College is hard. That's a fact.
Maybe not as hard as some jobs, and maybe not as easy as high school, but it has it's challenges. And one of those things is studying. Oh studying. The bane of many a college exam and student, studying is that elusive creature that everyone seems to chase, but can never 'catch'. But, that is all about to change. I am here to help all of you out there who are struggling to catch studying. By following these 5 simple tips, I promise that when you study, you'll do better than you ever thought you could do. And don't worry, I'm not going to just tell you what not to do and offer no solutions, because that would be pointless. I'll tell you everything you need to know to make studying as easy as pie. That's actually a terrible analogy, because making a pie is hard. Anyway, here they are:
- Don't cram. Now I know this is probably the hardest one you will have to do. Cramming is the signature college student move, but it is so bad for your memory. Cramming sounds great, but in reality you're just wasting your time and energy trying to stuff a semester's worth of knowledge into about a night's worth of time. Studying all that information without focusing on a few items or subjects and just trying to absorb everything will take the information, place it in your brain for about a total of about 15 seconds, and then out it goes. Don't cram people. What you should do instead is just mark on your calendar, sticky note, scrap of paper, whatever, and set aside just a few hours at least a day or two before the exam. Then use the next tip as your studying method for those few hours.
- Study Smarter. Anyone can stare at a textbook like a zombie for hours and say they 'studied'. But not so for you! I have a proven psychological method that will help you retain the maximum amount of information while at the same time letting you take a break during your session. What you need to do is study in 15 minute increments, and take a 2-3 minute break in between each increment. In that 2-3 minute break, do anything but study or read. Run around your library, do jumping jacks, count to 100, whatever, but just do anything but studying. Implement this cycle for about 3 times per hour of studying. Also, never study for more than 3-4 hours. You will just burn out and give up or forget everything you just learned. 2-3 hours of good, clear-headed studying is what you need.
- Don't study while tired. This. Whatever you do, try your darnedest to not study when you are tired. You will be burnt out already, and whatever you do will be in a haze of sleep deprivation or just absolute exhaustion. Study in the daytime, preferably the sunlight or at least a well lit area. Try not to study at night and if you do, here's a protip: turn down the brightness on your screen. It will reduce the strain on your eyes, which will in turn make it easier for you to read which means you'll actually pay attention to what your eyes are looking at.
- Use your study guides (If you have one). Cannot emphasize this enough. Why read something and commit it to memory if you don't even need it for the exam?! If your teacher provides study guides, utilize them. Don't ignore them and say that they are useless, because the professor made them and I'm betting they didn't make them just to mess with your and make your life suck. Print out all the study guides at the beginning of the semester, and bring them to class. Fill them in, write notes on them, whatever you have to do to make sure all the essential information is there. By essential information, I usually mean formulas, definitions, solutions to problems, theories, those shorts of things. If you are not provided a study guide, then take good notes in class and during your reading. Use the list of important things above to give you an idea of what to focus your notes on.
- Relax! Chill out! One thing people always seem to get stressed over is studying. It's frigging' reading and thinking people. It's not skydiving, or fighting a war, it's simply committing information to memory. Don't get overwhelmed by the info you need to know. Focus on what's important, use the tips given above, and breath. Always remember to breath. Take a break after a major study session, and reward yourself with some free time or a hobby. Don't immediately take your mind off what your were just looking at, but keep it in the back-burner for later use. Life isn't all work, so just keep that in mind as you work your way through your academic journey.
I hope this helps those of you who struggle with this. This is my personal experience combined with a little bit of common sense and knowledge about the human mind, so it shouldn't be too tough to follow.