If you asked most people what the key to academic success is, you’d probably hear one answer above all else—studying hard. While it makes sense on a surface level, sleepless nights and studying hard won’t net you good results for very long. It’s important to have a good strategy when approaching higher education.
If you truly want to succeed when studying, you’ll have to study smart, not hard. Here are a few tips to study smarter.
1. Create self-imposed constraints
Having more time to study might seem like a good way to increase productivity, but it doesn’t work that way in practice. Any student that has had months to prepare for a single exam will tell you how easy it is to procrastinate in such a situation. When it comes down to it, students tend to perform better with some level of urgency. This is why most of the work is done in the days before an exam.
To avoid procrastination, it’s crucial for students to create self-imposed constraints. Choose a time of day that you study and don’t deviate from it, even if you feel that you need to study more. It will help you make the most of your productive period.
2. Take breaks whenever necessary
Working non-stop is considered the gold standard for productiveness, even though it may do more harm than good. Plenty of studies have shown that taking breaks from mentally-exhausting tasks helps increase focus.
When you create your study strategy, make sure to include frequent breaks. Taking a fifteen-minute breather every hour might sound like a lot, but it will help make those 45-minute sessions much more effective.
3. Review what you’ve covered
Repetition is the key to proper studying. When you want to learn more about a topic and retain that knowledge, you have to cover it multiple times. It’s not uncommon for students to go over a chapter in a book and switch over to another one immediately without reviewing their progress.
While this may help you cover all the lectures swiftly, the amount of knowledge you retain will be limited. It would be much more effective to review everything you’ve learned from a particular segment of the book right away before moving on.
4. Divide topics into chunks
When covering a substantial topic, you have to divide it into segments that are easier to process. Trying to absorb all the information at once won’t do you any good. Without segmenting the topic, you’ll end up forgetting crucial details more easily.
Take it one step at a time. Cover one part of the topic until you’re sure you understand it. Only then should you move on to the next part.
5. Learn more online
The web is an inexhaustible source of information that is often underutilized by students. You can use the internet to better understand certain topics, as a lot of information is available for free online. Education on the internet isn’t limited to extensive research opportunities, either.
There are plenty of educational opportunities, and even universities, online that can help you progress in any field. Enrolling in an online RTO can help you get qualifications that are recognized by modern industries, making them equivalent to many educational facilities. Many students turn to Precision Group training resources to receive a quality education in their desired field. Nowadays, online learning platforms offer a more interactive and user-friendly experience, which can help students learn more effectively.
6. Get enough shut-eye
Sleep is more important than most students realize. It’s not just a phase of the day where we regenerate physically. While we’re snoozing, our brains process the information that we’ve collected throughout the day.
When you don’t get enough sleep or choose an erratic pattern for your shut-eye, the brain can’t retain information as effectively. Try to stick to a schedule that will allow you at least six or seven hours of sleep every night. It’s going to boost the effectiveness of your studies dramatically.
7. Make a few flashcards
While it may seem like an old-timey method, flashcards really do wonders for studying. In most fields, there are bits of information that you have to memorize, even if they aren’t particularly interesting. Flashcards help you retain this information on a visual level, which helps boost memory quite a bit.
You can also use flashcards to divide complex topics into smaller subsections. Instead of covering something as a whole, make a few flashcards to keep it simple. Keep these cards on your desk and use them to test your knowledge at least once per day.
Contrary to popular belief, studying is more strategy than it is persistence. There are plenty of students that try hard, but they don’t succeed because they’re pushing themselves too hard or not studying smart. Use these strategies to get more out of your productive time and retain knowledge better. You’ll be a lot more likely to succeed this way compared to brute-forcing your studies.
Jack Kewell is writer, science editor, naturalist, entrepreneur. He is focused on writing and illustrating books. Also, he is a regular contributor on mountaintechblog
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