We always have such good intentions when we set out on a new semester, don’t we? And yet, so often it doesn’t go quite right and we don’t end up studying, working and putting in the effort we mean to. And that often translates into us not doing quite as well as we would like to. Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. It is – as so many people that graduate cum laude or at the top of their class demonstrate – fully possible to actually get the hours in and get the grades you want.
To do so, however, you need to learn some very important lessons about how the brain works and apply them. In that way, you’ll be working with the brain rather than against it – which will make it less likely you blow your assignment, you get the grades you deserve and that you’ll remember all that information far beyond your college years that much more simple.
So how do you do that?Study every day
No, don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you to study all day. That’s a useless as telling a fish to climb a tree. You don’t have the time and even if you did, you won’t have the willpower. Instead, what I mean is that you should stop trying to put all of your effort into one period long period of time and instead have staggered periods both throughout your day and your week.
This has a number of advantages
1.It means you’re going to remember much more as when you study for a short while you’ll be able to concentrate the entire time and focus more effectively. In this way, you’ll actually be able to retain a great deal more of the information that your eyes pass over than you otherwise would.
2.It is far easier to commit to an hour of study than it is to commit to an entire evening for the simple reason that it won’t seem like an insurmountable mountain that you can’t possibly overcome. In this way, you’ll avoid procrastinating for three hours to keep that daunting task out of the way and instead get right to it. After all, you’ve got other plans!
So, set aside several periods in your day where you’ll hit the books. Some in the morning, some at lunch and another bit in the evening when you’ve got a lot to do. That will mean you’ll actually get stuff done.Set times
If you want to actually get to a task, stop setting it for a day, but set it for a specific time. Tomorrow I want to sit down and study at 9, for example. The reason this works is that our brains aren’t very good at doing things that have been considered abstractly. And so, when you say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ you might start off with wanting to do it in the morning, but then you’ll push it back and back again until finally you’re too tired to get started, at which point you’ll push it to the next day.
Obviously, that’s not effective
So set a time. Then, when that time hits you’ll be far more likely to get started. Even if you don’t, guilt will make it more likely that you start soon after. And as that’s the only way to actually get things done, that’s a good thing.Have the right kind of study buddy
When done right, study buddies can be incredibly useful as they can help keep you on target, offer you new ways to process information and can point out blind spots in your reasoning. Of course, the operative words there are ‘when done right’. That isn’t exactly as easy as you might want it to be.
You see, a lot of people choose their study buddy based on how much they like them. And though likability is certainly a good trait in a study buddy, it on its own won’t get you there – particularly if the person you pick isn’t very studious. Then they’ll often end up distracting you more than they otherwise would and tempting you with extra-curricular activities that are no doubt a lot of fun but don’t get you the grades you need.
When you’re one of those people who struggle to hit the books effectively, you don’t want a study buddy who has the same problem as then you’re not just trying to defeat the procrastination of one person but two.
Instead, fiend somebody who is more disciplined. In that way, you’ll actually get some studying done, as then you won’t just feel guilty towards yourself when you don’t do the work, but towards your study buddy as well.Understand the difference between memorized and recognized
When we’ve read text or facts that we’ve met before we recognize them. And that’s great, of course. As when you recognize information it’s that much easier to memorize it. At the same time, they’re not the same thing. Just because you recognize a piece of information does not mean that when you sit down at the exam it will come up out of memory.
It’s like the face of an acquaintance that you know immediately when you see them on the subway, but can’t for the life of you recall when you’re talking about them with a friend.
If you want to actually ace exams, you need to understand that difference and compensate for it. After all, when you’re in exam conditions there will be a lot of things – like stress and anxiety – that can derail your train of thought and have you draw a blank. So make sure you don’t just read a text once, but actually re-read it (or your notes) soon after.Last words
So there you have it. Four simple tips that can make a world of difference. So start using them immediately and stick with them for best the best result. In that way, you’ll do much better this semester than last one and – even better – you’ll do even better than one after that. For that’s how studying works. It’s something you get better at over time, as you develop these mental muscles and become a studying superstar.
Gwen Barret is a blogger and writer on different educational and health-related topics. Her article on these topics you can check at http://potencyup.com