Studying - it's the bane of students everywhere. Learning is the bee’s knees, but studying for a test or an exam is just downright stressful, don’t you think?
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you some of my own personal tips that I use when I study. Following these pointers have netted me a consistent A average over the last 3 years, so there’s your proof of them working their magic!
1. Plan Your Agenda
As you go back home after a school day, don’t just sit in the car and doze off. Instead, use the time to figure out what tasks you can complete today. Whether it’s working out or finally completing that darned Physics worksheet, an agenda is vital in ensuring you know what to do, and when to do it. It's a visual framework of what you want to accomplish on that particular day, and what steps you will be taking in order to achieve it.
Personally, I like to categorise my tasks in 4 different quadrants, as shown below. This group of 4 is also known as the Eisenhower Decision Matrix (the name isn’t important - I just like to appear incredibly smart - it’s how you apply it in your daily life that counts).
Besides the matrix, you can always go with the tried and true timetable. When it comes to me though, I dislike having a strict schedule. In fact, all the timetables I’ve made - I've never followed. But even though it doesn’t work for me, it might work for you. My advice? Experiment. Try out all the time management methods out there. See what works for you.
Additionally, utilise your smartphone. Check out some to-do list apps, like Google Keep or Wunderlist. Use student apps like Student Agenda to plan out your timetable. Make your phone work for you, instead of the other way around.
2. Have An Optimal Study Environment
An environment that brings out your productive side is ideal when studying, as you can remember facts better and get more things done that way. Again, everyone has their own preferences. Whether it’s working in a silent, quiet room or the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop, you need to find out what works best for you. Here’s what I do: I lock myself in my room, turn off all electronics, and start studying. Break for 10 minutes after a 25 minute session, and continue like that for around 2 hours.
I’d just like to stress the importance of turning off electronics. No matter who messages you: your boyfriend, girlfriend, father, mother, just ignore all of them and continue on with your work. In fact, just avoid all forms of social media while you study. There’s an ulterior motive here, which is training yourself to be more disciplined and crushing the habit of instant gratification.
3. Listen to Your Teachers
Sounds cliché, doesn’t it? Truth is, this is key to understanding your own grasp of a concept. Sure, you can go through the material yourself and it makes sense at first. Then, during your trials you just stare at the paper and have no idea what to write. Congratulations, you just fell down the pit of overconfidence. I guarantee you that this won't happen if you pay attention in class and not rely only on yourself and your tuition teachers. Your teachers are the ones setting your exams, right? Not you, nor your tuition teachers.
Your teachers are perfectly qualified to assist you to the best of their ability. From what I’ve learnt, it’s good to know how to take advantage of such an amazing asset and not let it go to waste. Use every opportunity available to you and ask them about what you’re unsure of. “But Daniel, I don’t know what I don’t know!”, you say. Well, I’ve heard that many times before. What I can say is this: try explaining a concept to a friend, or to your teacher. If you struggle to do it or if there’s some holes in your explanation, then that means you still haven’t fully mastered that particular concept yet. Not to worry though, practice makes perfect.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you ever find yourself at an impasse - study wise, ask for assistance! Whether you can’t solve this probability question, or explain why the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, your friends, your teachers, the Internet are all here to help and guide you. Don’t worry if you think your question is stupid. Just ask, and you shall receive an answer, one way or another. Don’t worry about rejection. (If you do, my advice is to read Andrew’s article about it, right here on this site!) At the end of the day, what you should worry about is how much you understand what you’re studying.
That’s all from me, folks. I hope you took something away from this article, and I wish you all the best in your studies!