I know that every student has had those moments where we are trying to study (maybe cram is a better description) but just can’t seem to make the words in our textbooks stick. I have compiled a short list of 5 things that have helped me out and will hopefully help some of you!
Some people do all of their studying in either a public place like a library or at home, either way, sometimes the people in their environment aren’t exactly quiet. Personally, I can’t study whilst people are making noise around me so whether I’m at my desk at home or in the library at my university, I use my headphones. Now, the question is what to listen to.
› I recommend listening to a playlist of background noise like rain or a stream. Also, Apple Music has numerous curated playlists of “focus” songs ranging from classical to jazz so definitely check that out. Or you can simply type “sleep sounds” into YouTube and voila, free background music.
›I do not recommend listening to songs you know by heart or songs in any language you know. When we play songs we know, our brains are sort of expecting the next words and rhythm of the music instead of focusing on what is in front of us.
As I said earlier, people study in different locations. Don’t hesitate to explore your campus for places to study, universities in particular create an abundance of nooks for students to get their study on- take advantage! Plus, its good exercise to spend an hour exploring your campus.
›I recommend trying out different spots and seeing which you like or don’t like and why. Steer clear of super noisy areas, I promise there are so many other spaces where you can concentrate far better.
›I do not recommend staying in a place you do not like just because you feel awkward leaving; no one is looking, I promise!
3. Study materials
Everyone uses different elements in their notes: sticky notes, highlighters, gel pens, notebooks, a laptop or tablet. Try out different mediums and incorporate them with the topics you see they work well with. Some people use paper notes exclusively while others use electronic notes exclusively, test each one and take note of the medium that best fits your style.
>I recommend taking healthy snacks like granola bars, trail mix, or fruit and water to wherever you’re setting up your study spot. Also, take your laptop, highlighters, sticky notes, and anything else that you use in your notes.
›I do not recommend taking bulky things like textbooks with you. Not only do they take up a lot of space, but you can easily take pictures on your phone of the pages you need and save yourself the back ache.
If you are prone to getting distracted easily, download a browser extension for your laptop that does not allow you to veer off of academic pages and onto social media sites. The same extensions are available for smart phones, iPhones have a built in “do not disturb” option- use it if needed!
›I recommend letting your friends or family know that you’ll be busy studying and they need not disturb you for a set number of hours. This is also a bonus in relation to safety, they’ll know where you are and when to expect to hear from you.
>I do not recommend posting on social media that you are studying because your contacts could comment or send you messages replying to your post and those notifications can and will distract you.
5. Create a plan
Chances are, you aren’t studying for a single subject. Before you even begin to study, make a flowchart of what subjects you will study for first.
›I recommend starting with the easiest task. For example, if you need to take notes on 3 different readings for 3 different courses, tackle the shortest or easiest reading first. Leave the most difficult tasks until the end so that you don’t run out of energy before you finish all of your tasks.
›I do not recommend just diving in without some sort of idea of what you will need to do. I have done this and completely forgot to do a reading and then had to pay for it later.
I hope these help! Please let me know if you have any requests for future posts!