11 Tips to Help You Study Smarter
Get better grades by giving yourself the advantages you need to succeed.
Mastering effective study techniques takes time, but it is worth the effort. Not only will you learn more, you will also get better grades and develop skills that you can use in your future career. Here are a few tips from Tyndale University to form study habits that work for you.
Consider your study space. What kind of study environment works best for you? Do you rely on a lot of background noise, or do you prefer silence? Experiment and determine what suits you best. Whatever you choose, ensure that any space you select is well-lit, comfortable and properly equipped.
Plan your schedule wisely. Do you work best in the morning or in the evening? Schedule your study time strategically, and review more challenging material when you are most alert. Pace yourself, and study in segments of 25 to 40 minutes, with short (5-minute) breaks in between.
Do something active on your study breaks and before an exam, such as taking a walk, to boost your mood, memory and brain processing speed.
Manage distractions. If you need (or are tempted) to use a computer or smartphone while studying, try an app, such as SelfControl, to block the Internet for a set period.
Take good course notes, both in class and on your readings. Develop the discipline of reviewing notes and text summaries within 24 hours after your first reading and then regularly throughout the term.
Speak out loud. Rehearse course material verbally, not just in your mind. Studies have shown that you are 50% more likely to remember something if you say it aloud.
Write it out. Anticipate questions, and practise writing out the answers to them. This is especially effective if there is an essay component to your exam.
Choose the right kind of music to stay calm, alert and motivated. Some suggestions include classical, ambient instrumental, and movie scores at a moderate volume; anything that will not keep you from focusing. Select your playlists in advance to avoid wasting time searching for music in the middle of a study session.
Teach the material to someone else. This will help solidify what you do know and reveal what you still need to work on.
Join (or form) a study group. If you are forming your own, delegate members to fulfill tasks (goal setting, snack duty, etc.)
Use mnemonics that will help you recall more complex pieces of information. These memory devices can take many forms, including the following:
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- Expressions or Words: This involves taking the first letter of each item to be remembered and using those letters to form a phrase or word (e.g., coordinating conjunctions in English can be remembered as FANBOYS – For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So).
- Music: Make a song or a jingle to any tune you like. This type of mnemonic works especially well for long lists that need to be remembered.
- Names: Use the first letter of each word in a list, rearranging those letters as necessary, to make a name (e.g., Roy G. Biv – for the colours of the rainbow – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).