Study advice – how to achieve more

No matter if you had an over the moon Christmas holiday that was full of joy, excitement (and an after-party hangover) or a silent and snug, sweet break with your family, this is the time of the year is when students come back and stay in the IC or the Diamond all night, panicking about the upcoming exams.

Beyond a doubt, we all want good grades. But we are just struggling to understand and remember all the stuff in the textbooks or lecture notes.

Let’s consider the following issues – do any of them sound like you?

I can’t stick to my study plan

We all know a study plan is crucial to keep us on track. But how many of us can follow one? We refuse to drag ourselves out of bed and we procrastinate. You can’t even figure out where all your time has gone.  But there are a few tricks I’ve found that can help you stay on track (see below).

I have been studying for the whole day but I just cannot focus and memorise all the stuff.

This feeling sucks. You try to stay focused by looking at the book, but you can never digest all the concepts and wordings that need to be learned. You are overwhelmed and feel helpless. But, trust me, once you are aware of your best study environment, this can help you stay focused.

I just want to give up.

We all understand that the long study period is one of the most daunting tasks while at uni. But research has shown that self-motivation is always the key to revitalize yourself.

Here are some of my personal study tips to help beat these revision issues!

Calculate your reading speed

Everyone studies at a different speed and your study plan should be based on this – decide how many topics you can study in a day, and then work out your reading speed to help determine your study time. As professor Ron Fry mentions in his international best-selling book “How to Study”, knowing your reading speed can help you to plan your studying.  When I am planning my study timetable, I will first calculate the time I use to read one page and I will use this as a base to assign the number of pages to read in an hour. I find this method very effective and I can always stick to my schedule and have more free time.

Create your study environment

Do you prefer study in your bedroom or in the library? Is your table clean and tidy for study? Renowned psychologist Marty Lobdell recommends college students create a dedicated study space if they want to study in their rooms. This is as simple as removing everything, including food, your smartphone, and any distractions except the study materials. This is the best way to minimise distractions and perform better when studying. So, before you study, make sure you create a study space for yourself.

Break up your study time

Being hardworking is not about how long you study for, but how efficiently you study within a period. Psychologists have proved that people can normally only concentrate for about 25 minutes. So, instead of planning a six-hour long study session, why not cut it down into 25-30 minutes’ study, followed by a 5 minutes’ break? Your brain is refreshed every time you dig into your book rather than staring at it for hours without getting any knowledge from it.

Reward yourself

That’s what I will do when I am really struggling to get a topic done, especially late at night. As a chocolate lover, I would put a piece a chocolate on the page that I have planned to finished in my study time. Once I finished studying my targeted materials, I can enjoy my chocolate! Study becomes a rewarding experience rather than a painstaking task. Of course, don’t set unreachable targets such as finishing five chapters in an hour. This will just drag you down and make you feel like you’re not accomplishing anything.

Overall, I wish you all the best in your exams and I hope you can gain something from these simple study tips. Good luck!


3 thoughts on “Study advice – how to achieve more

  1. Pingback: Exam season is upon us! – The University of Sheffield Outreach

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.