Study Smarter Not Harder!

Do you feel that your study habits aren’t enough? Have you ever thought what you could do to achieve better results? Students notice that their study habits aren’t very effective in higher education when they graduate from elementary and high schools. Some teachers may be less personally involved than others, classes are larger, exams are worth more and classes are much more rigorous. There are many study tactics that are shown to be effective which you can use in your regular study routine to learn the course material.

1. Reading is not studying

Reading and re-reading material is not actively engaging. Only reading for class is not studying and this leads to quick forgetting.
Ideas for active studying include:
-Create a study guide by topic and formulate questions and problems to write complete answers
-Say the information aloud in your own words as if you are the teacher that is teaching the concepts to a class
-Work the problems and explain the steps and why they work

Good study habits: Learn, don't just perform

2. Understand the Study Cycle

The study cycle breaks down the different parts of studying: previewing, attending class, reviewing, studying, and checking your understanding. Students try to take shortcuts and miss opportunities for good learning and perhaps skip a reading before class. Doing this misses a key opportunity to learn in different modes and to benefit from the repetition and distributed practice that you’ll get from both reading ahead and attending class. Understanding the importance of all stages of this cycle will help make sure you don’t miss opportunities to learn effectively.

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3. Spacing out is good

One of the most impactful learning strategies is “distributed practice”. The most effective practice is to work a short time on each class every day. The total amount of time spent studying will be helpful in learning the information more deeply and retain much more for the long term which will help get you an A on the final. The important thing is how you use your study time, not how long you study. Long study sessions lead to a lack of concentration and thus a lack of learning and retention.

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4. Silence isn’t golden

The complete silence may not be the best for you so know where you study best. It’s important to consider what noise environment works best for you. You might find that you concentrate better with some background noise or listening classical music. The point is that the silence of the library may be just as distracting than the noise of a gymnasium. Thus, if silence is distracting, but you prefer to study in the library, try the first or second floors where there is more background ‘buzz.’

Silence | Both ENDS

5. Reconsider multitasking

In order to study smarter, you will need to eliminate distractions during your study sessions. Social media, web browsing and game playing will severely affect the intensity of your study sessions if you allow them. Eliminating the distractions will allow you to fully engage during your study sessions. If you don’t need your computer for homework, then don’t use it. Use apps to help you set limits on the amount of time you can spend at certain sites during the day. Turn your phone off and reward yourself with a social-media break.

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6. Take control of your calendar

Controlling your schedule and your distractions will help you to accomplish your goals. If you are in control of your calendar, you will be able to complete your assignments and stay on top of your coursework. On the same day each week, plan out your schedule for the week. You can also go through each class and write down what you’d like to get completed for each class that week.

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This information was taken from The Learning Center from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Studying 101: Study Smarter Not Harder

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