Studying 101

College, School

Do you sometimes have a hard time studying for big tests, and getting big projects done on time? Is it hard for you to concentrate and study for long periods of time? The truth is, everyone is different, and you need to learn how YOU study the best if you want to start doing better in school. Here are several tips that will help you figure out the best way for you to study:

  • Get organized. Keep all your syllabuses from each class, and write down all your papers, tests, and projects in a calendar. This will help you know ahead of time when things are going to be do, instead of waiting until the last minute when your teacher finally mentions it in class. You’ll be able to begin working and studying well in advance.
  • Plan out projects. See how long each step will take you, so you have enough time to complete the whole thing. Sometimes if you don’t plan things out ahead of time, they’ll end up taking you a lot longer than you expected and you may run out of time.
  • Determine what time of day you are most alert. If you’re a morning person, wake up a little earlier to do homework and study. If you’re a night owl, do it at night.
  • Figure out what distracts you the most. If you find yourself going on Facebook every time you write a paper, it might be a good idea to turn off the internet; or if you need the internet, don’t go on Facebook even “just for a minute.” If people distract you, make sure you study alone. Avoid whatever distracts you so you can get more done.
  • If you study in a group, make sure to study with people who are serious about the test or project. Sometimes people get distracted and start talking too much, or showing each other things on the internet. You’ll never get anything done if your group doesn’t focus. Don’t be afraid to speak up and say “Sorry, but I really need to work on this.”
  • Prioritize if you have multiple tests and projects. Determine which ones are a bigger percent of your grade, which ones will probably take you the longest, and which subjects you’re not as good at. Get those done first.
  • Listen to music if it helps. Some people get too distracted by music, but for some people, music makes studying not so boring and it keeps them awake. Try it out and see if it helps you.
  • Don’t do all your studying or work for your project in one night, space it out. If you cram, you won’t learn or remember as much. If you try to bust out a big paper or project in one evening, you won’t do such a good job. Give yourself time to work on it for shorter periods of time for several days.
  • Take breaks. If you are studying or working on something for a really long time, take breaks. You don’t have to sit there and work for several hours straight. You’ll get burnt out, and eventually you’ll stop retaining information. It’s okay to take a quick 10-15 minute break to check Facebook, talk to a friend, and just relax. You’ll feel recharged and be able to focus again even with just a short break.
  • Eat snacks. Sometimes you just need more energy to keep you going and focused. Eat something healthy, though… like fruits and veggies, crackers, yogurt, or a granola bar.
  • Study in the right place. People study better in different places. Some people prefer to sit in a coffee shop with a friend while they work, some people feel more motivated in the library where it’s quiet, others like staying in their room at home. See what works for you.
  • Make sure you understand the information and you aren’t just memorizing it. There’s no sense in learning about something if you don’t actually understand it. Memorizing definitions and answers to questions won’t do you any good. Besides, what if it’s worded differently on the test? If you aren’t getting something, ask your teacher or someone in your class, or look it up in your book or online.
  • Have someone quiz you. If you want to make sure you’re ready for the test, you’ll have to study in a way that you won’t be able to see all the answers. So have a friend or parent ask you some questions and see how you do, before you’re really getting tested on it.
  • Make flashcards. Flashcards are a great tool for studying. Writing down information on the cards will help you remember a lot, and you can use them to quiz yourself.
  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before your test. Pulling all-nighters will never do you any good. You don’t want to be sleepy and groggy while you’re taking a big test… you need to be awake, alert, and focused. Make sure you eat a good, healthy meal beforehand, too.

Whether you’re in middle school, high school, or college, you need to do well in school! And you need to learn how you study the best so you can succeed and get good grades. Hopefully some of these tips are helpful for you!