I have been asked to write a post on how to study in general giving examples of how I study so here it is.
I study everyday. A day without studying, especially at university, is a day wasted. Now, being the introverted and a perfectionist person that I am, I guess you would not be surprised by that.
I am basing this post more around university students but I do speak in general terms at times so it can still apply to school and college students as well.
The most stressful thing about studying is when and how to fit in your studies on top of everything else, such as a job and social life. Thankfully, I do not have any of those problems because I am solely concentrating on university and university only this year. But of course, everyone’s case is different.
If you have a job, do schedule your shifts on days you may not have university but make sure the shifts are sensible. I would try and leave the evenings free, so that can be your time to study.
As for social life, do go out and have fun but make sure it is not on a day before a lecture. Go out on a Friday night only and leave the weekends for studying. Some of you may not agree though but I think that is sensible.
Also, if you have various modules you are studying for, then split the studying for each module for a different day. A study timetable comes in handy for this. I know that may seem geeky but honestly, it will make your studying so much easier. Every Sunday night, I make a plan for the week ahead and write down what day and what time I will study each module. It really does help.
I don’t know about you but I study best alone, in my bedroom with no distractions. Music is off, radio is off and TV is off. I have my own desk with all my study materials and because I have the space, it motivates me to get up, sit on my office chair and just get on with it. If you have the space, you will find that it will motivate you to study.
Have the Relevant Study Materials
Make sure you have the right study materials. This includes stationary such as a notebook, pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, page markers etc…
Most importantly, look through your reading list and buy or borrow textbooks from the library. Having the relevant books will help you immensely with your studying. I find them incredibly helpful. A dictionary can be very useful too when you come across a word you do not understand. I would recommend the usual Oxford English Dictionary.
A computer. My Macbook Pro is my life and is a lifesaver when it needs to be. When you are writing an essay, you will obviously need your computer so have that at the ready.
Keep all your study materials in one place. That way, you will not lose anything – important papers, notes etc… Get yourself a folder and keep things organised.
Make Notes and Highlight/Underline/Annotate
Making notes is crucial. Read your texts, pick out the relevant points, underline, highlight, annotate. Get your notebook out and write down the most important points. When I have finished reading a chapter, I usually summarise it in my own words in my notebook. It is always good to test your memory – especially if you are revising for an exam.
Recently, what I have been doing to my textbooks is page marking them with a colourful page marker. For example, I am studying Media Law and there are chapters I need to read but because there is a lot and I cannot possibly cover all of them in one day, I get out a page marker and stick the marker onto the end of the chapter. This reminds me that I need to read that chapter soon. This trick is very helpful.
Ask for Help
At university, when you are in the middle of an assignment, you will have seminars – which is a class after your lecture with a small group and everyone must participate and during this time, you can ask for extra help for your assignment. Go to them and ask for help if you need it.
In my case, I do go to my seminars but even though it is a small group, I still feel quite anxious asking for help around other students, so I usually book a personal tutorial with my lecturer so I can have a one to one session/seminar with them and that helps me a lot. If you have issues with anxiety, I would really reccomend this.
Take a Break
Do not just study all day with no breaks. Take a 5 – 10 minute break every 15 – 20 minutes or so. This is important because it relieves stress and it gives you time to take in everything you have just learnt.
…Finally not everyone will benefit from this form of studying because I do understand that life can get in the way. It is up to you to develop a study routine that will work for you. If you are serious enough to do well in your studies, you will put the time and effort into developing a well structured study plan.