If you follow me on Instagram – which, go follow me! – you might have known that a couple of weeks ago I had a huge exam to study for plus a huge essay to deliver. They also had to both be delivered the same day which was quiet annoying. I know many of you have this all the time but in my university they normally have about a week in between the two (which I SO much prefer). Now – a little time after writing this – I am yet again sitting at my desk for a couple of weeks straight to this time hand in two major essays.
Studying is not one of my greatest pleasures. Even though I like (for the most part) what I’m studying I don’t really like the actual studying part. Add in to that that the subject that had an exam was boring to the nuts makes it no better – at all. Nevertheless, I’ve gotten myself through it (barely) and I realised that a lot of people must be or are going to be going through the same thing as me. Anyone who is in high school or in uni will know exactly what I’m talking about. So today I’m going to share with you some tips to study at your best, hopefully without a) falling asleep, b) getting distracted even by a fly in the room and c) just giving up.
Think about the fact that you don’t want to be doing this again
One of my biggest motivators, especially when studying for that exam, was that I definitely did NOT want to do it again. Although that didn’t suddenly miraculously get me super motivated and ready to study all day (I don’t think anything can do that), it did give me a right nudge sometimes. Because imagine being bored out of your mind, not actually putting in effort because you’re just plain bored, but then having to do it all over again because you didn’t do it right the first time! Now that is what I call hell on earth.
Find the best time for you to study
Whether that’s the morning, the afternoon or the evening, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s right for you. I am a morning person so I found that my best time to study is pretty early in the morning. Whilst most people have to wake up properly first, I found that I am in my best writing mood if I immediately just sit down next to my laptop when I just woke up. I know, weird, but you don’t have to copy me. Find the right time for you and make sure you use your most productive time to be exactly that, productive.
Let yourself do other things too
One of my biggest mistakes when studying was to not give myself the chance to do anything else in the day. Or if I did do something else I would feel incredibly guilty about it. I thought I didn’t deserve to do something else because I wasn’t studying enough. But even if you think you’re lacking (which I’m sure you’re doing fine) it’s important to give yourself some time to do other things. If you only have a few days to study something maybe not give yourself a whole day off, but an afternoon or an evening is important. Go out for that lunch with your friend, there’s still time to study in the morning and in the evening.
One thing to keep in mind though is to try to plan things and parts of your day off when you know it’s not your best time to study. So like I said, I study best in the morning, and worst in the evening. So if I give myself some time off it’s always going to be in the evening because I don’t study well then anyway.
Have plenty of water and snacks with you to keep you company
I think this one kind of speaks for itself. Drinking enough water is so important, every day but especially when you’re studying. You seriously don’t want to feel dehydrated or thirsty when you’re tucked away in your books. It’s not good for your brain, and – I’m not a doctor so don’t quote me on this – I dare to say that you probably don’t retain all the information.
Same goes for being hungry. I don’t just go hungry I go hangry. And it’s not a pretty picture. When I’m hangry absolutely no information whatsoever enters my brain anymore, which is exactly the opposite of what you want.
Give yourself enough breaks
I’m not saying you should give yourself a half hour break every five minutes, that would defeat the purpose a little bit. But maybe every half hour a short 5 minute break and for example every 2 hours a long half hour break. Whatever works best for you. There is an app called Focus Booster which tracks how long you’re studying, so it starts counting down and after 25 minutes or half an hour it said you could have a 5 minute break, and then after a while a longer break. I’m gonna be honest, it didn’t work for me, but you never know, it might work for you!
Putting your phone off is a good one. The problem with that though, is that I like to go on my phone during my breaks. So you could put it on not disturb if you have the will power, and if not maybe it is best to just turn it off completely. I’ve also found putting my phone completely on silent – with vibration off as well – has helped massively this last week. Instead of each time it rings wanting to see who it is, not necessarily out of curiosity but normally out of sheer boredom, I am now not bothered by it. Especially when I’m in the zone of studying it’s been really helpful. And I haven’t even turned my phone on vibrated after studying hours either.
Another way to minimise distractions is to make sure nobody interrupts you. The most annoying thing for me is to have someone try to talk to me all the time. So if you live with your parents or anyone else, be sure to tell them that you’re going to be studying and that they better not interrupt you unless it’s urgent!
Make a to-do list
You could just make a to-do list of all the big things you need to do, like write that essay and study that course. But that’s going to be pretty short and basically the same to-do list every day. Instead write specific parts of the essay you want to have written by that day and which topics exactly you want to know by the time you go back to sleep. So for example, today I want to have written the introduction and the method of my essay. Plus I want to have learned these 5 concepts for this course plus these two theories. Write whatever is achievable for you. But don’t beat yourself up about what you might not have done at the end of the day, there’s always tomorrow!
Some last notes
- Don’t feel guilty about taking a break from social media and/or blogging if you need to
- It’s not the end of the world if you fail, you can always try again
- And if you can’t try again, it’s not the end of the world either. Your grades don’t define you.