Ten Quick Study Tips

 

  1. Manage your time. You have a class schedule, a work schedule, maybe even a sleep schedule, so make yourself a study schedule and stick to it! Write study time on your calendar. Set a reminder on your phone. Check your syllabus and Blackboard every day to make sure you're ahead of the game.

  2. Take notes. Don't just passively listen as your instructor lectures or read the textbook without a pen close by; write notes as you encounter the information so you have something to study later. Both the act of writing and re-reading what you wrote help information solidify in your brain.

  3. Repetition is key. Moving information from short-term to long-term memory requires you to work with it over and over. You don't want to study the same way all the time, but returning to the same information again and again will improve your ability to recall information long term.

  4. Switch it up. Combat the boredom that can come from repeated studying by studying it in different ways. Use flashcards, try different mnemonic devices, talk out loud to yourself, create a review game, write the material several times, etc. Your brain will retain more because you will be engaging different parts of it instead of the same part time after time.

  5. Get enough sleep. When you sleep, your brain rests and processes the information you learned throughout the day. Forgoing sleep works against your brain's natural process of solidifying memory. Being tired also makes recall more difficult.

  6. Don't cram. While cramming might help you for a short quiz, that information will not stick long term. You will likely need that info again for a project, paper, and/or the final exam--not to mention somewhere down the line in your career and/or personal life. Studying over an extended period is the only way to remember information for the long term.

  7. Get rid of distractions. TV, phone, gaming console, kids, dirty kitchen, whatever is getting in the way of your concentrating, put it away or move away from it for an hour. Consider going to a coffee shop, local library, or even under a tree at the local park. Focused studying is productive studying.

  8. Take frequent short breaks. During long study sessions, people tend to remember the first and last things they covered. Taking breaks creates more firsts and lasts, tricking your brain into remembering more. Try studying for 20-30 minutes, then take a 5-minute break where you completely disengage your brain before you return to studying.

  9. Make a study group. Don't wait to be asked to join a study group; ask some people after the first class or two to make one. Meet regularly, whether there is a test coming up or not. Quiz each other, share notes, and take turns teaching the material. If you can explain it to someone else, you probably know it well enough to perform well on any type of test.

  10. Reward yourself. After completing something like a chapter or homework assignment, reward yourself with a few minutes playing your favorite game or watching a show you like. After finishing major projects and exams or passing difficult courses, give yourself a night out or plan a fun trip with a loved one.