Effective Ways to Study
There are various ways to approach studying, whether you enjoy it or not. It can be an overwhelming task sometimes, especially when you have a lot of material to study for an upcoming exam. It often seems like the information you read is not actually being retained in your brain, but it is important to remember that it is. You may not feel like you remember the countless pieces of information you are absorbing every day during your study period. Studying allows your brain to soak up the knowledge and information that you are learning, no matter how you choose to do it. There are ways to improve the effectiveness of your study period, though, and there are a plethora of ways to make it a much more enjoyable time period for you.
Writing Notes Can Be Fun
You probably already know that writing notes while studying is the go-to method for ensuring you retain the information you are digesting. While it is an extremely effective method, there are much better ways to utilize it. It is important to remember that only reading your study material will not get you very far. Reading the same pieces of information repeatedly may seem like it will eventually stick in your brain, but for most people, it won't. You can even make the act of writing notes fun by buying highlighters in your favorite colors and treating yourself to a new notebook and some pens. Studying may seem like a chore sometimes, but there are ways to make it fun.
Invest in Highlighters
For some people, simply writing out the information in their own way can be helpful. Using their highlighters to highlight key pieces of information that they need to remember and utilize the space on the paper to write down every little thing. The important thing to note here is that you don't need to write every piece of information. Break your study material down into bitesize pieces that you can digest effectively. Copying down a huge paragraph of words will not be helpful when you want to quickly re-read your notes on the go. By allowing your brain to work through a large section and picking out the key pieces of information, you are absorbing every word and sentence. You are finding ways to reword or summarize the paragraphs that you are reading, which means your brain understands exactly what you are reading at that time. It is crucial to note that some pieces of study material may sometimes require a large number of notes and can't always be broken down into more digestible sentences, though.
A popular form of studying is creating spider diagrams or mind maps. These are handy little diagrams where you can link pieces of information with arrows and highlight them with your favorite colors. Spider diagrams, mind maps, and other forms of diagrams can allow you to express your creativity while you learn. For example, if you are studying for a master's in nursing in one of the RN to NP programs that are available, you could break down your subject area into topics and then branch out what you have already learned. This can be a huge mood boost to students and even make the task much more enjoyable. Creating a spider diagram is also a fantastic way to test yourself too. By selecting a word or piece of information, you can then write it down in the middle of the paper and then think through any other pieces of information that may connect to it.
This study activity is popular amongst students, and many teachers recommend it throughout high school and even college. They are great little diagrams that can make breaking down a topic even easier and can help students understand it that little bit more.
Select a Study Space
Before you even sit down to start studying, you need to choose an effective place to study. Many students prefer to study on campus or in a library, as sitting in an educational environment can be a boost to their motivation, especially if there are fellow students there too. The majority of students opt for studying at home, though, as this is their safe space, and they can get as comfortable and relaxed as they need to be. Choosing to study at home is great, but you need to select an area of your home where you will be able to stay focused with no distractions. Depending on if you live alone or not, your bedroom will most likely be the place where you get the most privacy. Whether you have got a desk in your bedroom or you opt to sit in bed while you study, your bedroom is your sanctuary. Make sure you have plenty of room to gather your notes and keep them organized at the same time. If you have got a desk in your room, utilize it to the best of your abilities, as having your own desk is perfect to get you in the mindset of working hard.
If you share a room with someone, this may make studying a little more difficult, but it is still entirely doable. Just let your roommate know that you do not want to be distracted and would appreciate some peace and quiet while you study.
When planning for your study periods, you need to make sure you are getting the best night's sleep that you can get. This means going to bed at a reasonable time, depending on when you are getting up. Ideally, it would be best if you got up early in the morning to get prepared and use the whole day to your advantage. If you are tired and have low energy while studying, you will most likely struggle to retain any information, and none of it will sink in properly. The last thing you will want to do when you are exhausted is study. Studying can be heavy work at times and can be tiring, so you will need as much energy as possible. Feeling energized and refreshed after a great night's sleep is also key to staying motivated when working and studying.
Put Some Music On
Many people choose to listen to music when they are working and studying. People listen to music on their daily commute to work or even when cooking dinner, so why not listen to music when studying? Listening to music can elevate people's moods and can even help some people improve their focus. With your headphones on, every noise in the outside world is silent, and all you can hear is your music. This helps a lot of students get into the zone of working, and music can be a fantastic form of background noise. For some students though, music can be an even bigger distraction. This could be mainly due to the fact that they are listening to their favorite music and are paying attention to that more than their study material. Many people have started to listen to more relaxing music when trying to stay focused on work, such as lo-fi playlists. These playlists are incredibly popular amongst students who are trying to work hard and study for an up and coming important exam.
Having relaxing music in the background means you won't be distracted by the lyrics of your favorite songs, but you still have a form of background noise to focus on during your studying period. The tempo of lo-fi music helps to keep you relaxed while maintaining your focus on your work. It is also recommended that you make your own study playlist with specially selected songs that you know will help keep you on track while studying. It is also recommended that you should keep your music's volume as low as possible to prevent any headaches or breaks of focus. Having your music too loud while trying to study can do more harm than good and make it hard for your brain to focus on the words you are reading. This is especially the case if you are listening to music with lyrics, as your brain will try to focus on the words in the music more than the words that are in front of you on your notes and screen.
Zero Distractions Are a Must
While studying, you need to make sure you have little to no distractions around you. The main perpetrator of distractions in modern society is, in fact, your cell phone. Every time you hear a notification sound or your phone buzz, it breaks your focus on whatever you are doing at that time. The inherent temptation to pick up your phone to check your notification may seem like it is harmless and just a quick break from reading, but it can be detrimental to your workflow overall. Once you check that notification, you could end up in a long conversation with a friend, or you will be tempted to have a quick scroll through your social media feeds. Once you get into the perfect flow of studying, breaking out of it means it can be hard to get back into it. The best solution to this is to put your phone in another room, on the other side of your studying room, or turn it off completely. If you don't want to turn it off, make sure you keep the notification sounds on silent and only check your phone during your dedicated break times.
Making sure you are fueling your body with nutrients is also extremely important for studying. Having snacks nearby or in the house to keep you and your mind energized is key. When your body starts to get hungry and your blood sugar drops, you can lose clarity and focus. Stocking up on healthy snacks can be a great way to boost your focus and keep your brain active. Feeling lethargic can be a common symptom of hunger, and it is important to pay attention to your body when it is letting you know that you need something to eat.
Remember to Take Breaks
It is vital that you allow yourself to take breaks when you are studying for long periods. When you have an up-and-coming exam, you may feel the pressure to be cramming in as much learning as possible. This is certainly not effective and will increase the chances of you feeling burnt out very quickly. It is recommended that you start studying as soon as possible; that way, you can fit in bursts of studying every day rather than trying to cram it all in at once over a couple of days. Making study notes in advance means you will have a ton of study material to re-read and look over in the weeks leading up to your exams.
Try Out Testing Yourself
As mentioned before, mind maps can be excellent when it comes to testing yourself. You could even ask your family or friends to read out some questions to test your knowledge of your chosen subject. It is entirely possible to test yourself; you can create questions and then try to answer them to the best of your abilities without looking at or opening any study material. This activity will help you identify the topics and sections that you should be focusing on the most and give you a sense of progress for the questions you did answer correctly.
Keep It Interesting
Try your best to shake up your study activities now and again. Instead of solely reading a book and making notes, try out other things too. Check out some videos about your chosen subject or use your creative skills to create interesting-looking diagrams. Fact cards are also a popular choice for students as they allow bitesize pieces of information to be written on small cards. If you are a creative individual, you are bound to enjoy making your studying period a lot more fun by expressing yourself while you learn. Doing the same thing over and over again will eventually get stale, so remember to try out the different studying techniques and see which one works best for you.
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