Studying may seem overwhelming, but it is an important skill to learn for school and life. Learning to study more effectively can help improve your grades and retain knowledge. It may take a little longer at first to prepare, but the more you practice, the more effectively you study!
Part 1 of 3: Create Good Study Habits
Step 1. Approach the study with the right mindset
Researchers have found that how students approach study is almost as important as what they study and how they study.
- Think positively. Don't be overwhelmed or intimidated. Believe in yourself and your ability to overcome this challenge.
- Don't think about the worst cases. Manage your time and try to see the positive side of your study situation, even if it is unpleasant or stressful. Just don't overdo it, as your optimism could cause you to skip the seriousness of the test or make you easily distracted.
- See every obstacle as an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Don't compare your qualifications with someone else's. Thinking competitively will only stress you more.
Step 2. Stick to a dedicated study routine
Following your schedule can help you manage your time and workload, and may allow you to focus on the task at hand more easily.
Schedule a solo session to study on your agenda or calendar. You may be more likely to take your study sessions seriously if you turn them into formal dates
Step 3. Change your environment for more effective study sessions
Studies indicate that alternating the places where a person studies can improve information retention.
- Determine if you work best in a quiet space or with ambient noise.
- Try to study with the windows open (weather permitting). Researchers have found that fresh air energizes and revitalizes.
Step 4. Make yourself as comfortable as possible
You shouldn't be comfortable enough to fall asleep, but feeling uncomfortable can make it hard for you to concentrate. Prepare a comfortable environment that encourages you to study.
- Choose a chair that you can comfortably sit in for more than an hour per session. Use a desk or table so you can place your study materials.
- Avoid bed. You could feel so comfortable that you stop studying. Associating activities other than sleep with bed can also make it more difficult for you to get a good night's sleep.
Step 5. Study without distractions
Turn off your cell phone and television, and resist the urge to check your social media accounts. These types of distractions can discourage you from working and make it difficult for you to retain the information you study.
You might think you're good at multitasking, but studying while doing other things (like using Facebook, Instagram, and other similar sites) will be detrimental
Step 6. Don't study everything in one night
Dividing the material you need to cover into small, manageable chunks will be more effective than trying to memorize everything in one go. Cover the material in shorter sessions over a period of several days or even weeks for the best results.
Step 7. Have a little caffeine shortly before studying
This will keep you awake and help you focus as you read, study, and prepare for class. Studies have shown that caffeine not only helps you feel alert, it may also improve your memory.
Do not exaggerate. Too much caffeine can make you feel restless, anxious, or stressed. Experts recommend that children and adolescents limit their intake to 100 to 200 mg per day. This is just 1-2 cups of coffee, 1-3 cans of Red Bull, or 3-6 sodas
Step 8. Take a break to exercise
Studies show that doing cardio as part of your routine can improve your memory and overall mental health.
Step 9. Consider joining a study group
Researchers have found that students who study in groups tend to perform better on tests and labs.
Part 2 of 3: Studying with Class Notes
Step 1. Record the class and listen to it at home or on the go
Ask your teacher for permission before recording any part of class sessions. With their permission, use a sound recorder during class. If you are using a digital recorder, convert the file to mp3 and listen to the class while you commute or work out in the morning.
Step 2. Consolidate and cut out the notes in class
Write down important ideas, concepts, names, and dates; instead of trying to write every word of the teacher.
Step 3. Review your notes every day
You should do it right after class, if possible. If you can't study right after class ends, it will be vital that you do so as soon as possible that day, as you will forget most of the class information after 24 hours.
- Read each line of the notes slowly and carefully.
- Consult with your teacher about what you do not understand or that has not been clear.
Step 4. Transfer your class notes to a designated study notebook
This will allow you to collect the most important information in one place and can help you better understand what you have written down in class. However, don't just copy the material mechanically! Rephrasing the class notes in your own words will also help you understand the material better than just rephrasing what it has told you.
Step 5. Review all your notes for the week over the weekend
This will help you reinforce the things you have learned that week, and may help you better contextualize each day's lesson within the framework of the entire week's lesson plan.
Step 6. Organize your notes
It might help to color-code them based on the lessons or theme, or try using a series of binders to create a neat system.
Try different organizing methods until you find one that is right for you. This could include ordering the reprints without combining them with the notes, or organizing everything by date, chapter or subject
Step 7. Make and use index cards
Flashcards can help you memorize important names, dates, places, events, and concepts. You can use them for almost any subject they teach in school.
- Choose the most important names, dates, concepts and similar data.
- Write the name on one side and the definition on the back. For math formulas, write the equation on one side and the solution on the back.
- Take a test. Once you can quickly give the definition or solution based on the front of the card, evaluate yourself by reviewing them in reverse; that is, read the definition or solution on the back and provide the correct term or equation written on the front.
- Divide the tiles into manageable sections. Just as studying one night from your notes or lesson plans is discouraged, research has shown that dividing up your study materials is also more effective than studying all night, when it comes to index cards. Don't try to learn more than 10 to 12 tiles at one time.
Step 8. Use mnemonics
Associating names or terms with something easy to remember can help you memorize the information in your notes more easily.
- Don't do very complicated mnemonics. You should be able to remember them easily and apply them easily in a test.
- Song lyrics might be the easiest to use. If you get stuck, hum the rhythm of the song in your mind, associating the lyrics with the material you are trying to memorize.
Step 9. Use mobile applications
You don't have to stay at a desk to study. Use technology to free up your study sessions so you can study anytime, anywhere.
- Many mobile applications will allow you to create tabs. You can check them anywhere, whether it's in a queue at the store or on a bus.
- Save your notes on a wiki or blog. You can tag these posts with relevant keywords, allowing you to quickly find your material when it's time to study. You can also check them anywhere you have an internet connection.
Part 3 of 3: Studying from Textbooks
Step 1. Take a quick look at each chapter before reading
Look for text written in bold or italic, or displayed in charts or graphs. Also look for sections at the end of each chapter that summarize the key concepts of the unit. Information presented in one of these ways is often the most important when teachers prepare an exam on the chapter or section in question.
- If you are studying a creative work, such as a play or novel, look for patterns and themes. Literary topics (items that carry additional meaning, such as darkness, blood, and gold) may recur throughout the text, indicating that it is important to pay attention to them. It is also appropriate to focus on the "big ideas."
- If your teacher allows it, you can use a study guide to help you understand the plot so that you can focus on the most important themes and patterns. Don't depend on these guides for everything you need to learn! Just use them as supplements to your other reading and study techniques.
Step 2. Read the chapter carefully and take notes
Now that you've taken a look at the chapter and jotted down the key concepts, read the entire section at least once, pay attention to details, and take notes as you do so. This will allow you to understand the material and contextualize the chapter within the unit.
Step 3. Read actively
Active reading, which includes asking questions about reading and taking notes, has proven to be more effective and efficient than passive reading just to finish the chapter.
- Draw parentheses between the key concepts in the chapter and circle any terms or names that you do not know.
- Write questions in the margins as you read and then find the answers to them.
Step 4. Reframe the key concepts in your own words
This will help you better understand the material and remember these concepts more concretely.
- Remember that this can also summarize and focus the information. In doing so, you should pay attention to what appears to be the most important.
- For example, consider this excerpt: “Students often overuse direct citations when taking notes, and as a result they overuse citations in the final essay of their research. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscripts should appear as direct citations. Therefore, you should strive to limit the number of times you can accurately transcribe source materials while taking notes. " Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. Second edition (1976): 46-47.
- You could rephrase the key concept this way: “Put fewer direct quotes in your notes, as you could use too much in the final essay. Use a maximum of 10% citations in the final version”.
- As you can see, this has captured the most important information from the excerpt, but you have expressed it in your own words and it is much shorter, which means that you will be able to remember it more easily later.
Step 5. Review everything you've read as soon as you finish the chapter
Review your notes and any file you have made. Take a quiz after you've read all of your notes several times. You should be able to remember most of the important concepts, names, and dates. Repeat this review process as often as necessary to keep the information in your mind as you prepare for upcoming exams and tests.
Step 6. Don't try to do it all at once
Studies have shown that the most effective way to study is in short sessions, usually in 1 to 3 hour increments. Prepare for several days, each with several sessions.
Step 7. Change subjects
Research indicates that studying related but varied material in one session is more effective and efficient than studying only one subject's material in one session.
You can also try to relate the material you are going to learn to things you already know. You can even create connections between new material and pop culture. You are more likely to remember new material if it is related to things you already know
- Find a time of day that works best for you to study. Some students study best in the evening; while others do better first thing in the morning. Pay attention to your body to know when you study most effectively.
- Learn which study methods work best for you and stick with these habits.
- Take breaks every 1-2 hours so you don't overload your brain, but don't rest too long or too often.