How To Study Most Effectively
Future success begins at school. High school prepares you for college and then the working world. The first step in achieving success after high school is to figure out which learning styles work the best for you. In order to get to this step, you first need to establish good habits, namely, effective study habits. Here are a few to consider.
Studying is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’ve ever procrastinated studying for a test until the last possible moment, you know that anxiety and pressure may cause a poor outcome. Pace yourself. If you have several chapters’ worth of information to get into your head, don’t try to overload yourself and learn it all at once. Once you know the date of an exam, create a study schedule. Something like 2-3 chapters at a time, or one hour of studying a night is a good starting point.
Be sure to stick to your schedule. Include review time at the end to go over all the material at least twice. This applies to general studying as well, in that blocking out a few hours every week will help establish good studying habits when important exams and projects come around. Treat these hours just like you would an actual class, and include this study time in your weekly routine.
There is strength in numbers, and that applies to studying effectively, too. Have a friend quiz you, or work with a tutor to talk the material out. Hearing and speaking information out loud, in addition to having previously read it, can help to retain the material.
Don’t forget tools like mnemonic devices, color coding, flash cards, and audio recording. The use of a couple of these methods at a time could help break up the monotony of studying and keep your brain sharp as it ingests information. For example, using flash cards for vocabulary words and a mnemonic device for their meaning might help to separate up the study session into more manageable parts.
The best way to maintain study habits is keeping a healthy lifestyle outside of your academics. Marathon hours of studying without breaks, proper nutrition, or exercise will be less effective than if you gave yourself some time off in between sessions.
In addition to scheduling the components of a study session, include a break or two during those times as well. Take a brisk walk, drink plenty of water throughout, enjoy a music break or spend some time with a pet or a friend. Create a study/life balance so that they will both be beneficial to your academic and social life.