Studying is boring. Studying is hard. I don’t want to study. Studying takes up too much energy. Yes, I’ve heard it all before and even, at times, have said these things myself. However, none of these things have to be your reality if and only if you put in place my 7 effective study tips.
My 7 effective study tips are realistic, doable, “no frills”, and easy to implement fast! So here goes…
Effective Study Tip #1: Review Your Schoolwork SAME DAY!!
The best way to retain the information you learnt that day in school is to review the notes you made that day as soon as you get home. No joke! Do not wait for another day that may never come…yep… you know exactly what I mean by that. So, as soon as you get home – do NOT turn on the tv and slouch down into the couch; do NOT start playing with the dog (or the cat…for the cat lovers out there); simply do NOT get distracted at all – grab a quick snack and get settled down to studying, whilst your mind is still in school mode.
Trust me it’s the best way to do it. Grab your notes for the day for each of your lessons. Start to go through them systematically. Rewrite any notes that you need to and organize all of your notes properly whether in your notebooks or subject folder [remember: you need a separate folder for each subject. This is vital in terms of organization of your material].
What is good about this “same day” note review effective study tip is that it will help you identify any areas of difficulties or misunderstandings straightaway. You can then try to work through the misunderstandings yourself, or with your Chelsea tutor, or when you are next in class you can ask your teacher about the specific thing you did not get. This means that you are nipping misunderstandings in the bud straightaway, and ensuring that they don’t snowball into something uncontrollable and goodness forbid result in you flunking the subject entirely. So, my advice… to prevent a calamity…review your school notes as soon as you get home.
Effective Study Tip #2: UnPlug, No Distractions, Do Not Disturb
Yes, yes I know for many students the thought of being away from their mobile phone, or some other gadget, for more than 5 minutes can literally be heart stopping. However, trust me… you WILL survive… your grades will thank you!
Look, it will not be for too long, just turn your phone on silent (if you can’t fathom the possibility of turning it off completely; yep, I get it) and leave it in another room, so you can’t see the screen blinking at you, tempting you to pick it up and look at the latest notification on whatever is happening in the world at the time. At least when it’s on silent in another room, all of the notifications will still be able to come through, phone calls from your friends will register, instagram, tiktok, you name it… will still come through to your phone and be patiently waiting for you once you are done studying. Moreover, your mind will be free to concentrate on the study task in front of you with the comfort of knowing that all of the “plugged distractions and frivolities” await you once you are done studying. Great, what peace of mind!
By the way, avoiding distractions also means those coming from family members within the home. Speak with your parents and other family members about having some quiet study time during the course of the day or evening. This timing is going to vary depending on your own household. If it is really challenging for you to get the quiet time you need when your family are around, consider getting up 1-2 hours earlier than the rest of your household so you can study in peace, or wait until the noisy family members go to bed and then study at that time. Either which way, it is imperative to carve out some no distraction, no disturbance study time.
Effective Study Tip #3: Play Some Music…Hold Up Wait a Minute…Say What?! But You Just Said…
Ok…ok…geez…let me explain why don’t you?! I know, I just told you about the virtues and necessity of having no distractions and no disturbances – and this all still stands.
However, it is also true that, at times, certain types of music can be great for quieting our minds. Listening to study meditation music, for example, can be great when organizing your notes or folders; it is peaceful and relaxing, and can really offer you a chilled atmosphere and take away the stress and pressure of studying.
My advice is, if you are so inclined, to listen to some study and meditation music when you are pottering around, sorting out your folders, and notes, and getting ready to sit down at your desk. This will help your brain to calm down and to feel at peace.
Once you feel calm and ready to cope with the study task in front of you, then turn off the study meditation music and give your full focus and full mental force to the material in front of you.
Effective Study Tip #4: Study Smells and Scents
Human beings have five main senses: taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. With that being said, having the right aroma permeating around you can create such a relaxing and calm study environment. Some people may like lavender or nag champ for their study scent. Both of these scents are very relaxing in nature. Other students may prefer lemongrass, eucalyptus, or peppermint which are scents that tend to revitalize the senses and, perhaps, are good for focus.
I think it’s a good idea to have a range of study scents depending on the mood that you want to create in your study domain at the time. Since no two days are the same. One day you may feel the need for lavendar to help calm your mind and nervous system. On another day, you may want to feel revitalized with peppermint or juniper.
Whichever your preferred study scent, on the day, ensure to use it as liberally as you need to get you into the right frame of mind to do your most effective study on that day.
Effective Study Tip #5: Study Environment – Organized and Clutter-Free
You need to study in a physical location that is conducive to studying. What do I mean by that? Well, you need a good desk and comfortable chair. Your desk and chair need to be at the right height and dimension for your physical structure, so that you are able to comfortably stay seated for, at least, 20-30 minutes at a time, for younger students. For older students, at least, 40-50 minutes at a time.
On your desk, keep it simple. You need a table lamp, a desk organizer, a tray or container to put your pens, pencils, ruler, etc. Do not clutter your desk.
After completing your study tasks, place your notes in the subject folder. If you have not finished the task and need to return to it the next study session, place the task in your desk organizer at the top, ready and waiting to be worked on when you get back.
Effective Study Tip #6: Getting Through Your Work
You need to be very logical in the way you go through your school work. Once you have rewritten and organized your school notes for the day – as discussed in effective study tip #1 above – you now need to move onto homework tasks due.
First and foremost, complete the easy tasks first. Once they are out of the way, you will feel much better because at least you will have something to hand into your teacher the next day!
Second, move onto the more challenging tasks. Now at this point, you may need to refer back to your notes (which you would have rewritten and organized previously; hence making it so much easier to find the information you are looking for… you see there is a method to my madness!); or, you may need to refer to a textbook; or, you may need help from a Chelsea tutor: all of which are perfectly fine.
Effective Study Tip #7: Mono-Task aka Focus on One Task at a Time
This is super simple. Concentrate on one task at a time. Complete that task and then…and only then…move on to the next task.
There is an exception to this study tip, however.
If, for example, you have hit a mental roadblock and you are unable to complete the task because you need your Chelsea tutor’s or teacher’s assistance, then it is okay to put the task away in its respective subject folder and move on to the next study task.
Certainly, do not sit and remain on a task that is causing you grief and anguish. Simply do what you can, make a note of what it is you do not understand, so that you are able to speak with your Chelsea tutor or teacher about the misunderstanding you are having. Once done making notes, put the task away…and then move on to the next homework task.