Studying doesn’t need to be as boring as you might think about a mission. Moving into the right behaviors will make all the difference between a stressful task and an enjoyable and beneficial resource for success. Whether you’re attending classes online or at a traditional school, any student can stop cramming for testing and pulling all-night research tips by following these study tips:

1. Have a Designated Study Space

When you are at home, staying focused is sometimes easier said than done. Distractions can challenge your focus, especially if you’re in a setting with a lot of noise— like a TV or people who aren’t studying too.

Find somewhere you’re at ease and free from disturbance. Some choices might be:

  • Library
  • Coffee Shop
  • Park
  • Your Backyard

You could even create a nook area that is exclusively for studying in your bedroom— just make sure all potential distractions are out of sight and out of mind. Often, avoiding lying on a bed or sofa will be beneficial. By sitting straight up in your seat, you’ll concentrate better.

2. Put the Phone Away

Random dings, buzzes, and cell phone tweets can disrupt your attention, particularly since they are hard to ignore. Make sure your cell phone is off, on “do not interrupt” or in another room so you can focus entirely on your materials for research.

3. Fuel Your Mind

If your stomach is not empty you’ll be more alert and motivated! Make sure you eat a good meal before digging into the books or snacks while you’re studying so you can stop tummy grumbling, headaches and a lack of focus that hunger can cause. Also do not forget to drink plenty of water so that you remain hydrated and alert.

4. Stay Organized

Keeping track of your study sessions time and completion of the lessons will help you stay on top of your courses. You can use the software on your computer or phone— such as iCalendar or Wunderlist— or pick up a planner that can be personalized to include your to-do lists and coursework. Creating lists every day will help you put together a plan and stick to it!

5. Take Handwritten Notes

It might not be enough to just read chapters in a textbook to help you maintain the skills you need to ace a test. Jotting down notes such as important facts, numbers, and key takeaways can help you remember even more information that you have just read.

There are plenty of studies that illustrate the benefits of taking handwritten notes, including one from the Psychological Science Association that shows handwritten notetaking can enhance comprehension over the longer term.

In the article, Notes on Note-Taking: Review of Research and Insights for Students and Instructors from Harvard, Michael C. Friedman explains,

“The act of note-taking also assists the learner in generating and semantically processing information (essentially, helps the learner think about course content in such a way to better understand it upon later review), in addition to facilitating and strengthening the internal connections between ideas.”

6. Turn Your Notes into Flashcards

Flashcards will help you to remember words or concepts from scratch. They’re also a good self-study method because they encourage you to check yourself, which means you don’t have to rely on someone else to challenge you.

Even flashcards are useful to help you gage your progress. If there are certain cards that you quickly breeze through, you will be able to set those aside and focus more on the cards with which you have a harder time.

7. Split Up Your Work

Don’t overwhelm yourself! The division of your study materials into more manageable pieces will make the whole task easier for you to learn. You should try to avoid an extended period of time concentrating on one topic. It can help if you substitute materials for the course.

Don’t forget to always take breaks. Go for a stroll, grab a snack or just enjoy a bit of the fresh air. This “mental rest” after all that training will give your brain a much-needed break.

8. Review Consistently

Set aside time to review your notes–whether daily or weekly. The daily check-in subjects, of course, while they are still fresh in your mind, works like a mini-study session that will motivate you to take a test or hand in an assignment when it comes time.

You will also be able to identify areas during your analysis where you may need further support. In this instance, it is critical that you are diligent in contacting your instructor. We will be in a position to provide additional resources and guidance to help you master the subject.

9. Quiz Yourself

Testing yourself to see how well you know the content will help you find the weak spots so that you can strengthen those areas sooner. You can do this by asking your instructor to take practice tests, or by making your own! Some textbooks will include sample testing on the back of the book as well.

10. Identify How You Learn Best

Many students learn best by making flashcards; other students have an easier time learning by constantly re-writing their notes. If you find the best technique for learning that is right for you, make sure you stick to it.

The methods you choose for setting and learning are entirely up to you! Just find somewhere that lets you get in the right flow to meet your study goals and you’re going to be on the right track to excel in your classes.

Remember: If there’s stuff you don’t understand, no matter how much you’re learning, ask your professor for further help. They want to see you excel!

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