studying per day. after that long, your brain becomes over-tired and stops processing information as well. there’s no point in forcing yourself to sit any longer. i myself usually study for 3-4 hours a day, and if i need to do more than that, i’ll do one session in the morning/afternoon and one in the evening.
- keep a picture of nicki minaj giving one of her “stay in school” speeches on your desk/as your laptop background (when you’re using it to do work). seriously.
and if you’re not a fan of nicki then bye.
- this is so preschool, but when me and my roomie lived in the dorms our first year (of college), we would put up tests that we got an A on on our mini fridge. seeing them displayed there made us want to study more for exams and tests because we got so excited to pin shit up on the fridge. try it. it’s surprisingly rewarding.
- there’s an extension for the google chrome browser called momentum that displays as your home page your main goal for the day and a to-do list. i’ve found this is really helpful because whenever i start up my computer in the morning, i’m shown what i need to do for the day (along with a pretty nature picture - you’ll see what i mean when you install it) and can check things off as i go.
- while you eat breakfast, make a to-do list for the day and include one thing you’ve already done (e.g. cook & eat breakfast). that way, you already get to check something off and it’s easier to keep going for the rest of the things you have to do.
staying on track
- keep a planner/agenda. i personally like having a physical agenda, but i know some people who prefer their phones for convenience. i look for agendas with a monthly calendar followed by a week on two pages. what i like to do is take my syllabi i’m given on the first day of class and write down all of the major assignments or tests in my planner and highlight them so they’re easily seen. i write down the readings week by week since those are subject to change, whereas major tests/papers usually do not.
- speaking of syllabi, keep them where they’re easily seen. for example, tape them above your study desk so you have easy access to assignment and reading due dates as well as contact information and office hours for your professors.
- some classes are modeled such that the current week’s lesson build upon what you learned in the previous week. it’s very easy to fall behind in such classes, so what i like to do is go over the notes i took in lecture and rewrite them in more explicit terms. if there’s something in my notes i can’t explain to myself, i’ll flag it and take it to my professor’s office hours (or simply email them, if the question is simple enough) so i’m not clueless come the next lesson.
- #SundayGetShitDoneDay. yep. it’s totes a thing. use your sundays to try and get ahead with the reading assignments. i’ve found that reading assignments (as opposed to online assignments or papers) are the first things to get ignored once the workload increases. try and combat this by doing them ahead of time on the weekend.
that’s everything i can think of off the top of my head! feel free to message me with other/specific questions you may have and i’ll try my best to help you out. i hope you found this guide useful! happy studying! :)