How to study is a big question. Everyone wants to study effectively so as to achieve goals, gain knowledge, pass exams or get skills. The guide will show you every aspect of study skills, teach you top study tips and help you find the best way to study. Learning how to learn is as important as learning itself. Time is gold, so let’s start.
Studying tips not only contain reading and remembering tips, but also contain tips on taking care of yourself and creating a conducive studying environment.
Get enough sleep
Enough sleep can keep your mind fresh and sharp. Lack of sleep can make studying feel like a chore. Seven-eight hours of sleep sounds great, and a short nap is recommended(15-30 minutes).
Drink plenty of water
Water is essential for our bodies and brains. Drinking water frequently can benefit your memory and help you concentrate. Make sure there is a glass of water available while studying.
Eat healthy and balanced diet, stay away from junk food, cigarettes and alcohol, then you will always be energetic. Don`t forget fruits and vegetables. And there are some foods that you should add to your diet. Fish, nuts, whole grains, apples, cruciferous vegetables, dark chocolate, spinach, berries, legumes and onions can make you feel like a genius! Finally, eating less food more often can help you avoid dips in blood sugar, which make your brain sluggish.
Stimulate your circulatory system
Proper exercises can help improve blood circulation, clear your head and alleviate stress. Moderate exercise for 20 minutes three times a week is recommended. The key is getting your heart rate up. Or you can just walk around and have a stretch when you take breaks during studying.
Manage your stress
You may feel stressed about studying, no matter for a living or for exams. There are two categories of stress: eustress (which can motivate you) and distress. Fortunately, distress can be controlled.
- Get some sunlight.
- We all need some sunlight to be happy and healthy. You can take a walk in the sunshine after lunch.
- When your brain releases endorphins, dopamine or serotonin, you feel happy. One of the most effective ways to produce them is to exercise. But even a short walk or a few minutes of brief exercise can have a positive effect.
- Laugh & Smile.
- It is universally acknowledged that laughter can effectively reduce stress. You can try these: watching some funny videos on YouTube, looking at some funny pictures and having a quick chat with funny friends. Remember to keep it short and brief, there’s still something to be done.
It’s not a good idea to procrastinate, because the task is still there. You have to do it soon or later. So why not sooner? Think carefully about the benefits of achieving the goal and the losses of not achieving it. Make a plan and divide your goal into small steps. Then it looks easy to achieve. It’s an important tip to avoid procrastination. Because when you complete one small task, you will feel more motivated to complete others.
Find a good study spot
Find a spot where you feel comfortable. Don’t be rigid, the point is to concentrate on studies. If you don’t like the table in the library, you can study on your sofa at home. Wear comfortable, loose clothes. And it’s extremely important to have a good computer chair if you are taking an online learning course. Anyway, as long as you can concentrate, that’s a good spot.
Ensure adequate lighting
Whether too light or too dark are bad for your eyes. Use an eye-protection lamp to focus light on your workspace. Of course, soft natural light is the best.
Keep things organized (include computer files)
Use drawers and boxes to keep things you need organized and close by, rather than letting them spread out all over the place. And don’t forget your computer. Create specific folders for every subject or task and delete useless files. Make files easy to find. They are all very good study habits you should adopt.
Put your smartphone away, turn off the TV and radio. Choose a quiet space without much noise. If you listen to music, stick to music that has no words like classical.
Concentration is one of the most mentioned tips on how to study fast and effectively. Everyone has the ability to concentrate in studies. But most people don’t know how.
Keeping body and mind in good condition, choosing quiet and comfortable spot are all for concentration.
Focus on the present
Make a good plan, then divide it into small parts. Figuring out what you should do during each study session and sticking to one thing at a time, you will find it’s easy to concentrate on studying.
Use a keyword to refocus yourself
Losing focus while studying is a common problem. Find a keyword related to the topic. When you feel distracted, start repeating that keyword over and over again until you come back to the topic.
Remember to study hard and smart. High levels of concentration can’t last too long. Your brain also can’t handle studying for hours. So you should take a break for 5 minutes every 30 minutes. Leave your workspace, walk around and drink some water. Go to the balcony, breathe some fresh air and have a stretch. All these could relax and reset your mind. You will feel more energetic after each break.
Well, if you have a question about what to study. Permit me to give you a piece of advice. It depends on what goal you have. Take a blank paper and write down 3 goals you most strongly want to accomplish in the future, then arrange study content according to the goals. For example, your goal is to be able to hold a basic conversation with a native Spanish speaker. So your study content should include Spanish vocabulary, grammar and so on.
Once you find out what to study, it’s time to make a study plan about how to manage your time. Making a good plan is one of the most common study strategies used by learners. It makes us feel like everything is under control. Knowing your preferred learning styles is important too, because It determines what kind of study content works best for you.
Some study task seems huge at first glance. But if you break it into small parts. It becomes much easier to achieve. For example, reading five pages per day is much less stressful than reading 50 pages at once.
Taking breaks is as important as concentrating on your study. It also helps keep you energetic. You can arrange breaks according to the situation. It’s recommended to take 5 minutes of break every 30 minutes.
- Step 1, Always use a study planner to write down all of your important activities, appointments, exam dates and so on. It will give you a clear sense of how your week, month and month will look like, and will help you see when you’ll have a lot of free time to study, how long you’ll have to prepare for exams.
- Step 2, Create an agenda for all of your studying time. Write a list of which topics, chapters, sections, concepts or questions that you will study during each study session(hourly, daily or weekly). At the same time, you will have an overarching sense of the study task.
- Step 3, Create an agenda for each study session. Write a detailed list of the essential items that you should include during each study session. For example, Einstein’s massenergy equivalence equation. Then the list should include the meaning of each symbol and the derivation process of the equation.
- Step 4, Remember to do a full review after one course is finished or before every exam.
- Step 5, There is another important tip. If you are studying several courses at the same time. Remember to change course after each break. Let the centers in the brain take turns to rest. For example, you studied History last hour, you can change to Math after break. Or writing and piano.
- Finally, Don’t forget enough sleep, regular breaks and exercises. If you are not healthy, the study efficiency will go down and learning itself will lose its meaning.
Reading is the primary way we gain knowledge. So you should learn how to read with a purpose and take good notes. Of course, if you are a student in education, listening is important too.
SQ3R is one of the most popular tips for learning. It can help you read, understand and memorize effectively.
- Get an overarching sense of what you are going to study. Find information necessary to focus. Figure out the purpose of reading this material. Then read the titles, introduction, summary, boldface headings and subheadings. Skim graphs, charts, tables and so on. Ask yourself questions as you read.
- An effective way of study is asking questions and finding answers. It keeps you focus. Think about the what, when, where, who, why and how of the material. When you look for and think about answers to questions, the content will become easier to understand and memorize. Look for and write down your questions when you are skimming.
- Read actively to answer questions you have asked yourself or the author has asked. Read everything, including all tables, graphs and illustrations. You may find new questions while reading. Make sure every question has an answer.
- Try to come up with an overall concept of the material in your own words. Try to connect new information to things you already know. Building a concept map is a good choice. Then see if you can answer your questions without looking at books. If you fail, look back again. Write down the answers when you get them right.
- Now, let’s see what you have learned. The best time to review is soon after learning has taken place. Reread your outline and concept map. Look away from your book. Recite the outline from memory. Look back all of your questions. Continue doing this until you feel confident about the material.
You may also want to know how to read a textbook efficiently.
We all have used some learning techniques more or less for schooldays’ notes, such as highlighting, visualizing or summarizing. You can choose to keep a separate notebook or just write on your book according to the situation.
Highlighting and Emphasising
Underlining, highlighting or circling key phrases and words will help you concentrate on the content you are reading. And make it easier to recall key points when rereading.
Questions and Outline
Keep a separate notebook to record questions, answers, important outlines, concept maps and so on. Reading and taking notes without thinking are passive learning methods. You won’t learn anything if you don’t think.
A mind map is a diagram that visually depicts information or ideas and shows how they are connected. First, write down the main phrase or word of your topic in the center of a page. Then add branches, categories and subcategories to break down the topic. Finally, enrich the diagram with terms, ideas, symbols or anything you think is important.
Keep your notes in good order
Keep your notes organized and well-structured so you can easily find what you need later. Stick a label with date and topic on every notebook. Store them in specific drawers or boxes. If you like taking notes on your computer, create a specific folder for every subject or task.
There are some questions people always ask me: How to study hard? How to study for long hours? My answer is: I don’t know. I think the question is not how long you study, but how much content you memorize!
You may have already noticed that I mentioned concentration and taking breaks multiple times, because the two effective study habits are easily ignored. Focus is the foundation for achieving anything. Here are similar tips on how to concentrate on studies.
Memorizing information without understanding is not a good method. People who understand content’s meaning and relations between concepts can memorize longer.
Organizing information make it easier to remember.
Concept map is a graphical tool to represent knowledge and show how concepts are linked. So it can help you remember information better. Here are some general steps:
- Write the key word of your topic in the center.
- Write related subtopic around the central topic.
- Write the supporting points around their subtopics.
- Expand it, make it more specific.
Some people prefer a visual learning style. They benefit a lot from it. Try to visualize the information or concepts you are studying in your mind. Create some graphs, concept maps, mind maps or other visual forms of notetaking. You will find the content much easier to understand and memorize.
You can use some special techniques to deal with certain things that are hard to remember. Such as disordered historical place names or numbers with high place values.
A mnemonic is a tool that can be a rhyme, song, acronym, or a phrase to help remember a list of facts in a certain order.
Let us assume that we have to memorize the names of the Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. Take the first letter of each item you are trying to remember: SMHEO. Then arrange the letters so that the acronym resembles a word that makes sense to you: HOMES. Mnemonics are also helpful for the spelling of difficult words. For example, to remember arithmetic you might remember: A Rat In The House Might Eat The Ice Cream.
We can say “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally”, with the first letter of each word creating the acronym PEMDAS. This mnemonic helps you remember the order of operations in math: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.
There are several different types of association. But the point of them is the same: to associate the things you already know with something you’re trying to memorize.
Come up with a funny image or story to memorize a fact. For example, John F. Kennedy’s involvement in the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. We can visualize JFK swimming in the sea with a lot of pigs. Yes, it seems very silly. But the association will help you remember the fact.
Use association to remember numbers. Let’s say you are trying to remember your member ID number(62290881), you can say Jun 22, 1990 is your brother’s birthday(62290), your grandma is 88 years old and she is single(881). When you want to recall the number, just imagine your grandma is holding your sister’s birthday cake. Yes, it’s odd. But it works.
Use your imagination to visualize the things you’re studying. Focus on the details. For example, a historical event. Put yourself into the time period to imagine the scenery and the characters in great details. Visualization is the key.
Make up stories
In some study task, you may need to remember a chain of images, words ( like a shopping list ). Coming up with a little funny story can help a lot. For example you are trying to remember to buy a clipper, an empty bottle, a ruler and a rope from supermarket. You can make up a story like this: An empty bottle ate a clipper, then the clipper’s friend the ruler was trying to save it with a rope. Of course it’s silly. But you can recall the list once you think of this story.
Sometimes repeating over and over again is not a silly method. Especially for some foreign vocabulary words.
Here is an effective process to follow:
- Read the first object, then recite it.
- Read the first and the second objects, repeat reading until you are able to recite them both.
- Read the first, the second and the third objects, repeat reading until you are able to recite them all.
- Repeat this process until you can recite all the objects three times without looking the paper. If you can’t recite them all three times, start over.
Developing learning skills is essential for your success. No matter which field you want to get involved in, you need massive knowledge.
There are four basic steps in a study activity:
- Identifying the information: Think about “what’s important here?”.
- Organizing the information: Form a frame, find key points and enrich details.
- Memorizing the information: Frequent review to keep information available for use.
- Applying the information: Answer questions, take an exam, practical applications.
Knowing every aspect of study skills is far from enough. The goal is finding and forming a suite of study techniques (methods/habits) that work best for you. Then incorporate them into your study habits.
So what should we do? Look for more guides? There are plenty of study guides everywhere. We all want to find the best one. But let me tell you, the best guide is not exist. You only can keep learning new study methods and tips to perfect your skill. That’s the right direction. This guide is full of effective and proven study methods. You just need to test and use them. I wish this study help article could give you a good start.
Finally, if you feel something you got from this article may work for you, try it now.