Tips for studying

Written by: Vishruti Shrivastava || Graphics by: Vishruti Shrivastava

Reality check – No one enjoys the process of studying, it’s stressful and involves a lot of time and effort. But still is important to live in life and have a secure future. But a barrier which usually occurs in a student’s mind is- What exactly is the way to study? How should I even begin? Am I doing it right? What went wrong?

So here are some of the tips which can help students to have a good academic year and studying cycle:

  1. Keep a planner – Having a planner usually helps to organize tasks and events and helps one stay more organized. Writing the deadlines and duration of each task, their emergency, etc. helps a student more aware of them and also makes them less stressed about getting a lot done.
  2. Ask doubts – When reading or studying, some concepts, doubts, or questions arise in a learner’s mind, and to help understand better, it is necessary to let those confusion-filled knots clear and ask their teachers. Remaining confused or leaving that topic will only add to the disadvantage and create a barrier in effective studying.
  3. Don’t slack too often– It is important to be consistent and complete work on time. Slacking off not only breaks productivity and flow but also creates a cut in the learning process. Hence, it is important to be updated and complete homework and assignments on time.
  4. Keep the list small– Do not overburden. Creating and assigning a lot of tasks in the day leads to demotivation of not being done and eventually leads to procrastination. Hence, break down the to-do list into small chunks, and carry on. Take small steps forward.
  5. Study in the morning– Waking up with a fresh mind boosts up productivity and hence is the best time to study and learn. Study says productivity levels decrease as the day passes; hence it is important to get to work right in the morning.
  6. Space out work time– Sitting on the study table for hours not only makes the learner irritated but also results in falling levels of productivity. So it is important to break down tasks with their period and take breaks in between.
  7. Take breaks- Sitting at a stretch results in a fall of concentration, hence it is really important to take breaks.(NOTE: Don’t touch any phone or laptop or any other distracting factor during these breaks. Then what should be done when taking breaks?
    • Take a small nap– taking a small nap will relax the mind and helps retain information
    • Move– Take a little walk or do a little Zumba workout or do some yoga exercises. This will keep the blood inflow and helps feel refreshed.
    • Hydrate – Having a glass of water will help stay hydrated and increase concentration.)
  8. Refresh- It is normal to feel sleepy and tired during a study session, but also leads to a decrease in getting things done. So, one can have a quick shower or wash their face with cold water or have some water to get refreshed and not slack between sessions.
  9. Summarize – It is important to summarize and take notes of the information being read. Not only it makes the material compact for better memorization but also helps in getting the writing done.
  10. Revise– It is really important to keep revising as it helps in memorizing the concepts. Reading the notes and material on a timed basis and intervals helps better retention of information. Sometimes one also gets reminded of the page on which the information is written!
  11. Making better notes- Having good notes helps in the long run, what are the things one can do to have good notes?
  • Summarize again and again- making summaries, again and again, helps remember the key points and concepts and also makes the most accurate and compact content available for a learner.
  • Use color– making the notes pretty using colors and diagrams here and there helps improve the study techniques and helps is learning visually. One can also color code information for better memory.
  • Make them interactive- The notes should be made interactive with questions and answers simultaneously so that it is easy to quiz oneself while revising the piece of writing.
  • Using techniques- Some study techniques like making mind maps and acronyms make a session fun.

    12.  Set a time– Setting a time every day for studying sessions makes the brain used to it and eventually when the time of the day arrives, sends signals to start studying.

13. Don’t multitaskMultitasking never works for the brain. The attention gets divided between two tasks and not even a single task gets done efficiently.

14. Become a teacher- After learning a concept, try enacting a teacher and explaining the same concept to either a friend, stuffed toys, parents, or even yourself. Not only will it make the concept clearer but also enables to dig deeper and learn better.

 

How to study for exams?

Is there a particular way to study before exams? What is the method to follow? Along with exam time comes anxiety and to surpass the clutches of the exam anxiety, here are a few tips that can help to be better prepared and countering the problems faced.

  • Know the syllabus- Knowing the syllabus is the first and foremost thing to be done while preparing for an exam, otherwise, it leads to learning the wrong topics or may even lead to skipping some important topics. Hence it is a necessary task and shouldn’t be avoided at any cost.
  • Plan the schedule ahead of time- Having a study schedule weeks before exams help in better organization of subjects and topics and avoid overburdening with information just a few days before the exam. So, it is a good practice to have prioritized subjects and tasks listed along with proper scheduling to avoid getting anxiety just before the day of the exam.
  • Eat healthy It is really important to eat healthily and appropriately so that one doesn’t fall sick before exams.
  • Practice- Practice is the key. Practicing daily and putting learned concepts into use is the most important task while studying. Taking practice tests and quizzes, solving practice problems and previous years also give an idea of the types of questions coming in the test and also give the approximation of the time one will take during the exam.
  • Key concepts- While note-taking, it is important to note down the key concepts and points one should use while answering, it increases the points on the test and also make revision easy.
  • YouTube Using YouTube to understand the topics should be inculcated as many teachers teach a concept easily. Try finding the easiest way of your learning and continue.
  • Make a list- Make a list of things found difficult while studying and the hard questions or finding a concept different and complete them first.
  • Avoid careless mistakes- The most irritating and normal situation of students is to lose marks due to some careless mistakes. How can one avoid making careless mistakes? Here a few points which can be kept in mind-
  1. Sleep well before the day of the exam. It minimizes the chances of being tired and sleep deprives and will increase the focus and accuracy levels.
  2. Be neat– Being neat while writing a paper and steps helps to spot out the for the student easily. It also creates a good impression on the teacher and can also lead to some extra marks or ignoring of the mistakes made.
  3. Don’t skip steps– Skipping the steps often leads to mistakes. So it is important to write each calculation and small step and formula so that the chance of a mistake gets ruled out.
  4. CheckWriting an exam effectively involves the most important step and that is checking the work after completing the exam. One must always keep a time margin for checking the work before submitting it so that mistakes get avoided and corrected earlier.
  5. Get familiar with the mistakesOne should review their mistakes and get familiar with them so that they get avoided the next time. So, while writing the exam, one must be extra careful with those.

 

Following these tips may still lead to loss of focus and breaking off of a continuous study bubble. One may feel unmotivated to still go on with these tasks and as time goes by, it gets more irritating than ever.

Here are a few ways one can get motivated.

 

  • Watching inspiring movies or documentaries increases motivation and helps to set a mindset of getting things done and getting better to achieve something.
  • Keeping a good sleep schedule helps to set the weariness aside and enables us to work more efficiently and in turn motivated to get done with work.
  • Set realistic goals– Piling up with goals and tasks can be really demotivating and stressful, so it is important to be practical and to set realistic goals for the future. It also divides the workload into tiny bits. Goals can be set on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, topping up with the ultimate goal. Taking small steps is the key, in the long run, everything will fall into place.
  • Make to-do lists– making to-do lists and striking off a task always makes one get motivated to get more done and in turn be more productive.
  • Reward yourself- one must keep rewards for completing tasks. It not only helps to take a break but also keeps the learner motivated to do more.
  • Find a reason- Find a reason to stay motivated. Find what motivates you, find your reason, and note it down. The reason itself will make one motivated enough and get drawn towards their goal.
  • Take a look back- Taking a look back over the accomplishments gained by the person will motivate and also help get a reason for going on and not giving up.
  • Surround yourself with inspiration- Be it motivational quotes or posters, podcasts, or affirmations, one must always feel positive to get in the right mindset to get things done. Following inspirational Instagram accounts or filling the social media feed with study blogs, following study YouTube channels, or watching study with me videos. Find your way of external motivation and start.

Few Study YouTube channels are listed below-

 

Few study with me videos –

 

Here are a few ways one can regain lost focus while in a study session-

  • Sleeping enough is really important to not lose focus and avoid being tired while studying. That’s why one should be well-rested before starting any study session.
  • Avoid distractions– Put all the electronic devices in Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode. These gadgets can get really annoying and distracting while being in a focus bubble, hence it is really important to get rid of them before sitting in the cycle.
  • Set time stamps- One must set timestamps so that they get a fixed time slot for getting a particular task done, it not only makes them motivated to get over with it fast but also gives them a deadline and help them actively focus.
  • It is necessary to eat, get hydrated and freshen up before sitting down to study. Getting up, again and again,  breaks the bubble of concentration and ruins the study session overall.
  • If not feeling focused enough, one can always use external motivation as listed in the above topic for regaining the momentum.
  • The study area should be well lit and should be free of clutter to help focus more and to avoid being tired.
  • Taking short breaks is really helpful. Working in small chunks and taking small breaks in between each study session helps boost productivity and avoids losing confidence and focus.
  • Try to minimize stress– Studying can be stressful, so how can we eliminate stress while studying? Here are a few points which can be done-
  1. Sleep well and be well-rested
  2. Take breaks
  3. Break down big tasks into small ones
  4. Be well prepared
  • Study music– Calming music, white noise, instrumentals, classical music are some choices of study music playlists that help to concentrate and creating a studious environment.

Here are a few study playlists which can be used

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTRiuFIWV54
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjkrrmBnpGE
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYynzekp3nE
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qap5aO4i9A
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPni755-Krg
  • Keep the study essentials handy so that there is a minimal distraction, and we avoid getting up again and again to get the recourses.

Study mistakes and how to avoid them

There are a few practices that we follow which are not the best way to study or get into the productive zone. Here are a few of these practices which have to be avoided at all costs to even more productive.

  • Only reading the text- Only reading text in the materials comes under passive studying, which isn’t productive at all, it’ll lead to wastage of time. So, it is necessary to practice active studying methods, which include taking notes, highlighting, underlining, and overall using the brain to its full capacity. Making study guides and linking information from various recourses is the best way to study and understand the concepts better.
  • Studying on a bed- Our brain relates bed to sleeping, so whenever we are on the bed, the brain gets the signal to sleep and hence makes us drowsier and tires and we end up falling asleep or completely losing the focus and hence breaking the productive bubble. So, the best place to study is at the desk. Also, when we study in the bed, the brain will lose the association of bed and sleep, so in most cases, one won’t be able to fall asleep when they lie down.
  • Long to-do list – Having a long to-do list with tasks piling up will eventually lead to procrastination, which we don’t want to do, so, one should cut down the list into important tasks and prioritize. Then start with a small task, this will lead to breaking down of any procrastination thought and will motivate us to go on further. It is good to believe that some progress is better than none.

Study apps and websites

Listed here are a few study apps and websites which help students be more productive and act as really useful and fun recourses.

  • Adobe Scanner– This is an app used for scanning documents. This can be used to keep notes handy when not having them in hand and keeping the material organized.
  • Google Calendar– it is a time-management and scheduling calendar service developed by Google
  • Google Docs– It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating with other users. It is really good for note-taking and summary making.
  • Quizlet– It is a flashcard app and has really smart features. It can be used for tests and quizzes. It also helps in memorization.
  • Forest- It is an app which helps to focus and stops us from being distracted on our phone.
  • https://ptable.com/#Properties – This website is really good for chemistry. On clicking on an element, it gives every information required about the same.
  • https://www.symbolab.com/ – This website solves nearly every math problem. It also shows steps performed and various methods with which the question can be solved.
  • https://www.desmos.com/ – This website helps to make graphs. The equation is typed into the bar and then the graph gets formed. It also has some premade graphs and is really useful for math students.
  • https://www.khanacademy.org/ – This website is a blessing. It has free videos on every concept, explained in a clean and precise manner. It also has practice questions and quizzes.

 

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