This article contain 17 easy steps on how to study effectively from the start to the finish.
It is one thing to study and another thing to study effectively. Many times, people study only when they have an examination to prepare for and even at that, oftentimes it is always surprising to see that a lot of people who parade themselves to have studied hard end up performing poorly and the question always asked is “what happened to the long hours of study?”
Too often people imagine that long hours of studying is all there but then there is more to effective study than spending the whole of 24/7 studying.
Study is therefore defined as the application of the mind and the devotion of time and attention to the gaining of knowledge especially by means of reading books.
Due to the misunderstanding a lot of people have about studying, this article will be focusing more on how to study effectively. The aim of this is to help people not to waste too much time in the name of studying and in the end have nothing to show for it but to study effectively and in turn have a positive result.
STEPS ON HOW TO STUDY EFFECTIVELY
Therefore, below are easy ways to study effectively.
BEFORE YOU STUDY
1. Know Your Purpose for Studying
Why are you reading that particular book? Are you reading it for fun, to get information, or to prepare for examinations?
Knowing your goal for studying helps you to have a direction while studying; it also helps the reader to know the style to apply. In other words, understanding your purpose or goal for picking studying, is the first step towards studying effectively.
2. Have a Planner/Timetable
On no account has it been heard that a traveler or driver who is not conversant with a particular location moves alone without a road map. So also is the same for reading. Hence, in studying effectively the first thing to do is to have a planner or study schedule as it will help you to know exactly what you are reading and the areas to concentrate on. In all, know what works best for you and apply it.
3. Know Your Best Study Time
Every individual has the best time of the day the study and understand at ease. Depending on individuals, there are people that enjoy reading at midnight, early mornings and daytime.
Personally, my best study time is either at the early hours of the morning or in the day time. That is what I call prime time.
4. Get Rid Of Distractions
Before deciding to study, it is believed that you have a purpose for doing so. Hence, before the commencement of study, ensure that every form of distraction has been eliminated.
Get rid of every form of distraction. Turn off the TV, shutdown the PC, put off chat notifications on your phone, etc. Also, the study area should be free from noise. A number of times, we tend to read and re-read one page of a book while studying but at the end of the day, there’s nothing to show. Sometimes, it’s the effect of distractions. Avoid being distracted for better results.
5. Stick With an Environment That Works
Just like there is a unique study time for everyone, there are particular environments that also work best for studying. Personally, I don’t enjoy studying in my room because I’m always tempted to lay on my well laid bed which will always result in sleep.
Therefore, if you have a good space at home or a café that is reliably a productive place for you, it makes sense to stick with this when you are under pressure. This is why you need to understand what works best for you.
6. Space Out Your Studying
The aim of studying is to acquire knowledge regardless of what you’re studying for. The major problem people have is in believing that one must spend hours studying. A lot of people spend time cramming and memorizing.
Doing this will only make you lose concentration which is much needed while studying. Therefore if you must study effectively, always learn to space your study time, so rather than spending an hour on one topic all on the same day, do half an hour the first day, 10 minutes after a day or two, 10 minutes a week or so later, 10 minutes the week before the exam.
Hurrying to finish up a topic or book most times isn’t an effective way to study.
7. Have Your Jotting Materials Handy
One of the ways to study effectively is to have writing materials handy. While studying, it is important to have them handy, there are salient points you may need to jot down. While it is good to mark out, ensure it is done neatly with a pencil and it must not be on every page of the book, so that it doesn’t put off the next reader. Some people understand more when they do this.
8. Use A Dictionary When Necessary
Some texts may contain unfamiliar vocabularies and in order to understand the paragraph containing such words, you will need to look up the meaning. Constant checking of the dictionary may turn out to be a distraction; this is why it has to be used when and where necessary.
9. Study Less, With Greater Intensity
In this era of social media and digital distractions, many individuals do a lot of multitasking. There is no way you can be studying and checking through social media platforms no matter how important what you intend checking is. Switching context is a total waste of time and a lot of distractions.
It constantly puts the brain u see pressure as it will always have to restart and refocus.
Using the case study below,
A student who is studying for but also checks his texts and scrolls through Instagram has a low intensity of focus. Though he spends 3 hours “studying,” his work accomplished is only an 8.
On the other hand, a student who takes steps to focus solely on what is to be studied has a high-intensity of focus of 10. Though the student spends only an hour studying, what was accomplished is certainly more than what the distracted classmate did in 3 hours.
With this discovery, many students or individuals have generally learned to avoid multitasking. Instead of spending a lot of time doing low-intensity work with many distractions people work for shorter periods at higher intensity, without any distractions.
10. Take Quality Breaks
Depending on the intensity of your work focus, your concentration span and what you’re studying for, endeavour to take a time out at least every 25-50 minutes to rest. The aim of taking a break is to allow your mind to rest without being pulled into a different world of distraction. Thus, avoid anything that will distract you such as turning on the TV, opening a game, emails or doing anything else that will break your focus.
11. Study with a Group
Studying in a group is a thing of choice. Not everyone enjoys studying in this manner. However, we with classmates encourage an interactive environment to keep you engaged. This gives you a chance to test your knowledge with others, quiz each other on the content, and help boost each other’s confidence but the trick to this is to first study alone, take notes of things you find difficult to understand and then present it to your study partners for discussion
12. Listen To Calming Music
There are lots of people who cannot study without a headset on or music playing in the background. This may not work for everyone but if you are in this category, you can listen to any music of your choice though classicals and instrumentals are best options because songs with lyrics can be distracting.
13. Summarize the Text
This is the best way to know if the text was understood. Summarize the text in your own words, not forgetting to refer to the places that were marked out and jotted down. They usually help in having a good summary after reading.
14. Memorize If Need Be
Committing to heart whatever has been read is an understanding technique of some people. This helps a reader to assimilate what has been read.
15. Do Self Examination
After studying any book especially for reasons beyond reading for fun, it is always important to go through self-examination. It is not out of place to set questions for oneself after reading. Your ability to answer them correctly shows how well you studied.
Having given a set of practice questions your best shot, assume the role of an examiner. Take a different pen and mark your work. Learn to use the mark schemes if you have access to them. Figure out where you picked up marks, where you fell short.
Many students skip this step, but it’s a brilliant way to learn what the examiner wants to see, and therefore how you can write answers that will leave the examiner with no option than to award you full marks.
16. Have Fun
For many individuals, it is a norm to set a reward for them even before studying. Doing this is a visit to stay focused. For instance, the reward could be to see an interesting movie or eat a delicious meal after successfully completing a chapter of a book in an hour.
Because you wouldn’t want to miss seeing the movie, your mind will be fully focused on how to meet up the target. This has worked for me and others. It is a proven way to study effectively.
17. Practice, Practice and Practice
Remember, before gold became what it is, it was made to pass through fire. It didn’t just become gold. There are people you may admire for their ability to study effectively. Some of these people had the same problem of reading without understanding at some point but with regular practice, they were able to improve beyond measures.
Many people use learning techniques that are time consuming and while making one look like a professor. The aim of studying is to know something for a long period of time and for a short duration This is why a lot of people only become familiar with ideas and information in preparation for a test, but forget it a week later because their study pattern was ineffective.
Therefore Ineffective study techniques can include:
- Studying a single subject for a long period of time and repeating phrases over and over to memorize them. This is also known as “cramming”
- Studying for long periods of time
- Reviewing one topic repeatedly before moving onto another topic
- Reading and book only to realize that we didn’t retain a single concept or key point presented in those paragraphs. To show your students how to combat this, have them utilize intentional learning strategies. These include relating what is being learned to prior knowledge, thinking about how they would explain the content to a 5-year-old, and reflecting on and asking questions about the content.
Studying can be boring especially when we are made to read what doesn’t interest us. But still, having in mind the importance of studying, one needs to devise a means to enjoy studying. Discover what works for you in terms of studying.
If you have been studying but have no results to show for it, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re simply not doing something right. You’re probably not studying effectively because it is a skill that is developed over time.
This article may not contain all there is to studying effectively, but it will certainly go a long way to help in this regard.
Lastly, bear in mind that studying hard is quite different from studying smart. If you have been spending the whole of 24 hours on one topic without taking breaks to recharge, you’ve simply been studying hard and that yields nothing.
Therefore, always aim at studying smart by having a study schedule which must include short breaks, get rid of distractions and multitasking, have study materials handy and above all, change the mindset that studying round the clock is synonymous to effective studying.
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Leonel has been Teacher at Alliant International University since 2013. He began to write about admission details at Course Discovery.