Whether you’re in high school or college, these study tips will help you achieve your learning goals and ace your tests!
Different people learn best in different ways. There are lots of different organizations of learning styles –the four-style VARK is a popular one, some pare that down to three styles, and there are some that see seven different styles. One thing we like about the 7-style is that it recognizes some people learn better in groups, while others do better solo – though we’d argue those aren’t really learning styles on their own, but rather adjunct to the other five.
The important thing is to experiment and figure out your own particular learning style – and then work to incorporate that style into your studying.
Study groups put the collective power of your peers at your (and everyone else’s) fingertips. When you’re all studying the same thing, you can ask each other questions, take turns quizzing each other, or bounce ideas off one another.
Bonus Tip: a study group doesn’t have to be in person – you can just as easily create an online study group – like a Discord channel – where you can ask each other questions and chat anytime.
Having a very specific study spot to go to when you study – whether it’s your dorm room desk, a spot at the library, your dining room table – helps your brain go into “study” mode, as opposed to getting distracted by other things. Make sure there’s room for your study materials and snacks, and if you’re studying somewhere other than your house or dorm room, that there’s a bathroom nearby. It should also be a comfortable place to work; if you’re sitting in a chair that digs into your back or puts you in an uncomfortable position, you’re going to be distracted by that.
Bonus Tip: try not to study in bed – your brain thinks of that as the place to relax and/or sleep, so you’re less likely to be able to keep yourself alert and focused.
Taking short breaks during studying is also important. Lots of studies have shown that our brains can only take in and remember so much information before they reach a saturation point. Taking a 10-15 minute break for every hour of study is a good way to make sure you’re giving your brain a chance to “turn off” for a bit before diving back in.
It’s better for your brain if you switch off what you study. So don’t just study one subject all night long. Use that “45 minutes of study + 15 minutes of break” as the cue to switch to another topic. Even just switching back and forth between two topics will help your brain retain more of what you’re reading and studying in the long run.
Flashcards, study sheets – anything that gives you a way to quiz yourself on information – are a terrific study resource. Not only do they act as a practice test, but they will also help you identify the areas where you need more study because you’re having trouble remembering the information.
Studying can be stressful, but developing good study habits will make your life a lot easier – and studying a lot less aggravating and more fruitful. Your test scores will show the results of your hard work!