Many people find studying to be an unpleasant, grueling experience. Because of this, some people choose to avoid their studies, leading to unnecessary stress later on when they ultimately fall behind on their lessons. So then, how can you make studying feel less grueling, so the simple idea of cracking a book or writing notes no longer fills you with dread? It's easy. Train yourself to learn more efficiently and creatively. Studying more efficiently speeds up the learning process, helping you avoid the negative feelings associated with inefficient study sessions. Learning to incorporate more creativity into your study sessions through the use of different study methods and materials may - ahem - even make studying more fun and interesting! Or at least more tolerable. C'mon, work with me here...
Following are a number of strategies and ideas to hack your future study sessions so you can learn more efficiently and creatively. Consider this post to be your complete guide to getting the most out of your study sessions. Feel free to bookmark it, come back to it from time to time, and share this information with others.
Getting serious about studying: Three tips for having more efficient study sessions
When you have a lot of studying to do, it is vitally important to work efficiently. Otherwise, you might not have much to show for your efforts - even after an hours-long study session. That said, if you're ready to get serious about your studies so you can truly tackle the topic at hand, try implementing the following three study tips.
1. Find a suitable study environment.
It's hard to stay focused on your studies when you're in the wrong environment. That's why, if you need absolute silence to study efficiently, you should look for the quietest available space to hold your study session. On the other hand, if you find silence itself distracting - and some people certainly do - seek out a study location with enough background noise to keep you focused. Perhaps you need the TV or music going quietly in the background, or maybe you enjoy studying at your local coffee shop.
2. Get rid of distractions.
Distractions are nearly guaranteed to break your focus. To help maintain focus on your studies, mute your cell phone and stop checking your social media accounts. Save such distractions for after your study sessions or during your scheduled (and timed!) breaks. We'll get to the subject of breaks a little later on.
3. Only multitask when necessary.
You can accomplish quite a bit when you focus all your attention on a single subject. While tackling many subjects at once may seem more productive, the constant switching between topics can actually slow you down in the long run. Try keeping each study session focused on a single subject so you can make more substantial progress on it.
If you want to have more efficient study sessions, it's time to get serious about your studies. So, when you're ready to get serious, find yourself a suitable study environment, get rid of any distractions, and only multitask when absolutely necessary. By following these three tips, you'll increase your productivity levels by having more efficient study sessions.
Retain more of what you're studying by rewriting your notes
There are countless reasons why rewriting your notes helps you retain more of what you're studying - especially if you rewrite your notes by hand. After all, a thorough rewrite lets you revisit topics you may have forgotten, refreshing the details in your mind. Here are four tips to help you retain more of what you're studying while rewriting your notes.
1. Grab a pen and rewrite your notes by hand - and avoid word-for-word rewrites.
Though technology can be a helpful study tool, many people learn more efficiently when transcribing their notes by hand. There's just something about personally writing your notes by hand that helps commit the information to memory faster than typing notes on a computer or laptop. Additionally, it's unlikely that you'll remember much after mindlessly copying words from one sheet to another. So, to retain more of what you're studying, rewrite your notes to express the same concepts with different words. This exercise will force you to think critically about the content, making it more likely you'll remember the details long-term. If you can only squeeze in a short study session, then quickly review the topic in question and rewrite the most critical points from the lesson by hand. Remember, the faster you can memorize your notes, the more efficient your study sessions will become.
2. Expand upon or correct passages as needed.
It's easy to miss essential information when taking real-time notes during a quickly-paced lecture. Take a moment during the rewriting process to consult related books and handouts so you can expand upon your previously constructed notes. Also, correct any passages if you find that you've accidentally copied down incorrect information.
3. Summarize the content.
End each portion of your rewritten notes with a concise summary of the topic. In doing so, you'll both review the lesson and create a handy overview of the subject matter containing the lesson's most vital details. The summarized text may also prove helpful during last-minute cram sessions when you're unable to review your notes in full.
4. Read through your rewritten notes.
After rewriting your notes, spend some time reading over what you've just written. Better yet, read the pages aloud so you can both see and hear the details covered during your study session. By reading your newly-created notes, you'll better connect with the material, allowing more information to stick in your memory.
It's a well-known fact that using a range of study methods generally leads to the best results. That's why, if you're looking to hold a successful study session, you should always schedule some time for rewriting your notes. By incorporating this additional method into your study routine, you'll be more likely to retain what you're studying, giving you a leg up on your next test or exam.
Additional memorization strategies when it comes to utilizing your notes
There are many ways to commit information to memory. While certain memory aids and memorization techniques will likely work better for you than others, there's no harm in trying several methods during your study sessions. With each unique approach to memorization, you'll review your study materials another time, which can help solidify the information in your memory. In addition to reading notes aloud, consider trying some of these other popular techniques the next time you study: creating flashcard quizzes, coming up with clever mnemonics, and drafting mock exams. After learning which methods work best for you, you'll start having more efficient study sessions.
Three reasons why taking breaks helps you study more efficiently
Studying non-stop may seem like a great way to be more productive, but having non-stop study sessions can often do more harm than good. Why? Because non-stop study sessions can lead to mental and physical fatigue, preventing you from effectively absorbing information. So, how can you prevent yourself from becoming mentally and physically exhausted during your study sessions? It's simple. Take regularly scheduled breaks. Here are three reasons why taking breaks leads to more efficient study sessions.
1. Taking breaks fends off mental fatigue.
Being mentally exhausted makes it harder to focus on your studies. Having less focus makes it more challenging to absorb the information you're trying to learn. Mental fatigue can also negatively affect your memory, making it harder for you to recall previously known information during tests or exams.
2. Taking breaks releases physical tension.
Studying in one position for too long can lead to muscle tension and body aches. When this happens, you may focus more on your aches and pains than the subject you are trying to study. By scheduling breaks to move around and stretch your muscles, you'll relieve built-up muscle tension, helping you maintain peak levels of concentration.
3. Taking breaks helps you change your perspective.
It's far too easy to get caught up in a single perspective if you never look up from your work. Taking a break lets you step back from the topic, giving your brain a chance to process the subject matter from different angles. Approaching a subject from various perspectives is also helpful because it leaves you with a more thorough understanding of the content.
When scheduling breaks in your study sessions, aim to take breaks lasting for between five and fifteen minutes following each hour of studying. If you're having trouble keeping track of when it's time to take a break, let an alarm notify you when your hour-long study segment is complete. Consider also using the alarm to announce the end of your rest period so that you can resume your study session at the appropriate time.
Taking excellent care of yourself
Nothing breaks a person's concentration during a study session like a rumbling stomach or feelings of fatigue. To study more efficiently, take excellent care of yourself by paying close attention to your eating and sleeping habits. Once you understand your behaviors, you can improve your routine wherever necessary. For example, to ensure you're eating well, make an effort to choose more nutritious foods. Also, do your best to avoid skipping meals whenever possible. As for resting, aim to get a solid night's sleep as often as you can - especially before a big test or exam.
There are many ways you can increase overall learning efficiency and creativity during your study sessions. For instance, you could try rewriting your notes by hand, utilizing various memory aids and memorization techniques, and taking extra care of yourself. Finding the right study environment is certainly important, as well. Hopefully, by implementing these study strategies and hacks described above, you'll find studying far more enjoyable and learning much more efficient and creative.