Preparing for exams is one of the most stressful periods in a young person’s life and, often, by the time you figure out the best way to do it, the opportunity has been and gone. Here are three simple, essential, and, above all, effective study tips that, hopefully, you’re reading just in time for them to be useful.
1. Make time
Yes, it’s important to give yourself sufficient time to hit the books, but that does not mean having to give up all the other aspects of life that are clamouring for your attention. All you need to do is set some time aside each day.
It needn’t be an excessive amount – two hours or so is more than enough – but it should be the same amount each day and, wherever possible, at the same time each day. The human brain is remarkably susceptible to routine. If you dedicate yourself to studying from 6pm to 8pm every night, for example, your subconscious will pick up on that, and you’ll find opening those textbooks gets easier every night, not to mention retaining the information.
2. Make space
Having adequate space to study is also important, but it’s something we rarely think about. If there’s room for a book, a laptop and a pad for taking notes, then we think we’re onto a winner. However, having too constrictive a study area leads to bad habits, both physically and mentally.
If you’re hunched into a small space, your body starts telling you it wants to do something else – sometimes it might tell you to have a stretch and go for a walk, other times it might tell you to give up and have a nap. More tellingly, physical restrictions can have an effect on your psychological well-being, as you start to feel hemmed in and trapped by your routine – hardly conducive to a healthy study regimen.
Give yourself the room. Invest in a chair and desk at the very least, even if your room only permits you a folding one. It’ll be the best purchase you ever make.
3. Get in motion
We live in an age of wonders. With all of the technology at our collective fingertips, studying on the move is now a real possibility. Many colleges and universities allow students to take audio recordings of their classes and lectures, so why not take the time to do so, and then load it onto your MP3 player before going for a walk, a run, or a couple of hours at the gym?
Not only does it make best use of your time, there are added benefits. Having a lecture repeated to you under different circumstances helps to reinforce your understanding of the subject as your brain tries to forge a connection between activities. Likewise, the act of strenuous exercise releases endorphins into the body which trigger feelings of elation, which your brain will now associate with your studies.
Try these study tips out for size, and see how much better you feel about learning.