Hello people of the internet. Me here, as usual, after all this is my blog. And me is here to share my treasure chest of study tips with you. I promise they’re super smarticle. And goodly. Perfect for getting the edumacations.
I use study tips and tricks of all kinds to help me integrate knowledge better and recall that knowledge more efficiently. What a smart sounding sentence. See, this is why you’re taking school advice from me. I keep getting off track. You know what’s tough to do when you get off track? Study. I’ll start with some of my tips for staying focused. Then we can move onto to other things. Like sleep. Sleeping is one of the most important things for studying. Which seems like a paradox but we’re going to get to that part later down the road.
I swear nowadays our attention spans are like nine seconds long. But it’s a little hard to focus when you’ve got instagrams, tweets, statuses, posts, and whatever the heck else you “have to keep up with.” PUT IT AWAY. Take your phone and toss it out the window. Where I will be waiting patiently below to catch it and keep it safe forever and use your data plan. Just kidding. Just throw your phone at the wall instead. Actually don’t do that either. Gently lay your phone down in a nice cozy drawer to be tucked away while you study.
HAH I have tricked you. That actually doesn’t work for most people. If it works for you, then I am giving you The Self Control award. But the rest of us will be studying integrals and derivatives one minute and “If I want to derive 78 times x to the 3rd I need to omg the Starbucks barista totally spelled my name wrong again. Wait this is twitter. How did I get here.” The phone magically ends up in our hand without us thinking about it. You know what you need? The Self Control App.
No.1: Self Control App.
I get it for my computer too! I’ll let you read more about it if you wish but basically it blocks you from a list of websites you choose for an amount of time you choose. You cannot change the list of websites once the timer has started, and you can’t shut down the app. You can’t even delete it. Or restart it by restarting your computer. I swear this thing is creepy. But it works!
No. 2: Take more breaks.
If you try to push your brain too much and it starts wandering, go give yourself a break. Your brain doesn’t absorb information while it is only half paying attention. The scientists in PrepOfTheSouth Labs Incorporated have said so. And if the “I’ll study for an hour and then take a break” doesn’t work for you, make shorter intervals! Some people’s brains can’t handle an hour. Especially if you are reading a book for English that you don’t like. Read for 10 minutes straight without stopping, then take a break for 10 minutes. Then read for 10 minutes. Then break for 10 minutes. You’ll probably be able to focus better in shorter spurts! And your mind will wander less.
No. 3: Hit the gym
This one is a little unorthodox. You will probably only need this if you keep on getting distracted at home or at the library by fiddling with something in your backpack or cleaning your room unnecessarily. Study at the gym. I mean, don’t go bench pressing with one hand while holding The Odyssey in the other. If I need to focus on something like reading a text book, I walk on the treadmill and read. I don’t bring headphones or anything either. And you can’t get up to fiddle with anything because well, you’re in the gym. All you have there is your book. Plus you get exercise too! In fact it actually is proven scientifically (not by our beautiful and talented PrepOfTheSouth Labs Incorporated scientists. By “real” scientists) that your brain is much more active while working out because of all of the endorphins pumpin’ through there and because your activity and mood is elevated, you are more likely store the information better.
(You know what’s cool? Science proving how exercise dramatically improves brain power. Click here for cool science.)
This is one of my favorite tips. I wish I had one of those pretty metallic star stickers your elementary school teacher used to give you when you did something nice to put next to this tip.
No. 4: Materialize your goals.
I truly believe that motivation can make us do anything. And when you have some strong, solid motivation to get good grades or study hard, you work like a machine. But it’s hard to keep motivated when your goals are so intangible or so far ahead. “Get into a good college” is such a simple idea and you know what you have to do but it’s easy to forget when there’s such a delay in gratification. Especially if you’re a freshman for example. So materialize your goals. Bring them into the present. I also believe a goal isn’t a goal until you actually write it down and bring it into the world. Otherwise it’s just an idea in your head.
Take a sticky note and write your goal on it. “Get into Whatever University.” “Get into SomeOldDude’sLastName College.” “Get into Med School.” Whatever it is, write it down.
Then you need to translate that goal into specifics.
Underneath your goal, write the numbers. It’ll make it more concrete. “Need #.# GPA. Get #### Test Score.”
And finally, and this is the most important part, translate that into tasks. When you turn your goals into a list of every day activities, it feels much more “real” and you stay much more motivated. Write things like “Study Biology at least 1 hour every day.” “Read 1 Text Chapter every night.” “Review class notes and materials every Sunday after dinner.”
Now you put that sticky note above your desk or study space and I promise it’s the biggest motivation. Even better than if you had a cute miniature animal like the Geico gecko egging you on while you studied. Actually that might be annoying.
No. 5: Clear the clutter.
Plain and simple. Get rid of all your crap. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to call your things crap. But get it out. Your study space should be clean and streamline.
No. 6: Move around.
Get up and move. This might be my second favorite study tip. Studying the same thing in different places creates stronger memories because the brain is making new associations with the same material. It’s also extremely helpful for me when my brain starts slipping into a lull. To get out of a study funk, get up and move somewhere else! The change of scenery is refreshing.
(Want some proof? BOOM. Science.)
This is the fun section because it involves sleep.
You physically require sleep. If you don’t sleep, your body doesn’t work. And you know what’s part of your body? Your brain. And you know what you need to study and test well? Your brain. You need your brain to be healthy to optimize your learning and studying. And brain health begins and ends with sleep.
No. 7: SLEEP ENOUGH. Thanks Captain Obvious. Well you’re welcome. Not getting enough sleep seriously damages your performance as a functioning human being. Selective sleep deprivation studies have shown REM sleep deprivation causes psychological problems, and slow-wave sleep deprivation causes physical problems. How can you study well when you’re psychologically or physically fatigued? The answer: You can’t. Might as well get enough sleep so that you get all your REM and slow-wave sleep in!
No. 8: Study sleepy.
What?! That’s dumb. No it isn’t. It’s smart. You’re scientifically proven to absorb information like a sponge right before you fall asleep. Weird huh? I recently started going through flashcards as I was falling asleep and boy did it do wonders. I remembered so much more! I use the Quizlet iPhone app so I can flip through flashcards while I’m in bed and the lights are off. But feel free to use primitive technology such as “lamps” and “index cards” with “ink” on them if you want.
(Don’t believe me? Here’s some science! One // Two )
No. 9: Sleep right after you learn.
This kind of goes along with No. 8. Like I said, you learn when you’re sleepy. But sleep consolidates our learning. Studies have shown that you retain far less information if you don’t sleep or don’t get enough sleep after learning something. So if you need a study break, take a nap! It settles everything into your brain. I do this on Sundays when I’m studying things for a test or reading the text book to keep up with a class. Right after reading for a few hours, I hit the hay for about 20 minutes, then keep going. It made a huge difference in my memory.
No. 10: Test yourself
Studies have shown that the best way to learn and remember information is to test yourself! Even though you may find it tedious, it works the best. Even the small self-tests at the back of textbook chapters help!
No. 11: Read notes out loud.
Reading notes aloud makes you integrate the knowledge in 2 ways: seeing it and hearing it. The more integration, the better!
No. 12: Watch it.
Want to integrate a little more? Watch a YouTube video on it! YouTube is filled with professors and grad students explaining certain topics. This is also extremely helpful if you’re trying to understand something better (or if you’re teacher just ain’t doin’ it for ya.) Like I said before, the more integration, the better. Hearing the information and having a visual will help you recall the information again later.
Yay tips! So reading this was fun right. Also really long. Sorry about that. I like words. You know what else I like? When my readers get good grades.