Improve Your Study Habits

Studying is a skill

Good study habits are some of the hardest skills to come by. Despite that one kid in homeroom who treated the hallways like a track meet and maintained a 4.0 GPA, you’d be surprised to know that academic prowess isn’t as inherent as you think.

Studying can be improved upon with easy and gradual changes to your every day academic and work routine. I’ll share with you a few ways to make the most out of your study sessions.

Change your environment

It’s quite common to imagine some cross-bred specie of library and bedroom when thinking of the ideal place to study. You want the relative peace of the library’s academic atmosphere, and the comfortability of your safe space. Although it seems perfect in theory, it doesn’t work that way in practice. While the library setting can be stiff, uncomfortable, and unsuited to your postural needs, bedroom study sessions can be far too comfortable and way too distracting. So how do we find that perfect medium between the two?

Clean up! No matter where you choose to study, keeping a clean environment will be a key factor in your productivity. In fact, studies link cleanliness to better study habits. And to top it off, it promotes a regimen that will make sure health issues like viral infections and allergens don’t stand in the way of your progress. The educational, mental health and psychology site Verywellmind explores The Relationship Between Mental Health and Cleaning. They suggest that an untidy room may cause adverse mental health issues.

Maximize your proximity. Sorry to tell you, cleaning isn’t the only manual labor you’ll have to do today. Now that we have a blank space to work with, the next step involves how we use that space. This is important. You don’t want to study too close to your bed, but you also don’t want to study too far from an open window. But why?NBC claims Where you sit or stand at work can boost your productivity. While it isn’t ideal to study in your bedroom, it may be a limited choice for you. No worries. Facing away from your bed, preferably toward an open window, can reverse the drowsy atmosphere of your room.

Eliminate all distractions

Lock your cellphone. People often point out noise as a major distraction while studying. But headphones are a common sight in any public library. It may not be your cup of tea, but many people enjoy listening to music as they study. Listening to music might not stop your momentum, but other cellphone applications will. According to techjury, “Most mobile phone users check their phones up to 63 times daily“. And Americans spend nearly half of the waking day browsing social media.Will power is sometimes easier said than done, and quitting cold turkey can be an oh so necessary evil. There’re several apps (yes I understand the irony) that combat social media usage. Techwiser suggests several apps for both Android and iOS. The functions of these apps can securely lock social media apps on your cellphone for the intended time of study.

Know your needs

What kind of learner are you? How you take in information is a key part of enhancing your study skills. Whether it’s auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learning, the learning style suited to you should impact your study habits. It goes without saying that these styles can be hybrid as well. Some learners may need a mix of both kinesthetic and visual learning resources to fully maximize their study session. What’s Your Learning Style is a quick test on EDUCATIONPLANNER that can help identify what learner you are, and what resources will offer you the best study experience.

What resources could you use? It all depends. An auditory learner may want to invest in an audio book subscription, while a visual learner may have to hunt down a PPT or PDF for visuals. A kinesthetic learner may need flashcards, board games, or hand games.Audible and Scribd are two of the most massive platforms for audio books. If you’re more focused on lesson comprehension, a quick search on YouTube, will offer lecture based resources that include added visuals and prompts. Like YouTube, Slideshare offers visuals such as graphs and charts. But, Slideshare has a more academic atmosphere and prefers written content over auditory.

Keep a tight schedule?

The time you dedicate to studying solely depends on you. While no one can force responsibility on you, I can offer you some suggestions that have worked for me in academia and the workplace.

  1. Divide your time between work, school, and other major time-consuming responsibilities. Definitely take in to account your personal time. Adequate breaks are needed to give your brain the opportunity to rest after an overload of information. Also, clock out. Work is finished at the end of the work day. Being dedicated is honorable, but it can take away from time meant for other meaningful activities.
  2. Create boundaries in your social life. Although often unintentional, events with friends and family may pull you away from studying. The people most close to you should be informed of the times you aren’t available. You can create codes of importance (i.e call if emergency/text if not). Whatever you decide to do, the boundaries you set up should be respected.
  3. Don’t force yourself. Studying should occur when you are at your mental and emotional peak. Nothing is worse than wasting an hour of your time and not retaining anything for it.
  4. Make it applicable. This may not be the perfect analogy, but I find this easier than explaining what this means. On top of my refrigerator is a jar of rolled up bills. The freezer door has a magnetic dry erase board placed neatly in the middle. The board records my savings goal, and the hourly rate of studying I should pay to the jar upon completion. This is easily the best way that I’ve saved money and dedicated my time to studying. Everyone makes a trip to the refrigerator at least twice a day, and that constant reminder on its door is far better than any alert or app I’ve used on my cellphone. Give it a try!

Improving your study habits takes major or sometimes minor changes in your daily routine. There isn’t one way that works for everyone. A great routine should be tailored to you and only you. By researching and trying out different methods, you are already one step closer to becoming a study master.

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