Even though I hated studying with a passion I became quite good at it. So I thought I would share some of my study tips as some readers out there might like them or find them useful. If study time for you is worse than going to the dentist for a root canal, try some of the following as they might just help you as they helped me.
BeingMe’s/Debbie Nel’s study tips
1. If you find that you are slow at learning the vast amounts of work you need to know for an upcoming exam or test, try to make keyword notes as opposed to full study summaries. How this works is, you simply type/write keywords down pertaining to the section you are summarising. This is much faster and easier than making full summaries and you can turn learning into a game for yourself by trying to recall the full text (in your book) by looking at your keywords. Note, you should read through the chapter you are summarising with keywords a few times first before deciding on what/which keywords to take out/use. This will help you in the learning process a great deal as well (because by reading through the work to search for keywords to use, you are in actual fact starting the learning process). The keyword method makes your notes pages much shorter and easier to learn and revise. Note: I used to type/write my notes on coloured paper to make things more interesting for myself.
2. Always play soft classical or instrumental music in the background whilst learning/studying, even if you normally don’t listen to this type of music. This will help you to focus so much better on the content you are learning/studying or summarising, and also prevents boredom (to a degree).
3. Take lots of mini breaks while learning/studying. Every 30 minutes or so. During these breaks stretch your muscles. Mini breaks are essential since a brain that gets too tired (from constant learning) is useless. Tip: Why not colour in a picture from an adult colouring book, during your breaks? Adult colouring books are designed to relieve stress in adults and are quite therapeutic. They are available all over the internet. There are some good examples at Ali Express. Just go to the website and type “adult colouring books” in the search box.
4. Don’t always learn/study in the same areas. I found that I got really bored learning/studying by my desk all the time so I changed the areas I learnt in each time I studied. Try learning/studying on your bed, in the garden or even on the floor of your living room for a change.
5. Start studying/learning a few weeks before the time or better yet, at the beginning of the semester. This is hard to put into practice but trust me, it has many benefits. For example, you only need to study for an hour or two a day (depending on how much work you have to learn) and your written assignments become much easier to do because you will already have a good grasp of the learning content when you start them.
6. Make studying a bit more fun by writing/typing your notes/keywords in different colours, recording your notes/keyword summaries in a funny voice and playing it back to yourself and/or by drawing little pictures next to your summaries/keyword notes. The picture drawing method is a great learning tool, as it is much easier for many to remember the pictures (and their meanings) than it is to remember the text. Another thing I used to do and that you can try (if you are “adventurous” and silly like me), is to turn your difficult learning content into a song. Use the tune of your favourite song and turn the learning content into lyrics to that song. This works great if you love music. You don’t even have to record the song you just need to sing it to yourself. Note though that you get frowned upon by your lecturers if they catch you singing/humming to yourself in the exam room (I know), so rather sing to yourself in your head if you are trying to recall the work during the exam.
And that’s it. Those are all the tips I can remember for now. I will add others if any come to mind. Please try some (or all) of these and let me know which worked for you, also if you have any tips to add please do so (via comments). Remember you can comment anonymously if you don’t want to create a special account in order to comment and/or if you wish to remain incognito.
Good luck with your studying!
Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2016