Learning to study efficiently is a key skill for students. Longer hours of studying do not necessarily mean you will yield better results. Regardless of the course and age of the student, effective time management is key in successful studying. This article will help you establish good study habits and at the same time, learn how to break down huge chunks of study topics so that you will not get overwhelmed with what you need to study. The important aspect is that you should establish milestones that you must overcome or achieve so that there is a sense of accomplishment while you are studying. The sense of accomplishment will motivate you even further to finish whatever it is you need to finish.
What you will need:
Some quiet time
Paper and pen
Music (if you are more comfortable studying with music)
Snacks (your body needs the energy)
- Assessing what you need to study. When you first know of a test or just want to stay ahead of the class, find the outline of the course that you need to study for and try to break that up into sensible chunks. Most people are scared of studying just because they think that it will take up their whole day but if you estimate how much time is needed per topic, you can plan them accordingly. You can also start prioritizing which topics need to be studied first and which ones would need more time. If you follow this plan, then this means you will be studying the more important ones first, leaving the less important topics last (just in case something comes up and you need to postpone/cancel your study session). This is similar to the Agile project management strategy, which is also applicable when you need to breakdown a series of tasks.
- Picking out your study place. You need to find a study place – this can be just inside your room, an area in your home or a coffee shop nearby. The important thing is that you are comfortable (but not so comfortable that you will fall asleep), you have access to your study essentials and can stay in that place undisturbed for several hours. Some people find it easier to concentrate when they are facing a window so that the movement of the people in the same room does not distract them. Some are also more at ease when they are listening to music, which blocks out other noises that can distract them. Whatever environment you think would work best for you should be present in your study area.
- Drawing up your study plan. When you have assessed how much time is needed for studying, draw up a study plan that details the topics that you need to cover, along with a schedule or an assigned duration per topic. Make sure you follow this schedule as much as you can since spending more time on a topic will mean cutting into your study time for the others. Eliminate distractions such as instant messengers, access to the Internet (which might make you just check your social networking accounts) and TV shows.
When you are done with the schedule, make sure that you do this in regular intervals, especially if you are preparing for a big exam so that it will become a routine.