Make the most out of the time you have
When you are in career school, you know it’s important to study, study and study. But what if you’ve never learned good study habits? What if you don’t know how to study effectively? You can spend many hours with your books open, but if you are studying inefficiently, you could be wasting your valuable time and may not even end up with the grades you want.
To maximize your time and get the most out of your study hours, try these tips.
- Sit in the front of class:
If you have a choice of where to sit in class, take a seat near the front. It’s easier to see, hear, and pay attention if you sit in the front. Then when it comes time to study, you may find that you have a better grasp of the material.
- Find a 2- or 3-hour block of time:
Studying doesn’t work very well if you are just squeezing it into your day in 15- 20 minute blocks of time. Rearrange your schedule so that you have two or three hours committed to studying each day. Treat it like a job where you must show up and do it!
- Get organized first:
When you sit down to study, take the first 5 minutes to make a study plan. Figure out which assignments are most important and which are the quickest. Sometimes it is a good strategy to knock out a few quick assignments and check them off your list before you concentrate on the longer, harder tasks. Check your calendar for due dates and test dates. Make sure you are prioritizing what is due soonest. Then once you have your plan in order, you can start to study.
- Turn off distractions:
The next step is to turn off the things that distract you. For most people, this is their mobile phones, TVs, and Internet access. Music may also be a distraction that you need to turn off, although some people study better with music playing. Friends and family members can also distract you. Be sure to tell them you need uninterrupted study time.
- Do the hardest things when you are your sharpest:
We all have different times of the day when we are the most alert and awake. If you are a morning person, schedule the hardest parts of your homework and studying for the morning. And the opposite holds for night owls. You want to take advantage of your most productive times by doing the hardest work during that time.
- Take 5-minute breaks every hour:
Most people do best if they take short study breaks every hour or hour and a half. This gives your mind a break from the intense concentration, and gives it a chance to rejuvenate. Do something physical during these breaks, like stretching or walking around, to help keep your blood moving.
- Type or write down your notes:
For some people, reading your notes can help you commit them to memory, but other people find their mind wanders when reading. If your mind is wandering, try re-writing your notes or typing them. Sometimes being actively involved with your notes can help you remember them better.
- Make flashcards:
If you have terms that you need to memorize or other short facts, it can help to put them on flash cards. This is a great way to quiz yourself. You can also organize your flashcards into an easy stack and a hard stack, and spend more time on the difficult flash cards.
- Quizlets and practice exams:
Depending on your subject matter, you may be able to find Quizlets and practice exams online. These can be great ways to test your knowledge before the real test day arrives.
- Find a new study location:
If you’re tired of the same old place, try to find a new study location. Studying in different places can create mental associations that may help you remember things on the day of the test.
- Use down time for short bursts of studying:
There are lots of “down” times in our lives that we could be using more wisely. Carry your notes and flashcards with you so that you can study during these down times. It could be waiting for a bus, standing in line at a store, or sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. Using this time to squeeze in some extra studying can make a real difference.
- Take care of yourself:
The life of a busy student can take its toll on your health. Be sure to take care of yourself during your student years so that both your mind and your body are in great shape. This means eating healthfully, exercising regularly, sleeping about eight hours a night, and keeping your stress levels under control.
We hope these tips help to revolutionize your study time, making it productive, efficient, and even enjoyable.
Best of luck on your next exam!