By Jennifer Olvera
Let’s face it: Studying is necessary, but isn’t all that fun. That’s why it’s best to do everything you can to make the most of the time you spend committing classwork to memory. Here are five ways to improve your study habits and see optimal results, whether you’re attending school online or on campus.
1. Be ready to be tested.
Ultimately, the goal of classwork, homework and studying is one in the same: to know the material - and as a result, ace the test. So whenever you’re studying, do so with the mindset that you could be tested at any time. Focus on what’s new and not yet committed to memory, and learn, learn, learn as you go. There’s nothing worse than waiting too long and having to “cram” – it’s an ineffective way to learn.
2. Get up early and reread.
Even if you think you know the topic inside and out, wake up early the morning before a test. If you’ve read, listened to or watched the materials and feel confident you understand things through and through, take time to review key concepts. Writing them down is wise, since this is a very effective way to commit information to memory.
3. Establish structure and stick to it.
Set aside specific time for studying. Then, commit to seeing it through. You may be tempted to deviate from your established routine, but don’t. By sticking with it for a month, studying at set times will seem normal, expected and automatic; skipping out will not.
4. Simplify the subject matter.
Some topics are simply harder to master than others, and that tends to make students feel overwhelmed. Try breaking the concepts down into more digestible bits, and connect them to metaphors, pictures and things in daily life in ways even a child could comprehend.
5. Seek balance.
You need to have fun, and you need your rest. Figure out a study schedule – such as weekday mornings and weeknights – that allow for down time during the weekend. That way, you’re able to recharge before the next round of demands.
Jennifer Olvera is a Chicago-based freelance writer.
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