Study tips and tricks

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Another academic year has started, and with it a new group of students are putting their heads down for a year of study. For some, the idea of study, tests and exams can be a daunting prospect, but there are a few tips and suggestions that can help you make the most of your time. So, whether you’re enrolled in a new education programme, juggling work with online learning or thinking about learning something new, remember these few tips and tricks to make the most of your time.

Study is not just for the night before an exam
Yes, you’ll always want to cram before a test to make sure you’re up to speed, but the best way to learn is by putting aside a little time every day to revise and review what you’ve been working on.

Get serious about time management
There’s always a lot to get through in day and good time management can really help you achieve your goals – this one is true whether you’re studying or trying to organise competing demands on your time. Scheduling in time for various tasks, and sticking to your plan, helps you get across your various commitments. You could also consider some of the online tools that help you prioritise the most important tasks of your day.

Good habits create good outcomes
We are all creatures of habit, so if you have a routine for study you might eventually start doing it without thinking. Work out what time of day works best for you – do you like to get work done first thing in the morning? Or do you prefer making a quiet time in the evening? Choose a regular time and location for your study and stick with it.

Learning tricks
There are all sorts of ways to study – you need to find the one that works best for you, or mix it up by trying a few different methods. Some people simply read material and take notes, others get a friend to help quiz them on topics, you can use visual aids like diagrams and flashcards, or try speaking out loud to cement the learning.

Give yourself a break
No-one can keep going forever and it’s important to take time-out. Regular exercise, time with friends and family, healthy eating and down-time are all important parts of helping you stay focused.

Don’t be distracted
With constant notifications and reminders, it’s easy to let your mind drift from the task at hand. Turn off your emails and social media updates when you are studying. You’ll find you’re more focused and the job takes a lot less time.

Exam prep
When you are just around the corner from a big exam, you’ll want to up the ante a little. Consider the following:

  • research shows that what we read or study right before bed can stay in our minds longer
  • but don’t stay up all night studying before an exam, as you’ll be tired and less able to focus
  • light exercise, such as a short walk, right before an exam has been shown to stimulate the brain and help your focus
  • the sort of music you listen to can effect on your ability to learn and store information – we all have our own preferences, but studies have shown that classical music can reduce tension and anxiety.

Whatever you are studying and juggling, the best advice is to try to find a balance that keeps you healthy and focused on your goals. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but give some of these tips a try!