Let’s just get one thing straight—no one likes studying. It sounds more like you’re stu-DYING, am I right? With that being said (here comes the hard part), it’s a must to have your study habits in check. Take it from me, someone who would ALWAYS be a last-minute crammer (I don’t miss those 2:00 a.m. cram sessions at all).
Keep in mind, you’re in university and college investing not just money, but also time. It’s really important that you have a thorough and structured study routine and great study tips so that you can work hard and play hard throughout your four years in university and college.
What you’ll learn:
- Managing your time better: it’s not that easy.
- Understanding your learning type: see it, hear it or feel it?
- Take a break and don’t procrastinate.
- Creating an organized study space that won’t make you yawn.
- Reviewing and revising notes (a.k.a the boring part).
- Get some sleep: how it leads to effective study habits.
- Eat healthy and study better.
- Motivate yourself with rewards when studying’s done.
Managing your time better: it’s not that easy
Being busy is an understatement in college and university. It’s exciting to meet new people and start new classes. You might even get worked up from starting a new job (collect that $).
That’s a ton of new stuff to start doing all at once. If you’re not organized, you can lose track of all the different directions you’re being pulled in.
You can track the million-and-one things on your schedule with a weekly planner, like the Undated Daily Desk Planner from Mead. If you’re working projects on a shorter timescale, you can use whiteboards, like the Metal Frame Dry Erase Board from U Brands, to plan the stuff you have to get done during the day.
Okay, you’re not going to remember this, but there’s an acronym to help you set and meet your goals. It’s “SMART,” and the five elements it stands for can be kept in a Five Star Zipper Binder. SMART stands for:
Understanding your learning type: see it, hear it or feel it?
We’re all unique in our own way, right? I’ve mastered the art of binge watching a full season of Black Mirror in one day. Okay, not that kind of productivity but you get me. Everyone learns in different ways. By understanding your learner type, you can customize your study habits to not only remember more from your studies, but also drive your roommate nuts with your unique study methods. It all depends on what kind of learner you are. Here are study tips for different learners:
- Visual learners tend to remember more when they study charts, graphs and other images. If you’re better at remembering faces rather than names, you might be a visual learner. Instead of written notes, think about capturing charts, diagrams and lists on a graphic tablet, such as Un-Tech’s Ruffpad, you can connect directly to your laptop. Sketch these out during lectures or while reading so you can study them later.
- Tactile learners may learn via words, especially when they write them down on index cards or in notebooks. They also learn fast from touching and handling things, like a carburetor in shop class or a quadratic equation in math. If you’re a tactile learner, it may help to copy your notes onto flashcards or Q&A cards after class.
- Auditory learners prefer listening to information. If you’re this type, you remember stuff you hear and it might help to record your lectures. Consider investing in earbuds or on-ear headphones to quiet down outside distractions while you study.
Take a break and don’t procrastinate
It’s not all work at college. In fact, if you overwork yourself until your grades suffer, you’re doing it wrong. The bits of your brain you use for learning chemistry don’t have infinite energy, and sometimes you need to goof off to let them cool down. Taking well-timed breaks lets you come back to your tasks fresh and ready to work productively.
On the assumption that you’ve scheduled your breaks for after studying rather than instead of studying, you have a lot of options for how to de-stress. Keep yoga essentials, such as the Alignment Yoga Mat from Everlast, rolled up by the study desk so you can stretch your muscles and boost your metabolism or whatever. If you’re not really the stretchy type, you can boost your heart rate with an Everlast Cable Jump Rope or an elitejumper Fitness Jump Rope.
You don’t have to break a sweat to chill out. Sometimes you can just be lazy. Whether your thing is watching movies, playing video games or watching videos where other people play video games, it’s probably worth it to invest in a smart television. Models from Sharp, Samsung or RCA let you hook up to either cable or the internet for the widest possible range of crap to watch for free.
Creating an organized study space that won’t make you yawn
You’ve been successfully equipped. So now that you have all these great skills for effective studying, where are you going to do it? You need a study space that’s comfortable to work in, but not comfortable enough to nap in. Try to set aside a space for nothing but this, and keep it clean and organized.
When you’re planning your study space, you can’t go wrong if you build it around a new desk, like Dorel’s Grayson Desk. Take care of your back by putting an ergonomic office chair in front of it, like the Mainstays Mid-Back Chair. You’re probably going to be doing a lot of your studying at night, so it helps to have a decent desk lamp, like this Silver LED Desk Lamp from Mainstays.
To personalize the space more, or just to look cool, you can think about flourishes like some battery-powered LEDs for your shelves to light up your paperwork or books. Those lights go great with storage options like Bestar’s small space or corner units or Dorel’s Two-Drawer File Cabinets.
Reviewing and revising notes (a.k.a. the boring part)
Great, more work. However, you’ll thank yourself later! You’re at your best if you imprint a lesson for good right after the lecture, otherwise you’re guaranteed to forget the class you just sat through. To better remember what you’re doing, try reviewing your notes both right after class and right before the test. It helps if you rewrite your notes the first time you review them (yeah, we know. Trust us here.)
One way to rewrite your stuff in a hurry is to convert pencil-and-paper notes from something scrawled between doodles into a digital format that you can bookmark and share with others. Try doing this on the Samsung Chromebook laptop. Speaking of Samsung, if you take digital notes on something like the Samsung 7-inch Galaxy Tab A, you can do the reverse and copy the notes into a handwritten format on index cards or in loose paper organized in binders for later.
Get some sleep: how it leads to effective study habits
You’re in biology class with your professor rambling on about stuff that sounds like a foreign language, and all you can think about is your bed. A nap would be perfect right now. But as soon as you get into bed, you just can’t sleep. The clock keeps ticking and you’re wide awake… Crap, it’s 3:00 a.m. already?!
Good sleep habits don’t just keep you pretty; they help you get smart. Well, sort of. When you sleep, your brain has a chance to recharge and organize the material you’ve been studying. It can also help keep you healthy, since it’s a nice rest and helps relieve stress. Even short naps, if they’re a habit, can reduce the risks associated with college stress and can even keep short-term illness like the flu at bay.
That’s easy for us to say, but sleep doesn’t come easy to overworked undergrads with 25-hour-a-day schedules of class, studying and beer pong. Not only does the world come crashing in to keep you busy, you’re going to be under pressure to overschedule yourself to a ridiculous degree. Fight this impulse and schedule regular sleep periods for your health. Also, give yourself a space and the stuff to really get a good night’s (or afternoon’s, or morning’s) sleep. Stuff to help you with this includes:
It’s safe to say as adults we love and cherish all the sleep we can get, seriously. During the weekly class rotation, you can keep to a regular wake-up schedule by setting your alarm clock to wake up at the same time daily and keep your sleep rhythm as natural as possible.
One more thing about this: don’t trust your phone as an alarm clock. Just buy a real one instead. Not only does your new active social life mean a phone next to your head can go off at any time of the night, but there’s always the horrible chance the battery could run down or some software glitch could reset your timers.
Eat healthy and study better
A study tip that involves eating!? Count me in! You know you have to eat, but there’s one right way and 547 wrong ones to do that. We’re not going to tell you to thrive on broccoli when you’re away at college, but eating right does help you keep your brain functioning on the level you need for schoolwork.
That’s the part where we pretend you’re going to eat salad (even though we know you’ll be living off your awesome coffee maker instead). Now for the part where we acknowledge you’re going to be eating out of vending machines. This is actually expensive, in addition to being good for nothing but soggy sandwiches and the occasional candy bar. While we’re not going to tell you to never do this, you do have other options.
Stocking up on healthy snacks saves you money and ensures you have better options on hand whenever hunger hits. Check these out:
Motivate yourself with rewards when studying’s done
Work hard, play hard!
Look to create rewards that are in line with your accomplishments. Maybe you can’t take a weekend getaway every time you turn in your homework, but you could spend an hour griefing your n00b friends on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Tote a Nintendo Switch to your next study session so everyone can break for some low-res gaming, or get online with your ASUS Rog Gaming Laptop to score off your friends in other provinces.
Video games not your thing? First of all, why not? And second, you can get creative with anything else that relaxes you or makes you happy. During these little breaks, think about streaming Netflix or YouTube, have some friends over for the evening, spend a pleasant afternoon trying to figure out Spotify’s user interface or soak in the tub with that posh bath bomb you splurged on.
Following the study tips above and investing in a healthy, smart lifestyle while you’re in college and university can save your bacon in the first semester, when you’re still trying to figure things out. Staying organized and following a healthy, realistic schedule lets you succeed academically, as well as sparing you the time to goof off later.