Study Tips for Students: 4 Effective Ways To Study

Let’s face it. Sometimes getting zoned in to start studying can be hard. And sure, why not? Procrastination is easy. After all, it’s far easier to do nothing than it is to do something.

That’s why as you face down your first college paper, first blue book exam, or first midterm, you may find yourself slipping down the procrastinators path, putting it all off till last minute instead of facing it head on.

But as you do start to face it, here are some effective study tips to help you zone in to tackle the hard stuff.

1. Time, Time, Time

Give yourself plenty of time in advance. It’s amazing how fast the day or night before a big test can fly by without you noticing. Start going over notes or drawing up a an outline for your paper a few weeks in advance. Lay out a game plan that’s easy not only to read, but also to execute.

The goal is to make the process of studying a seamless, simple experience, so you can devote all of your brain power to the hard stuff: actually studying.

2. Phase Out Distractions

Social media can absolutely kill time, and sometimes not in a good way. If you’re like me, you’ve at one point or another looked up from the unending spiral of YouTube videos you’ve just watched, the myriad BuzzFeed articles you’ve read through, or the countless tweets you follow, and found that, holy crap, where did the last three hours go?

It’s easy to keep your Facebook page open on a tab in your browser and check it every so often. It’s easy to follow a link one of your friends just posted. But does it help you get your work done? Does it benefit you and make studying easier and faster? No, not by a long shot. Put your cell phone on airplane mode, forbid yourself from logging into Facebook, log out of Twitter, make it hard for distractions to enter your studying airspace. The less that can come in, the more you can focus on the task at hand.

3. The Library: Friend and Foe

I always made for the campus library when it came time to buckle down and get serious about studying. Something about the unending stacks of books makes studying seem more authentic than if you were sitting at Starbucks or in your dorm room.

The problem is, so does the rest of campus. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s easy to get distracted when there’s a lot going on around you. You may see some classmates or friends and need to chat or spend more time thinking about what type of espresso latte you want to get as opposed to the studying itself.

If you head to the library, have a plan of action. Bring any supplies with you (food, water, coffee, etc.), find an out of the way desk or table near the books or materials you may need to use the most so you don’t need to range too far for them. In short, let the library feed into your studying experience, not you feeding into the atmosphere of a busy library.

4. Stay Positive!

I can’t count how many times I’ve said, I’m dead, I’m going to fail, I’m screwed, when it came to studying for an exam or paper. But all that stress and worry did was make me more stressed and more worried and make me want to put off studying even more. So stay positive as you prepare to tackle your assignment. The more you tell yourself that you can do it, that, after all, you wouldn’t be here at this university if you weren’t a smart individual, the more you can feel good about yourself and about the task at hand.

So start with the areas you’re awesome at or know back and to front and work your way slowly to the harder stuff. Reward yourself for correct answers with study breaks or a snack. Keep telling yourself that you are going to own this exam, not the other way around.

Studying can be daunting. It can be hard. But with a little preparation before hand, you can put yourself in a position to tackle just about anything college throws at you.

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Jared Gerling

Jared Gerling

Jared Gerling earned his BA from Michigan State University. Jared has been writing since he was eleven when all his characters had swords and magic spells and bad attitudes. When not writing or studying, he can be found watching Spartan football and basketball games, reading, or working out. Jared currently lives in Chicago pursuing his MA in Writing in Publishing from DePaul University.
Jared Gerling

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