Monday, 10 August 2015

9 tips to make studying easier and more efficient

Our Summer intern Julia Marie Lohmann, who is currently in her 2nd year of a business psychology degree, shares her tips for successful study

1. Prepare for your exam phase as soon as you can

I am a person who learns much better when I write down all the information I need to learn for the exam. Studies shown writing down everything helps. People remember facts better.

After my first semester with 16 horrible exams at the end, I promised myself that I would start to summarise the scripts earlier.

My tip for you is to sum up everything during your lectures or lessons. Start by summarising each page of the script and note the extra tips that your tutor gives you.

2. Use the SMART approach

You should use the SMART approach which is usually used in Project management, but it will help you a lot with defining and reaching your goals! Take 5 minutes to write down your goals, according to this format.

S specific
M measurable
A achievable
R results driven
T time-bound

The SMART goals are defined as follows:

The "S" stands for specific, clear and easy defined goals. For example- You will study harder for say four hours each day. Measurable (,,M”) means you can measure your success or not- for example, make a timetable for studying and see if you can stick to it – Plot out when your exams take place, how many, what you need to study, when is your last lecture, how many time do you need to study each subject… etc.

"A" means setting yourself achievable goals. Don’t pressure yourself with unrealistic goals, like getting an 1+ / A / 100% when you just have 3 days left to study and you haven’t started yet. You should try to be realistic and try to go step by step, if you wrote a 4 / D / 50% your achievable goal should be studying for a 3 / C / 60-75% or even a 2 / B / 80%.

You should ALWAYS be "R"esults driven! Try to focus on the result and how happy you would be with good marks and remind yourself that the work is worth it.

Last but not least "T"ime-bound helps you to calculate enough time for studying. Time management is the most important thing to do. You should make a planner or write down the structure of your day to find out if there is time to have dinner with your friends in the evening or if you’d rather stay home and study.

3. Stop snoozing!!!

We all know the struggle!

In the evening we are highly motivated to stay up early and study hard. But then the next morning comes, the alarm clock goes on at 8.30am on a Saturday and we lay in bed and are just thinking: "I am too tired; I can’t study when I’m that tired! Just 10 more minutes".

Then you hit the snooze button on your phone 3 times because you are thinking the same every ten minutes.


4. To all the Kings and Queens of distraction

I’m pretty sure a lot of you have the same problem as me, when I am ready with everything and should finally be ready to start studying, my thoughts start drifting away.

I am the Queen of distracting myself, I start recognising that I could vacuum my apartment, wash the laundry, clean the bathroom and I always wanted to rearrange my living room! During study phase and exams my apartment is so clean you literally could eat from the floor. After cleaning and moving things I get hungry and start cooking (avoiding studying went very well so far :D) But last but not least I have to do it anyway, that is what you should remind yourself of.

For all of a sudden cleaning becomes hobby number 1.

My tip, do the cleaning in the evening when you are done with studying or get up early and do it before you start, or have a cleaning pause if studying is giving you a headache. You should always keep in mind that your or your parents are paying for this opportunity to get a better job.

5. Options to learn

Over the years I have tried a lot of learning possibilities…

(a) My favourite variant is to summarise everything on D4 pages and highlight the most important parts with coloured pencils. It is easier to learn and to memorise *and it looks prettier*.

(b) Flashcards are a good option to learn, you can take them with you. Write down the question on the front and the answer on the back, first you learn better because you’ve written it down by yourself and for most people it’s more fun with cards.

(c) You also can record yourself with your phone as a memo; you read out loud the summarised pages which you collected during the lectures. The benefit is: You can listen to it wherever you are. The problem: It also can put you to sleep wherever you are. But maybe some of you like the idea, because this always works with lyrics of songs. I remember more lyrics from random songs than what I studied 10 minutes ago.

6. Set Milestones

When you have structured everything and you’ve got all the information you need to start the actual learning process, you should set milestones. You should set small goals and don’t put yourself under pressure so you are motivated again when you reach your first goal.

You also have to set priorities; friends, parties and your hobbies are no longer the first priority. Set a date when you want and need to finish the first subject and another date when you need to be half way through, it is important to have a good overview so you don’t get stressed.

7. Use check marks

I always use them, as soon as you get a task done put a huge check mark beside it or even cross it out! In red, orange, yellow, live it up. It’s a psychological effect and you get the feeling ‘Hey, I made it, I won, let’s continue, I’ll get the next task done just as easy!’ I find it strangely satisfying to cross things out.

8. Share your progress

Share your progress with your family and friends. If you get the chance to explain certain topics to them, use the opportunity. You will internalize much better if you explain your topic. It also helps if you share your progress with your classmates; you can discuss certain topics and can go more into depth.

Personally, when I tell my patents they are always proud which motivates me even more to be productive.

9. Reward yourself

One thing you always should do is reward yourself after a good learning session. Go out and meet some friends, cook something nice or go shopping. The very healthy ones can treat themselves with session at the gym. Rewarding yourself helps you to relax and to find new motivation.

Julia Marie Lohmann

1 comment:

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