Memorizing new information is an important part of any educational program. Sometimes the sheer amount of things students need to remember is overwhelming, and it can be discouraging when learning attempts simply aren’t effective. Before you become too frustrated, let’s look at some tips to help you get the most out of your study time.
1. Schedule your studies
The first step to an effective study session is scheduling. When you schedule your day, make sure to dedicate time specifically to studying. It is not enough to simply sit down and study whenever you have a free moment. While that can certainly be a good supplement to the scheduled time, it is critical to have time on your agenda explicitly for sitting down and studying. This helps put you in the right mindset and consider learning the information at hand as a necessity rather than a convenient “maybe.”
2. Study when you are at your best
In addition to including study time in your schedule, make sure that you are studying when you are at your best. Some people learn a better first thing in the morning, for example, with a mug of coffee and a quiet corner. Others find that their memory seems to work better a bit later in the day, once they have had the opportunity to wake up and engage with the world around them. Whatever time is the best for you, do as much of your studying during that period as possible. If you simply can’t study during that time period (if work or class takes up the time), then pick the next best time. The goal is to avoid scheduling study when you simply want to curl up and fall asleep.
3. Create a study space
Much as scheduling your studies can help put you in the right mindset to learn, creating a dedicated study space can help you optimize your time. This step further prepares your mind to focus on the task at hand simply by sitting down in the dedicated office and pulling your books and computer out. Keep in mind that while we are referring to this space as an “office”, you do not need a spare room to study in. In fact, it is possible to portion out a small space of your bedroom if that is all that’s available to you. Simply find a spot that you can clear quickly and organize it to be conducive to studying. Keep your notebooks, a light, and a charger nearby.
4. Stick to your schedule
Scheduling your study is a good first step, but sticking to the schedule is another tip altogether. It is easy to push studying off to a more convenient time, especially if you could get more sleep by doing so. Every time that you deviate from the plan, however, you are making it less and less effective. One of the benefits of a schedule is that it effectively trains your brain to focus on learning at a certain time every day, but when you do not remain consistent, this connection simply doesn’t form. Once you have set up a schedule, maintain it even when it would be easier to procrastinate.
5. Pick the right program
Whether you are interested in a data science online master’s degree or an on-campus bachelor of arts program, there is a wealth of course options around the world to suit just about every interest, so it’s important to pick a course offered by a respected educator that meets your study needs. Baylor University’s leading data science program is perfect for professionals who want to further their knowledge without sitting through in-person classes, but an in-person program is often more beneficial to students with traditionally creative career paths. Working with an in-person group of classmates when studying acting or singing, for example, is often more effective than remote learning. Picking the right program will make it easier to schedule your study time and commit to the degree.
6. Practice self-care
It is not only what you do during your study period or how you schedule your learning time that impacts how effective your study sessions are. It is equally important to take care of yourself in general. Getting enough sleep and proper nutrition, for example, is an excellent way to ensure that your mind is ready to focus once you sit down to study. Some people find that exercising helps center their minds on studying, as it helps expend some of the excess energy that might otherwise lead to fidgeting or frequent “breaks” to browse social media. Practice self-care and be kind to yourself in order to truly optimize your study sessions.
7. Don’t study for hours on end
Study sessions should be as long as necessary to learn and synthesize new information, but that doesn’t equate to sitting in one spot for hours. Get up and move around every 45 minutes or so, and don’t be afraid to take a quick break to grab a bite to eat or clear your mind. Sometimes you need to take a step back in order to remain engaged and focused moving forward. Just try to avoid activities that might pull your mind a bit too far away from your studies. Scrolling through your Twitter feed might be fun, but it can make it much more diffi∂cult to sit back down and continue your study session.
Are you ready to start studying? Keep our tips in mind and don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes you some time to establish your schedule! The most important thing is to maximize your time as much as possible, not to be perfect in your study endeavors.
Top careers for people who want to make a difference