My top 5 most effective study strategies

My top 5 most effective study strategies

Although studying can be a pain, I’ve discovered a few strategies that help me stay focused and avoid distractions. Some of the distractions that college students are likely to face include phone notifications buzzing, conversations with friends, loud music playing or high-pitched noises. These distractions can easily derail you and begin a downward spiral of unproductivity. While it seems impossible to stay focused, the solution to effective studying is to find strategies that work best for you. I created a list of my top five most effective studying strategies that can lead to focused, productive studying sessions and allow for better memory capacity so you can ace any exam.

1. Choose your study location carefully

It is important to choose a location that is quiet, has minimal activity and is a place you are comfortable with. Your study location can greatly impact whether you’re going to do well on an exam because your exam success depends on how much information you retain from that study session. If you live at home or off-campus, it is important to find a location such as the library to study, so you can avoid loud siblings or roommates who can easily interrupt your studying. The library is also great if you live on campus because of the access to resources and quiet rooms. It is also handy to know your roommate’s schedule, so you can map out your studying times for when they’re not home. Plan your studying location very seriously because, if you don’t, you can find yourself wasting a whole day’s worth of studying because you couldn’t focus in the area you chose.

2. Study in a group at least once before the exam you’re taking

I can’t tell you how many times doing this has saved my grade. Often times, students think they know how to do a certain topic on the upcoming exam and therefore they don’t study those topics, yet when they get their exam grade back they realize they have been doing those topics incorrectly all along. Don’t be that student. Meet in a group with your peers and ask them about each topic, even if you think you know how to do it. You might find another student’s understanding of the course concepts and methods might be easier or more effective than yours.

3. Highlight the important sections of your notes, read them aloud and then speak them to a friend

Because studying can feel so daunting and stressful it is easy for students to not know where to start. The first step should always be reviewing your notes and highlighting the most important sections. You can also ask your peers which chapters they are concentrating on to give you insight on whether the sections you chose are important. Once you are done mapping out the important sections, you should begin reading your notes aloud. Research has shown that speaking what you’ve studied out loud to a friend or yourself increases your memory of the subject and therefore makes your studying session more effective. Although it isn’t the most conventional way of studying, talking to yourself or your friend about what you’ve studied could actually save your grade.

4. Speak to your professors a week before the exam.

Never forget that professors are there to help you and want to see you succeed in their class. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarifications during your professor’s office hours because it shows you are dedicated and that you will put in extra work to do well in their class. It’s also good to show your professors you care about what they’re teaching, you want to truly grasp the material and you are working to build a strong relationship.

5. Study in one-hour intervals with 15 minute breaks in between, and create a study routine

Taking breaks while studying is critical to effective learning so you don’t get burned out or lose focus. It is important to give your brain a break, and a few minutes away from your notes can also function as a wake up call in case you’re getting tired. Keep a timer during these breaks and walk around, talk to friends, get a snack or send a few messages. Just don’t forget to get back into the groove as soon as the timer is done.

Bonus tip: Create a routine.

After figuring out which study strategies work best for you, make it a routine. Routines train your brain so the good habits you create will stick. This can ultimately make studying easier because your brain has built a habit for these newly founded study strategies.

If you use these tips, you’ll be ready to prepare for and ace any exam. Now, go out and study!

Nick Nahas is a freshman at the David Eccles School of Business. He is an intern for the Marketing + Communications team. He is also majoring in QAMO at the David Eccles School of Business.

2018-08-10T16:34:16-06:00August 6th, 2018|

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