A Guide to Studying

Studying is an exercise that most of us will face multiple times in our life, especially at college and university. A lot of the time, you can feel great pressure when you come to study because you know you have an exam awaiting you at the finish line. Studying may sometimes seem like a gruelling task, but the better you get to know yourself, the more enjoyable you can make your study sessions. Benjamin Franklin said “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” and by getting into a great study habit, you should never fall in to the latter.

Getting to Know Yourself

Like anything, practice makes perfect, and the same applies to studying. Set yourself time, well in advance of assignments/exams, to allow yourself to establish what works well for you.

Things you may want to think about;

  • Do you like your notes to be black and white, structured and printed out? or do you work better with coloured annotations, diagrams and pictures? You may even prefer working directly from slideshows.
  • Does music work well in helping you channel into your studying? or do you work better in silence?
  • Monitor your concentration times. Some people may prefer to sit down for a few hours straight to study and others will take blocked breaks every 45 minutes. Try different patterns to see which one makes you the most proactive in study time.
  • Finding the right environment is essential. If you feel to distracted in your bedroom (not uncommon in halls with neighbouring friends) then try working in a more formal setting, like the kitchen table or the library. Make sure wherever you chose to study as good lighting and supportive seating – you do not want to be put off by sore eyes or a stiff back.

Getting Down To It

Preparation

  • Make sure you have all the relevant tools you will need to study. This may include pens, highlighters, rulers, relevant Moodle slideshows or internet links. By having these at the ready, it will cause minimal disruption to your focus when you start studying.
  • Set goals for each section of your study session. For example; within the hour you have allocated to Economics, you aim to have worked through half of a past paper.
  • Establish a motivation. By giving yourself a reward at the of your revision period, it is most likely that you will work harder within your set time. Your reward may be to watch Great British Bake Off at 8pm, play on the Xbox, or even just a cheeky chocolate bar – whatever works for you.

Outputs

  • Some study sessions may just be to refresh what you have learned. It is often useful to allocate time to organising your notes/study materials. Read through and organise your information into relative categories, which will make them easier to navigate through in the future.
  • By the end of your study sessions you should hopefully feel less stressed. Either because you feel like you are making targeted progress, feel ready for your test/exam or have even just managed to identify key areas which you need to focus on in your future sessions.

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