Monday, 6 April 2015

10 Studying Tips

Hey guys,
So it's that horrid time again - exams are approaching and I have already started to study for them. I thought I would share my tips and tricks on how to study and also the lifestyle changes that you should implement to fully absorb all that new information.

1) Keep Hydrated
Studying is mentally draining and so, just like when you work out, your body needs to keep hydrated. They say that you should drink two litres of water a day and when you are studying it's easier to get to that amount if the water is accessible to you and keeping a glass or a bottle near you will help you to reach for it whenever you feel thirsty and even when you don't. Just remember that more water = happier brain =  fully absorbing information.

2) Exercise
I bet I am not the only one who has fallen off this bandwagon, but recently I have been trying to climb back on. The reason why exercise is so important is because it helps to get rid of stress which is needed if an exam is approaching. Not only this, but studying usually consists of sitting down a lot which means that we are being way less active than we usually are. I know that when I haven't exercised I feel sluggish and lazy, which can carry-over to how I study and so I really try to incorporate some form of exercise into my day. Also exercising, at least for me, makes me want to eat healthier so that's another plus.

3) Food
When studying, snacking isn't ideal because you aren't aware of how much you are eating due to your attention being (hopefully) elsewhere. I know for me that snacking actually distracts me from my work so what I tend to do now is eat properly before I study, this way I am already full and won't need to snack anyway. If I want to have a break later on then I will grab some fruit, eat it, and then carry on. So my advice is to eat beforehand, and to perhaps plan out what you are eating so you are sure that you are eating a nice mix of things.

4) Music
Music helps me concentrate. If you are like me and find it weird to study in complete silence then I recommend playing classical music. Instrumentals, such as classical music are the best because anything with lyrics will definitely be the opposite of helpful. Also, if you can try to get long pieces of music because fiddling around with songs gets distracting too, or just stick it on repeat. My personal favourite pieces to listen to is Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy and Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven.

5) Write, write and write again
So for paper based exams where you have to write, I make sure that I have personally handwritten all the information again and again, I do this because I find that I will know how to express things just flows nicer and quicker too. Also reciting things again and again is the best way to remember things even if it kills my hand. I love these record cards from Ryman! They come in four different colours so I can colour code my modules.

6) What person are you?
I'm a morning worker, I study the best in the early hours so I try to be working by 9am and because I know this I can utilise this. Try to find out what works for you and try to study in that period of time, I know a few of my friends are night workers and they get a lot done when other people are sleeping. Once you figure this out, try to build your routine around it so you can know exactly how much time you will spend studying - this is my next point. 

7) Time, and I mean a lot of time.
When it gets closer to the exam, you really need to dedicate a lot of your time to studying (and not just rewriting notes). I usually find that I can't get a lot done if I have just an hour, so really plan out your time well, if you have some errands to do then plan when you will take care of them. Because I am a morning worker, I will usually take care of other things in the late afternoon depending on how big of a job it is. Sometimes I like to get the other stuff out of the way first so I can truly spend the rest of my time on work. As long as you plan your time and know that you have spent enough time studying then that's all that matters.

8) Goals
So this goes hand in hand with my last point, I like to set myself daily goals on what I would like to get done - whether I want to rewrite three lectures in that day or just one. This is really good, at least for me, because you feel happy when each goal is completed. This doesn't have to be just for studying, I do this for my daily life too, today's goal is to put up this blog post for example. I find by doing this things do actually get done  and because things get done it also means you have some time to spare!

9) Motivation
So sometimes studying is something that you do not want to be doing. I get like this sometimes - all I want to do is sleep or read a book and do anything else but study. But you need to remind yourself why you are even studying at all. What gets my butt in gear is thinking about the grade I want to get at the end of my degree. You know what you are working towards - just remind yourself of what that is. Heck, even stick it on anything you look at daily - like your mirror or phone. If you lose motivation then think of the consequences of that. Another good way of maintaining that motivation is to reward yourself, this is something that I do constantly - If I think I deserve it then I will go ahead and buy it whether it be make-up, clothes, books or food. It doesn't have to be about buying stuff but just taking the time out to do something that you enjoy, for example if I finish everything before 5pm then I can read my favourite book or watch a movie with my friends. If you complete your goals then you feel better about yourself and can enjoy yourself much more knowing that you are done for the day.

10) Relax
Working 24/7 isn't going to help you. You need to make sure that you relax in order to perform as backwards as that sounds. Give yourself breaks in between studying. If I rewrite a lecture (my life at the moment), then after I have completed it I'll go watch one or two YouTube videos before starting the next lecture. Taking these breaks just means that my brain can concentrate for longer, it's like that whole Turtle and Hare race. Just take whatever breaks you need in order to perform and you'll find that you pay attention and digest the information better than someone who is rushing. 

Studying seems to be all I have been doing lately and I know people wonder how I have enough steam to get on with it and this post is basically it. I hope that this helps you guys, even if it is just keeping a glass of water next to you or going on an evening run after a long day. If you do have exams approaching then I wish you good luck :)
Do you have any more tips to share?
Thanks for reading,


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