Studying is vital for academic success and everyone has a different way to do it. There’s no right or wrong way to study, but there are ways you can make the most of your study sessions. Set yourself up for success by asking the following questions:
- Where do I study best? The location of your study session can make you more or less productive. If you work best in complete silence, find an isolated place in your home like a bedroom or a basement to allow yourself to focus.
- Who should I study with? Some study best if they’re by themselves, but others may prefer to study in a group. If this sounds like you, schedule study dates with classmates, whether virtual or in-person, to hold you accountable for studying.
- When do I study best? Are you more of an early bird or a night owl? You aren’t doing yourself any favors trying to cram for an exam the night before if you’re more of a morning person or waking up super early if you prefer to stay up late. Play to your strengths when you feel your productivity is at its peak.
Once you’re settled into your ideal study space at the right time and with, or without, the right people, keep these seven tips in mind to help you remain productive during your study session:
1. Address your needs
Before you start studying, make sure you have everything you need nearby – textbooks, your laptop, charger, notebooks, writing utensils, and more. If you know you will be studying for a while, put aside some snacks and water so you don’t get hungry or dehydrated. When you have everything you need before you start, it’s less likely you’ll interrupt your study session later.
2. Tackle your hardest subjects first
Start with your toughest assignments and projects so that when you feel tired later, you don’t have to tackle a difficult task. If you start on harder subjects first, you can always take a break or come back to it later. Getting the difficult studying done first can be a mental boost to motivate you through the rest of your study session.
3. Break up your studying
If you choose to do all your studying at once, you could quickly burn yourself out. There’s nothing wrong with a four-hour study session, but breaking up your studying into distributed time slots with intermittent breaks can allow you to get more done and help you stay focused.
4. Use rewards
Studying can be its own reward, but sometimes that isn’t enough motivation. Try setting an attainable goal with a reward for accomplishing it, like treating yourself to an episode of your favorite TV show if you get through 30 straight minutes of studying.
5. Block out social media
Distractions can be your worst enemy. It’s easy to fall into the rabbit hole of social media and accidentally scroll for hours without realizing how much time has passed. Consider silencing your phone and/or putting your phone out of reach during your study session. Social media can be a part of your rewards system or your 15-minute break, but it’s best to avoid it while studying to remain productive.
6. Avoid multitasking
While it’s a good idea to take a break and switch subjects when you are getting frustrated, don’t work on two subjects at once. You may end up mixing materials and distracting yourself even more. Instead, dedicate yourself to one subject at a time.
Not all distractions are bad – sometimes you need a mental break. However, it’s important to prioritize your education and realize there are some things you must postpone or give up to study.