Being organized can make you more efficient at studying
If you are in college or career school, you are no stranger to homework. You are probably used to studying every night and in between classes too. But are you studying efficiently and effectively? Are there ways that you could be learning more? Or getting your work done faster? Or retaining more of what you’re learning? If you think you have room to improve, try looking at some of these study tips:
Step 1: Dedicated study time
When you are in school, studying is part of your job. You can’t expect to just squeeze your studying into your day wherever it might fit. Or to procrastinate until the night before a test. A better strategy is to devote a specific time every day to studying—as though it’s your work schedule. Block the time off in your calendar and don’t schedule anything else over it.
Step 2: Give yourself the space you need
Finding a good place to study is important. Some people do best with a very quiet place, like a corner of the library or in their bedroom. Others do better with background noise, like in a coffee shop. Many people benefit from changing their study spaces every now and then, for some variety. Try different places until you find the environments where you can focus the best.
Step 3: Eliminate distractions
We are all victims of distractions. Whether it’s our cell phones, TV, friends, music, pets, snack foods, you name it. There are so many things that can distract us! Keep track of the things that are interrupting your studies and cut them out. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done.
Step 4: Give yourself timed breaks
Most people find that their brains focus better when they have short breaks every 30 to 60 minutes. Be careful not to let your breaks last too long. Just get up and stretch or take a brief walk around the room. These breaks can rejuvenate your mind without ruining your concentration.
Step 5: Get organized
When you have a lot to do, it’s important to get organized so that you don’t waste time. Here are some tips for organizing:
- Keep a calendar of due dates and test dates
- Before your study session, make a to-do list of the highest priority items and do them first
- Organize each subject into color-coded folders
- Keep your school belongings all in one place so you don’t lose things
- Set reminders in your phone for key tasks and dates
Step 6: Use study aids
When you are in school, you are expected to learn a lot of brand new information at a very rapid pace! Certain study aids can help you:
- Rewrite your notes
- Reorganize your notes on notecards
- Read your notes out loud (or even singing them!)
- Create timelines or other visual aids
- Use funny mnemonic tricks to memorize things
- Ask friends to quiz you
- Take practice tests
- Use web searches to aid your studying (for instance, to clarify something you don’t understand or look up an important fact that you might have forgotten)
Step 7: Ask for help
Are you having trouble in school? Is it hard to understand what you are studying? If so, ask for help! That’s why your teachers are there! When you feel stuck, make a list of questions, and ask if you can talk to your teacher after class or visit them during office hours. This will help get you on the right track and make your studying easier.
We hope these seven steps will get you closer to studying more efficiently and effectively. There’s no secret recipe or rulebook for studying. But by using common sense, staying organized, and minimizing your distractions, you should be well on your way!
The Salter School in Massachusetts offers adult training programs for people interested in becoming a medical assistant, massage therapist, or a medical biller and coder. Find out more about our campuses in Fall River and Malden.