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Student Life

Study Tips That Improve Your Academic Performance

August 14, 2020

Sometimes it feels like your studies are completely overwhelming, and despite the dozens of hours you dedicate every week, that you simply can’t catch a break. Everyone feels like that sometimes, but you should make sure that you do everything you can to make your studying as easy as possible. And here are some tips to do just that:

  1. Figure out YOUR studying method.
  2. If you need help then ask.
  3. Stay Motivated.
  4. Enhance your memory.
  5. Study an effective amount of hours while also taking breaks.

With these simple tips you can radically improve your studying experience, and not just succeed in your academic journey but actually excel.

Best Study Methods

While many people claim there are set “best methods” that you should use to study this isn’t really true. While there are study methods that can work for most people, the most important thing is to figure which study methods work best for you. There are a bunch of factors and decisions you should consider before you just start studying.

Visual Versus Auditory

A simple initial question that will help you figure out your ideal method is figuring out if you are an auditory or visual learner. Do you find it easier to absorb information when it is relied on visually, either through notes or mind maps. Perhaps someone reciting the information, or asking you questions that work better for you.

Obviously this does not preclude you from using both methods, but you will find that you probably tend to prefer one method over the other. Once you know which of these work for you, it allows you to focus on the most effective study habits, and what exercises you should go through, to ensure you get the maximum amount of value out of your studying time.. Should you make recordings of yourself explaining the work, or mind maps illustrating the work? Do some simple tests to determine how you absorb the information, by trying both styles and then simply choose which is giving you the best results.

Early Bird Versus Night Owl

Another question you need to ask yourself is whether you are more productive during the morning or evening. 

While the generally accepted logic is that studying in the daytime is more effective, some people really do struggle with this and find themselves unable to wake up early enough to study, or even after waking up really struggling to get their brainworking  at 100% regardless of how much coffee they drink.

So don’t punish yourself, if you find yourself much more productive while working by candlelight late at night, then do that. Because it is about what works for you. The reverse is also true, if you find yourself unable to focus later in the day as you get tired, then don’t force yourself to stay up late. Rather go to bed early and then just also wake up early, even if it’s a bit earlier than you are used to, play to your strengths! Don’t let others ideas or opinions dictate what you should be doing.  I actually used to be a night owl but I have actually changed and became an early  bird! But its because of my experience studying late at night I decided to make a dark mode digital planner as I found that digital studying late at night really put a strain on my eyes! If there are some late night study sessions in your future then check out my dark mode planner!

Writing Versus Typing

Another question you need to ask is if you prefer taking notes via typing on your laptop, tablet etc, or if you work better with pen and paper notes. You will find many articles online explaining the benefits of writing out your work rather than typing it, and that it allows you to absorb the information. Once again this may be true for some people but does not take personal experience into account.

Many people who have absolutely terrible handwriting will struggle to take comprehensive notes, with pen and paper. So much so that when they try and revisit the notes they take, they even struggle to understand their own handwriting. Studying is often  difficult enough without having to try and decipher your own writing.

Another aspect to consider is which is quicker for you? While many people can type much faster than they can write, other people who aren’t experienced with computers may struggle to have their typing speed match their standard writing speed. This is a very important factor to consider especially when there is a large amount of work to get through. It may be worth it to make a decision solely on the speed boost it will give you.

Improve Your Studying Memory

Even after you have your ideal study method you need to consider whether you are making sure that you are actively taking in the information you have to study. And there are certain guidelines you should follow to make sure your memory is operating at peak efficiency.

What Helps Your Memory

The first and most important thing you should do to improve your memory is to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Lots of students sacrifice sleep to get in some extra studying hours, because  thats the life of a student. They are stressed and desperate to improve their chances of passing.

Yet these students are actually shooting themselves in the foot. When you are tired your brain does not process information nearly as effectively as when you are well rested. Studying for 8 hours at 100% is more effective than studying 10 hours at 70%. So take the extra two hours of sleep, and make sure you are giving your brain a fighting chance to absorb all the information you are feeding it.

Next tip, make sure you are staying well hydrated. Drinks lots of water, it’s one of the most basic bodily needs. So make sure you are drinking enough water.Make sure you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs, and not just chugging highly cafefinated drinks. They can be useful, but they are no replacement for water. 

Don’t Forego All Other Activities In Favour Of Studying

We have all made the mistake of ignoring everything else in our lives to focus on our studies, but some elements of our routine can actually help improve our memory and make studying easier.. Exercising a little bit everyday can help improve your memory and help relieve the stress build up that inevitably comes with exam season. Talking to friends, family or even yourself, through meditation or other self-reflection, ensures that you stay emotionally and mentally healthy.

What Is The Best Time To Study

Study tips

Many students question when the best time to study is, remember what time of the day to study is dependent on what time works best for you. A much moreinteresting question is when you should start studying for your exams.

Starting to study months before your exam can be just as dangerous as starting the day before, because it’s very common to start experiencing burnout, or to underestimate the work. It’s much better to get an understanding of the work and make notes as you go through it initially either through classes or based on your own study schedule. So that when you do actually come back to it, the work is familiar and you understand but you aren’t burnt out.

It makes much more sense to start seriously studying for an exam a between one or two weeks before you are actually writing. The trouble is that if you have multiple exams for different subjects, like many students do, then studying becomes a lot more difficult, which is why coping mechanisms, like proper study schedules, and making sure you are organised, are so important.

How Many Hours Should I Study

This is a question that many students ask themselves. And this is very dependent on your circumstances, unfortunately simply studying 5 hours a day on the weekdays, isn’t a good approach. You need to adapt your studying to fit what you need to get out of it. When your course, or term is starting it may be better to only study for two hours a day just keep up to date on what is being covered in class so that when it comes to having to really study, you are not feeling lost and overwhelmed. Then when it comes to exams it may be necessary to put in the dreaded 8 hours a day focussing on studying and cramming. The important thing to consider is to always judge what you need to be successful in your academic career. Studying 8 hours for the whole year will result in you burning out and studying three hours in the midst of exams is obviously irresponsible. So make the responsible choice, and adapt your studies accordingly. 

Do I Have To Study 8 hours A Day?

No you don’t have to. This may only be necessary when you are doping your final cram sessions before exams. 

Your Studies are YOUR OWN

 If there is one thing you should always remember is that your studying is about finding out what works best for you. Ignore all the people who tell you how you should be studying, and take that time to find out what works for you. 

If you are still exploring different study methods then maybe consider looking at digital planning. I have a whole range of Digital Planners, that can help you get started! 

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