10 study tips from a once procrastinator
It is about that time when most university students are working hard to make final deadlines and preparing for finals. I can’t say that I was always the model student. There were times that I would rather watch tv than sit and go over the notes from class. That has since changed, but I do understand what it is like to be the number one procrastinator.
Tip 1 (in this truly inexhaustible list):
- Don’t wait until the end of the semester to go over notes. How many times have you heard your lecturers saying that? Well I have and at one point I just felt that they were being a nuisance, but it actually is better to review notes daily than trying to do so at the end of the semester. Plus, the lecture will be fresh in your mind and the notes will make sense to you. Sacrificing an hour (or three) to revisit those textbooks, study material and reading lists will prepare you for those assignments.
- Use apps such as Evernote to organise your lecture notes.
- Visit your lecturers, supervisors or tutors as early as possible if you have concerns or difficult with classes or material that was taught. Don’t wait until the end of the semester to realize that you have not grasped a concept. It is so much harder to play the game of catch-up than to the front runner.
- I actually become more creative when I am dancing or pacing around the room. Sitting in one position for too long is not very good for your back or your mind. Try instead to move around, change location, take a walk to get the blood flowing again. A study by Dr. Chuck Hilman showed that 20 minutes exercise before a test helped raise test scores. The children in the study had more activity in the regions of the brain that dealt with attention and filtering distractions. This compared to the scores of the children who did no activity before a test. So why not take a jog or some yoga before attempting to study?
- Recording your notes/lectures can help you focus more and actually stay awake while studying. There are so many times that I miss something during lectures but because I have recordings, it is so much easier to replay. Taking notes is also handy because you can review them while on the on the way to school, while driving or even jogging. Notes can be easily exported to a phone, tablet or an MP3 player.
- Find the perfect time and place to study. Some students can study in a noisy environment while others find it very distracting. Finding the right place to get your work done is key. If you must study on a noisy campus, find an isolated spot on campus to avoid distractions.
- Rest. If your body is tired it will be very difficult to focus on an assignment. Sleep deprivation + work = less focus. This is not a good equation. There will be days that every student inevitably has to pull the famous ‘all-nighter’, but it should not become a habit. Additionally, taking breaks in between studying is very important. Breaks allow your brain to process the information, to rest and to refresh.
- Mind-mapping and flash cards are an easy ways of putting your thoughts together and developing them further. Mind 42 is an a good application to try. It allows you to create mind maps in the form of lists, thought clouds and list.
- Studying in groups can be very helpful. Sometimes concepts that you have difficulty understanding can be easier explained in a study group. However it is very important to find the right group members and it should not be the only method of studying.
- Eat well. Energy drinks, caffeine and sugar are not very helpful — the high that they provide slowly fades away, leaving you just as tired. It is important to have a healthy diet in order for your brain to learn. Make sure you consume enough fruits and vegetables (although as a student this is sometimes very difficult).