How to Study Effectively | The Definitive Guide for Success
Studying can be very difficult. Sometimes you can’t focus, you have little motivation or you’re just tired. Is there a way to study better? How can you optimize to get the most out of your time?
In our modern day world of fast-paced work and expectations of high productivity, we’re all struggling to keep up and do things efficiently.
Here are the top tips and methods that will help you understand how to study more effectively. These tips and methods and practical and straightforward, and can be practiced by anyone at all.
Remove Distractions to Study Effectively
When you’re distracted you just can’t study properly. So get rid of distractions. The first thing to remove is sound. This could be the sound of people talking, music, or other factors. You could either move to a location with less sound, stop playing music, or put on some headphones.
Secondly, there is social media. This is one of the most addictive distractions of our lives. We can barely live without it. If you’re using your laptop block all forms of entertainment. Block anything entertaining you don’t need for studying.
This means websites like:
If you’re not using your laptop or your phone to study. Turn those devices off as well. Store them somewhere that is not easy for you to access. Whatever emails or text messages that can be replied later, deal with them later!
These are the more obvious and louder distractions you might have. There are also more subtle distractions to remove.
What are these subtle distractions? They’re clutter. Clutter can be anything piling up on your desk in front of you. Tissues, food, paper, and clothes. Remove all these items you don’t need for studying from your desk. Having a clean desk will put your mind more at ease, and allows it to feel less overwhelmed in your study environment.
The same goes for window tabs on a laptop. Remove all unnecessary window tabs. Declutter every your laptop so you don’t have to look and face a blizzard of useless information and visuals.
Eat Better to Study Better
One huge problem people face is always feeling tired when studying. They just can’t focus. When it gets really stressful before exams or tests, certain lifestyle habits can help you study more effectively.
Start eating better. This means that your diet will affect your productivity. What you eat makes a huge difference on your concentration.
Stop eating refined carbs. This means things like white bread, white rice, processed foods or anything with processed sugars. These foods are addictive, convenient and cheap to buy, however, they are horrible for your study sessions.
If you eat too much refined carbs, your blood sugar levels will go up a lot. This will result in you entering a “crash”, where you feel a huge drop of energy. You might also start feeling sluggish.
Instead of these foods, eat more fruits, leafy vegetables, and unrefined carbs. Drink more water and don’t overeat. A hearty meal might satisfy you in the moment, however, it could result in a crippling food coma.
Next lifestyle habit is sleeping better. Having good quality sleep matters. Even when you’re not sleeping much during exam periods, you should focus on creating a good sleep environment.
- Ensuring Minimal sound
- Ensuring Minimal light
- Limit caffeine and alcohol before bed
- Limite interaction with electronic devices.
Methods to Study Smarter
This helps you to visually consolidate all your ideas into one place. Use an actual board, word document, or any file format to jot down all your ideas. This method might work best for visual learners, however, it could still benefit any person learning multiple concepts at a fast pace.
An idea board is different than the average note-taking method. Instead of writing down and recording what is presented in class, an idea board does much more. It is superior in the sense that it connects ideas and forms a new understanding between new concepts. This could help accelerate the learning process, and be useful in a short study period before an exam or test.
Here are some practical steps on how to have a good idea board.
- Paraphrase the notes you write down first
- Comment and elaborate on the notes you wrote.
- Make a practical connection with other concepts by writing it out.
Become the Teacher
Once you understand how to make connections between concepts, it is time to take it to the next level.
Master a subject by teaching someone about the concepts you learned. Find a study partner and have them roleplay as your student. Your study session will be you teaching them all the concepts you need to know for your exam.
Add a level of difficulty to this exercise as well. Create a lesson plan for your student partner. Ask your study partner to challenge or ask you questions regarding the material.
This method will further your internalization process of certain concepts. Through practice, you also start to sharpen your understanding of a certain subject.
Become the Expert
You may be good at teaching concepts to somebody. But after a while, this may feel like you’re just rehearsing lines to someone. This method may not apply to anything you’re studying, but it could add another layer of mastery.
You practice this method through real-life application of what you studied. The more real-life application your content can have on you, the better it is.
If you’re studying physics, then you can take real-life situations and apply the concepts you learned to a moving object.
If you’re studying economics, then you can do a real-life application of such concepts to current market shifts and changes going on.
Take more study breaks
It may sound counterintuitive but study breaks will improve your ability to absorb more material. Although memory retention is not the only ingredient you need to perform well for an exam, it is still important when you have a lot to remember.
Our brains absorb the most during the beginning and end of each session. The break itself can be as short as 1-5 minutes.
When you’re losing concentration, instead of taking a nap, meditate. It is better to meditate for an energy recharge.
Sit down and close your eyes, and stay still. Breathe and bring your awareness to how your breath travels. Don’t control your breathing, just be aware of how it travels. Feel how your chest rises up and down.
Meditation is also known to bring down stress levels and clear the mind. This will definitely help with your next study session effectively.