I will list 10 easy tips that can change your way of studying. It will help you retain information way better, but also shorten your actual time of studying. Keep on reading if you want to know 10 tips on how to study smart.
1) Listen to classical music
Every time you sit down to study, choose a good playlist of around 2 hours worth of classical music. You can search classical music on Youtube and it will give you so many videos that are longer than an hour. Another good possibility is Spotify. I like to go to browse and then scroll down until I find Focus. Here you will find a lot of playlists. The one I like the most is Peaceful Piano.
Now, if you make it a ritual, to always put on some classical music while studying, your brain will start to associate classical music with it. That means you will feel more concentrated and focused. You have to find the music and the volume that suits yourself. I like it really calm and at low volume. That way I can concentrate the best and I won’t get bored after just some minutes of studying.
2) Distribute your studying over several days
As soon as you get your syllabus with all the topics you have to study, write them down on a piece of paper. Now calculate how many weeks you have until your first exam. This will give you the ideal time to study each topic.
Let’s say you have 5 weeks and 10 topics. So you get half a week to study each topic. Write those due dates after each corresponding topic, so you won’t fall behind on your reading. It would be even better if you make a little summary after you finished studying a topic. Like so, you’ll only have to study and re-read your summaries before the exam and not the whole chapter. To study smart means, to find the best ways to do less and get better grades. Everyone likes that, don’t you?
3) Read your summary before going to sleep
This is a really great tip if you want to really study smart. I love doing this each evening before I go to sleep because I’ve found that I retain SO much information, whenever I do that. I mean, a LOT of information. If you do that, your brain will work on the material you just absorbed before sleeping, because it is the most recent. Pro tip: Don’t do your readings in bed. Sit down at your desk, read the summary twice and then walk to your bed and fall asleep. If you do it in your bed, you are most likely to fall asleep. It’s happened way too many times to myself, lol.
4) Read your summary out loud
Summaries are my favorites when it comes to studying smart (as you may have figured out already). I have tried out a lot of different forms of using a summary. I find, that I retain most information if I read it before I go to sleep, as mentioned above, or if I walk around my room and read the summary out loud. As you automatically involve more senses, you are much more likely to contain information. While reading it out loud your auditory sense and visual perception are stimulated simultaneously. Why should you be walking around you ask yourself? I think there might be various reasons, but I find that every time I’m studying, I come to a point where I just don’t want to sit around anymore. I get tired because of inactivity. That is because my brain might not get enough oxygen. You can change that by getting up and walking around. Your heart rate will naturally rise, you start breathing faster and your brain will, therefore, get more oxygen. Clever, right? You won’t get tired as fast and you’ll also feel more concentrated. I love using this tip, try it out.
5) Review your material within 24 hours
Typically, a student will wait until the last possible day to study everything for an exam. But that is a huge mistake. I know, the struggle is real with this tip, but if you decide to really try it and change something about it, you will benefit so much more from it. Now, hear me out: You won’t be able to study everything the night before the exam anyway, we all know that and still like to think that we can. You might get quite a good mark, but not as good as if you would have started earlier, be honest for a second. So, the trick is to not study the day before your exam, but the day after you get the information, thus within 24 hours. You will withhold a lot of information that way and if you try to summarize it right away, you will kill two birds with one stone. You will find out, that writing the summary will take you less time, as you remember what you just heard one day before, plus you won’t have to remember to do it and then stress out because you still have a lot of other things to do. Awesome.
6) Put your devices on airplane mode
I know it’s a very obvious one, but I always find myself distracted by my cell phone or computer or whatever electronic device, to be honest. So I want to say it again: Put devices on airplane mode. Period. Don’t think about it, just do it.
A little text can turn into a one-hour conversation and then another hour of youtube videos and another hour of just laughing at memes. It is magical, how distracting it can be. So just put it on airplane mode or better even, turn it off.
7) Make connections
Whether you make connections with your life or with other study material, it is really important to find them. What I like to do is, to leave around 2 – 3 cm on the left site of each page, to add further information or write down your connections. You can also draw something that you connect with it. This helps a lot of students to visualize what they are learning and therefore it’s usually easier to remember.
8) Drink, drink, drink
No, not alcohol. It won’t help you feel better because you procrastinated so much that you’re just too late to study for your test anymore. So if that’s your case, I can’t really help you.
But if you are studying, drink a lot of water. Drink as much as you can, as your brain will thank you for it and be more awake and again, withhold more information.
9) Explain the material to yourself or someone else
You might have read about this tip a lot. In my opinion, it has improved my grades immensely since I started doing that. I summarize everything, read it a lot of times and then put away any study material I have. I will now find my own words to explain the concept of whatever I just learned. If I can do it without peeking at my notes, I know I’m ready to take the test. You can find a classmate you like to study with and explain your material to each other, or you can explain it to yourself. The latter is the one I like to use the most.
I just started two or three months ago, as a good friend recommended it to me. If I make myself study the whole day because I just want to get it over with or if I ignored all my above-mentioned points myself and started studying too late, I will always get to a point where I know my brain is not working anymore. I’m reading the sentence over and over again but it doesn’t seem to make sense. I always forced myself to keep going until I was just too tired and gave up on everything. What I do now is, when I start feeling sluggish, I get up, sit down on my bed or on another chair (a new environment is really important), close my eyes and start to relax. You don’t have to try to think about anything, as a lot of people try to do while meditating. It is also very helpful to just sit there and let your thoughts come and go as they want to. It’s important that you listen to your thoughts and when you’ve heard it, just let the next thought come in. Do this until you think you’ve “listened” to all of your thoughts. Now just sit there and relax for another 10 – 15 minutes. Don’t do anything and don’t open your eyes. If you feel better when some music is playing, do that. But let it be relaxing.
You will feel like a new person afterward. Even if you feel like you lost half an hour, you will see that you will now have more energy. You will accomplish a lot more as if you hadn’t invested that time. Study smart sometimes means to not study at all, because breaks are necessary.
I hope these 10 tips on how to study smart helped you improve your strategy
Tell me what’s your favorite tip and how it worked for you. Leave me a comment or contact me. I would love to get in touch with you.
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