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For some young people, studying can seem like such a daunting and impossible task. However, the good news is that studying can be easily done if you figure out ways to study that work for you. When it comes to studying, there is no one conventional way to study, and what may work for someone else may not work for you.
Here are some useful study methods that you can explore to help you get the most out of your study sessions.
Before getting into a study routine or practice, it is good to understand and know how you operate with regards to studying and what things work best for you as an individual. You can do a short S.W.O.T (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of yourself and your academic career and from there determine how best to proceed with applying certain study methods to suit you.
Create a productive environment
Where you study is just as important as how you study. Finding a productive place to study really does make a world of difference between a progressive study session and one where you are wasting your time. It is always helpful to filter out things that can distract you like TV, your cellphone, areas where there is too much noise etc. Find a study spot in places like your school library, a quiet room at home, an empty classroom after school, a quiet cafe or a quiet area in your schoolyard. However, don’t limit yourself to one study space. A change of scenery once a while will also keep your mind refreshed and energized.
Create a study schedule
This might seem like added work but this is another useful approach to studying. Having a pre-planned study schedule helps your mind to be better prepared to study and creates a routine that you can adjust to. Consistency is key, and setting aside a specific time to study is very important. The hours that you choose to allocate to studying depend on you as a person and how long your concentration can keep up.
Set goals for your study session
Write down the topics or sections you wish to cover during each study session, and in doing so, you can monitor your progress and learn to manage your time effectively. This becomes very effective when taking your tests or exams, as you are better prepared with allocating time to certain questions and not panicking about whether the time given in your tests or exams is enough. It is also helpful for you to know the subjects and topics you are strong in and those that you need to work on so that you can decide how much time you will spend working either one.
Take short breaks
Do not overwork yourself and allow yourself to take much needed short breaks. When you do feel you are repeating certain information and there is no progression, take a 10-15 minute break and give yourself some time to regroup and rest your brain. Remember, it is about productivity and maximising on the studying. Rushing to complete your studying without retaining any of the information is pointless. Work hard, but also work smart.
Take practice tests
Most schools do make past test and exam papers available. Use these to practice and apply the knowledge you have retained from your study sessions. You can either take a past test/exam paper after every study session or take one at the end of the week to also gauge how well you are able to remember all the work you have covered in the last week. You can also ask your teachers to make mock tests/exams if they are able to and this will give you good practice and a good general idea of what to expect in the final test/exam paper that will be set.
Get into a study group
Study groups are very useful as they provide several benefits that studying alone may not. For one, you and your fellow study peers can each designate set topics and subjects to cover and when you reconvene to discuss, you are able to share and cover more information collectively and have open discussions about subjects and topics you may not understand. Study groups also help with regulating your study sessions and incentivising you to do the work allocated to you because you are accountable to not only yourself but to your peers as well. Another benefit is that these particular group sessions help with teaching you how to work together in a group context.
Make study notes
This may or may not seem obvious but some students think reading the material once or twice over is sufficient enough. However, taking notes and phrasing them in ways that are easier for you to remember is an effective way to not forget what you have read. You can make your own small study flashcards which you write on and can carry with you. When you have a moment and feel you want to refresh your mind and you’re not in your usual study space, you can take them out and go over the content you wrote. Flashcards are convenient because you don’t have to flip through pages to find what you want. You can highlight the topics on the cards and make the cards as fun and easy to read as you want. You can even put some of them up in your room for the subjects and topics that you need to constantly go over.
Revise your work
Getting yourself to study is only part of making yourself more effective and familiar with your subjects and topics. You also need to revise the work continually in order to maintain your momentum as well as progress with retaining the information and improving overall. There are different ways you can do this. You can go over the work you have covered out loud in the comfort of your room or get a family member or friend to listen to you while you go over what you remember. You can also get them to ask you questions and with some of the content, you can record or get an audiobook and listen to it. What is important is making sure that you revise and go over your work often.
Have confidence in yourself
You have probably heard the popular phrase “nothing will work unless you do,” and this is definitely worth remembering. Have the confidence to believe in yourself in order to get the best out of what you are applying your mind to. Some study sessions may seem like a drag or difficult but always remember that you can do anything you apply yourself to, it is just a matter of trying and asking for help when you need it. You got this!
If you do find that you are not sure how to get started with a study schedule or how to approach studying as a whole, GT Scholars offers programmes that will definitely help you gain the confidence to approach studying, as well as tutors to help you make the most out of your study sessions. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.