Whether you are in the first grade or working on your Master’s degree, good study habits are important. According to the University of Saskatchewan, developing good study skills early can translate into success in life. How? By improving your ability to learn and retain information, by boosting your self-esteem and confidence, and by providing more time to pursue other interests thereby making you a more well-rounded person.
8 Tips for Studying Better
1. Makes lists and keep a calendar.
When things are floating around in your head, they can become overwhelming. In your head, it may seem like everything is due all the time. When your “to-do” list is written down, or even better, recorded on a calendar, you can see what is fast approaching, and direct your attention there, and what can be put on the back burner for a bit.
2. Have a dedicated space.
You don’t cook in your bathroom, and you don’t watch TV in your dining room. Why would you study at the kitchen table? When possible, set up a study area – ideally one that is quiet, well-lit, and comfortable. Let people know when it’s study time so you can minimize interruptions and distractions.
3. Break it down.
The brain remembers information in small amounts better than in large chunks. For example…trying to remember the number sequence 498749987 would be difficult but remembering it in smaller pieces is much easier. Try it: 498…749…and 987. Easier…right?
4. Learn…don’t memorize.
This one applies to content where you will be required to explain your understanding of the information, like in a social studies class or a philosophy course. When you need to remember specific facts, like a French vocabulary list or the periodic table in chemistry, then memorizing is the way to go.
5. Rewrite your notes…a lot.
It’s one thing to read your notes – that engages part of your brain, but when you actively rewrite, organize, and paraphrase your notes, you engage with the information on multiple levels, and that can increase understanding and retention.
6. Let the student become the teacher.
There’s one way to make sure you are in command of the information you need to know…teach it to someone who has no knowledge of the subject. It will quickly become apparent where you have gaps in your understanding and where you really know your stuff!
7. Do a practice quiz.
Enlist family or friends to ask you questions about what you are learning so you can get a better understanding of what you know and where you still need to focus.
8. Take breaks.
This one is so important. Your brain can only absorb so much information at a time. In fact, “research shows that working for around 50 minutes, then giving yourself a 15- to 20-minute break, can lead to optimum productivity1”. Use your break time wisely to enjoy a nourishing snack, take a walk outside, call a friend or do a little meditation session.
Remember, developing good study skills will not only help you in school, but it will also help set you up for success throughout your life.
- Just for fun!