The best way to improve your academic performance is through studying. A little effort goes a long way to achieve an effective and productive study session. Listed in this article are easy and simple tips you can follow to be more productive when studying.
What are the most productive ways to study? Practicing better study habits can improve your productivity while studying. Applying different study methods also helps to have a fruitful study session. Try following these tips and techniques to determine which ones suit you.
In this article, I will share some productive ways to study. Additionally, you will also have an idea of what you should avoid doing when studying.
9 Productive Ways to Study
1) Know Your Learning Style
Before you dabble to any of the tips listed below, it is important to know about learning styles. There are four main kinds of learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Reading/Writing. There are also other types of learners like Logical, Social, and Solitary.
- Visual learners prefer the use of images and illustrations to keep information better.
- Auditory learners rely on sounds and/or music.
- Kinesthetic learners physically engage themselves when learning.
- Reading/Writing learners work with information that is spoken or written.
- Logical learners make use of logic and reasoning.
- Social learners tend to study better when surrounded by other people.
- Solitary learners have the best study sessions when they are alone.
Identifying which style works best for you is crucial when studying. These styles will guide you on how to approach your studies. Your dominant style/s affects factors such as the time and place to study. Aside from that, it will also give you an idea of which materials you will need when studying.
2) Create An Effective Study Schedule/Plan
Sticking to an organized study schedule is essential for a good study routine. Prepare your study session beforehand by choosing an effective time and date. Creating a plan helps you to commit better to do the tasks you have. This will also cut distractions. Since you can control your schedule, you will have the best mood and energy to study.
When crafting your study plan, think of specific goals for every session. Decide the order of things that you need to accomplish. Check for subjects and topics that you need to focus on.
A good tip is to tackle difficult tasks first. It is more practical to take up hard topics when your energy levels are still high. This might also prevent you from cramming.
3) Exercise Before Studying
Many studies have confirmed the benefits of exercise for your brain. It boosts your energy and improves your mood. Aside from reducing stress levels, it also sharpens your memory. Exercise increases your heart rate and sends more oxygen to your brain.
A short workout before studying can enhance your cognitive performance. This causes you to understand and absorb information better.
4) Choose A Good Study Environment
Finding a good study area is key to having a productive session. The study environment impacts your concentration and retention levels. Consider designating an area that is quiet and far from distractions. It is also suggested to study in an organized place where you can access the supplies you need.
The best ambience and atmosphere can depend on the task that you have. This is why it is also advisable to have a frequent change of scenery. For example, the library is ideal when reviewing for exams. On the other hand, coffee shops can boost your creativity levels. Try out different areas and find which works well for you.
5) Listen To Music
Listening to music can help you concentrate better. Genres such as classical, instrumental, and lo-fi music can offer calming effects. Applying subtle background sounds may also amplify your memory retention.
6) Organize Your Notes
Cluttered notes are hard to read and understand. Using messy notes to study can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Before digging deep into any subject or topic, try to organize and update your notes.
Condensing texts, rewriting, and highlighting can make studying easier. You can also try mapping and creating visual aids to refine information retention.
7) Have Study Breaks
Allow your body and mind to rest and recharge. Studying takes up a lot of your energy. After some time, your concentration levels will wane. You will also feel tired and unmotivated. To combat this, always add study breaks to your schedule.
Here are some things to do during breaks:
- Stretch out your muscles to remove tensions caused by prolonged sitting
- Walk around and/or get fresh air
- Take power naps
- Meditate and relax
8) Prepare Drinks And Snacks
Apart from taking a break, try to consume some snacks. Make sure to also stay hydrated. Some snacks contain nutrients that help sustain your energy. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and sugar-loaded sweets can give a temporary boost. But those can cause caffeine or sugar crashes.
Put an effort into choosing the right snacks. If possible, opt for healthier versions. Look out for nutritional values like Omega 3, Vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Examples of healthy snacks and beverages:
- Superfoods such as nuts
- Dried fruits
- Dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao content)
- Green tea
9) Study With A Group
Studying with a group of people has many benefits. Aside from making you feel engaged and entertained, you can also gain confidence. During group sessions, you can exchange notes. Teaching and quizzing each other helps keep and absorb information.
Working with others can also improve your communication skills. You will also pick up values such as cooperation and empathy.
Things you should avoid
Studying Everything At Once
There is such a thing as “overlearning” and “information overload” when studying. It happens when to take in more than your brain can process. Reviewing for many subjects in a single session may sound good. However, it is counterproductive since it leads to overworking. This will result in burnout. Instead of retaining information, your mind will also be prone to forget.
Imagine your brain is like your device’s memory. At a reasonable pace, it can register chunks of data. But, it can overheat and reach full capacity.
To prevent this, try conducting shorter study sessions. Practice batch-processing where you tackle a specific number of tasks at a time.
Checking Your Phone
You might feel tempted to check for notifications during sessions or breaks. Doing this will immediately affect your concentration levels. If you can’t turn off your phone, try putting it on silent or airplane mode. Restrict yourself from opening applications or that might consume your time.
You have limited energy and time to study. Make sure you put all your attention on accomplishing your tasks. Limit or remove any distraction and clear some space in your mind.
There are many pieces of advice and tips that you can apply for your study sessions. It will take some time and effort but it will be worth it. Make studying a consistent part of your daily schedule. Focus more on the quality than quantity. Don’t stop seeking ways to make the best out of each session. Lastly, have fun and enjoy learning. Remember to study smarter, not harder.
What are ways to memorize effectively?
Various techniques can help you memorize effectively. Depending on the subject or topic you are studying, apply any of the following to get the best results.
- Use color coding in your notes – Color-coded words and passages are easier to recall. Designate separate colors for keywords and other significant information. Refrain from putting color to everything.
- Mind mapping – Visualize information by writing it down and organizing it using diagrams or tables.
- Feynman Learning Technique – Read about a topic or concept and write it on a piece of paper. Pretend like you are teaching or explaining the concept to another person. Review and identify errors and gaps with your explanation. Consult your material or notes again and try to refine your understanding.
- SQ3R Method – This is ideal for comprehending and retaining information from reading materials. The process includes: Survey or skimming portions of the material, formulating questions, reading, reciting, and reviewing.
- Retrieval Practice – This involves methods like taking practice tests and using flashcards.
When is the best time to study? There is no best time to study that is suited for everyone. Like the learning styles, each individual has their own preferred time to study. It sometimes depends on the energy levels and the environment that you have. Some people absorb information better in the morning. Others process and recall data better in the afternoon. There are also “night owls” who are more productive and creative at night.
Benefits of studying during the day:
- Your brain and body are well-rested and refreshed after getting some sleep.
- You are more alert and energetic.
- Natural light helps you to have higher concentration levels.
Benefits of studying at night:
- Peace and quiet.
- Fewer distractions.
- You retain information when you study before sleeping.