Want to make studying easy? Here’s how to get started

It’s not easy to actually get started with your studying. As a student myself I know there are so many distractions and other things that you can do instead – all of which seem more fun!

Over the next month I’ll be writing articles to help you prepare for your exams. We’ll show you how to improve your study habits and methods so that you’re not wasting time, stop procrastinating, and can start getting the results you truly deserve!

This week we’ll show you how to get started with your study.

Spacing out your study

There’s a technique called “spaced repetition” which is proven to be the most effective way to get the information from your short term memory to your long term memory where you can use it in the exam.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose the subject and topic that you want to study, for example for Chemistry it might be the chemical reactions that can make an alcohol.
  2. Spend some time getting to know the information on day one, and do as much as you need to learn that particular thing.
  3. On day two, try to work using no notes, and write down as much as you can remember, using key words and sentences from what you need to learn. Then use your notes to fill in the rest of the information, and stop when you think you’ve remembered it all.
  4. Take a break from this topic on day three. Study something else. You’re giving your mind a chance to work through what you’ve studied and send it into the long term memory.
  5. On day four, repeat step number 2 – work as much as you can without using your notes to test how much you can remember, then work to the point where you think you’ve mastered it.
  6. Take another day’s break on day five, and come back to it later. You may even take a week off this particular subject, and come back to it a few days before the exam, to test your long term recall. Once you can remember it all, on the bus, or when you’re having ice cream with your friends, you’ve nailed it!

 

 

Now you know what to do, the next step is make a plan, and stay committed to that plan. Once you have a plan in place which includes your other commitments and socialising, then you’ll be more organised and will be able to start working towards your study goals.

When making a plan, here’s what to do:

  • Put in all the deadlines, and the things you must do like going to a family dinner or rugby training
  • Then, working backwards from the deadlines, use the method above for each topic that you need to study. Space out your sessions for each topic, and you’ll find that you end up with multiple, shorter sessions each day. That’s great! Believe it or not, three-hour study sessions really aren’t that effective!
  • Don’t forget to add socialising, exercise, and time for your hobbies – these are also important!

So, if you’ve taken the time to make this schedule then please, stick to it! If you need to change things around then do so, but don’t go out when you know you should be studying.

Be your own coach – tell yourself off for missing the mark and reward yourself for great work!

 

Originally published in Tearaway Magazine, http://tearaway.co.nz/want-make-studying-easy-heres-get-started/ October 16, 2016.

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