- Study every day
If you study a little bit every day you’ll be continually reviewing things in your mind. This helps you understand things. It also helps you avoid the stress of last-minute cramming.Early in the year an hour or two a night might be enough to stay on top of things. Later in the year you might need to study more each day.If you’re finding it hard to find time to study, cut back on some (but not all!) of your other activities. Prioritising study might mean spending less time online, or it might mean cutting back on shifts at work, or giving weekend sport a miss for a while.
- Plan your time
Set alarms – Set alarms to remind you about your study plans. A regular reminder keeps you honest and your plans on track.
Use a wall planner – Stick a calendar or wall planner up so you can see it whenever you’re studying. Mark it up with important dates, like exams and assignment due dates. Use it to block out your regular study timetable too.
Make to-do lists – Lists break tasks down into manageable chunks. At the start of the week, make a list of the things that you need to have done by the end of the week. Make a to-do list at the start of each study session too, so that you’re clear about what you need to be doing with your time.
Set time limits – Before you start your study session, have a look at your to-do list and give yourself a set time to spend on each task. If you don’t get something done in the set time, consider whether it’s the best use of your time to keep going with it, or to start working on something else.
- Change your surroundings
Sticking to your favourite desk in your favourite corner of the library may be comfortable for you, but interestingly, that comfort can somewhat numb your brain. It’s been found that changing your study surroundings forces your brain into reforming new memories, meaning that you’re more likely to retain information when it’s collected in a fresh setting.
- Stop the all-nighters
Our bodies need time to rest and recuperate in order to properly function during the day. And while we’re resting, our brain actually strengthens and reaffirms the new memories we’ve collected through our day. To study effectively, good sleep is a must.
- Review and test yourself regularly
Also essential for retaining information you learn, as well as gaining a deep understanding of it, is to review on a regular basis. Reviewing can include things like reading over or condensing your notes. One of the best ways to review is to do practice questions and test yourself. Testing yourself is a great way to spend review time, as it allows you to determine knowledge gaps. This is a good idea for any class, not just problem-solving classes.