Effective Studying

We’ve all experienced that moment when we were overwhelmed by studying. Some people just don’t understand the class- how can you study something that you don’t understand? Some people just find it hard to sit still for long periods of time. Regardless of the case, this article is meant for everyone who wishes to enhance their studying skills.

It’s not the quantity, but the quality of the study session. It doesn’t matter how long you sit in front of your book, all that matters is what you get out of it.

  1. Study in 1 hour intervals– The brain focuses for 50-60 minutes, after the first hour, you don’t absorb as much information. After studying for 60 minutes, take a 10-20 minute break. Your brain will thank you and it will feel refreshed and ready to get right back to work.
  2. Choose a quiet place- Choose a place where you will be able to focus uninterrupted. Your bedroom is probably not such a good idea for studying. You can never go wrong in the school/public library.
  3. Choose a time- Some people are morning people. Some prefer to study in the afternoon or in the evening. Figure out which time of the day you prefer to study and the time that you are the most alert.
  4. Write quality notes- Once you leave the classroom, your notes are your best friends and one of the only sources that you have to study. For that reason, it is essential to write good notes. Make sure that they are neat and easy to follow and understand. If you don’t understand something, ask your teacher. They will be more than happy to help and they enjoy it when students show an interest and that they were paying attention to the lesson. Pareto’s Principle of 80/20 states that 80% of the results stems from 20% of the input, material, and effort.
  5. Be relaxed- It’s impossible to study if you can’t completely focus. No matter where you’re studying, it is important to feel relaxed while doing it. Listen to music, have a snack, lie down with a pillow and a blanket (maybe even a bean bag chair). I’ve found it much easier to study and take tests when I have music playing. It really calms me, and it’s hard for me to focus without a nutritious snack.
  6. Get a good night’s sleep– The brain stores information while you’re asleep. A good night’s sleep (6-8 hours) is essential to your health. You should also have a regular sleeping pattern. If you must pull an all nighter, never do it two nights in a row.
  7. Have fun!- After studying, repeat it. Don’t just repeat everything that you study, but study it backwards too so that you will actually know the information, instead of memorizing. Repeat. After memorizing information, if you don’t review again, within 24 hours you will only retain about 35% of the information. 24 hours later you will only retain about 10% of the information.

We remember:

  • 10% of what we hear
  • 15% of what we read
  • 20% of what we see and hear
  • 40% of what we discuss
  • 80% of what we experience and practice
  • 90% of what we attempt to teach

Studying doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. If you feel that you need to take a break, there’s nothing wrong with that. Come up with a study schedule and stick to it. Remember that cramming is never good and you should always begin studying at least 4 days before the test. Studies show that even reviewing your notes for just 30 minutes a day can get you an A. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

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About Sierra

I'm an accounting major at Texas State University with a passion for all things international. I'm going to learn Russian, Portuguese, Italian, and possibly German one day. I've been speaking Spanish for 8 years and my dream is to one day travel across Latin America. DREAM Act 2015!

Posted on January 23, 2012, in School/College and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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