As my midterms have rolled to an end, I want to take a minute to reflect on my study habits. I’ve always struggled with studying. I change my studying habits a lot trying to see what works and what doesn’t, and for the most part, nothing works. This time however, a friend of mine shared his study habits with me. Although they did sound really typical at first, I decided to try it out and see how it went. Below are some things I learned about myself.
I found out that I study better when I’m alone. I’ve thought that I would do better studying with someone as I could get instant answers to questions when the arise, or just have someone to keep me on track. Turns out it’s actually the opposite. I’m way more productive when I’m alone. Perhaps because I get distracted really easily. To keep myself on track, I choose a place where other people around are studying so I’d feel guilty if I were to slack off.
In addition to studying alone, I study better in silence. I’ve always loved to be plugged into music while I’m working or studying, thinking that it would help me concentrate. Turns out it’s the exact opposite. At first it was really tough, but after a while it felt really good. I found myself actually absorbing the material that I was reading rather than reading the same line over and over again because I was more focused.
Of course, I ditched all my electronics. I think this was the toughest part. I printed out everything off Vista, left my laptop at home and my iPhone in my bag, and if I was at home, I’d give them to my mom. Laptops, phones and electronics in general are a huge distraction. Not surprisingly, my productively went up exponentially once I rid myself of them. I also felt as if I was in control of my life instead of having it controlled by electronics. My backpack was lighter without my laptop and my back probably thanked me for that too.
Lastly, I didn’t take breaks. I had general guidelines of how much I wanted to study during each session, say 2 chapters, but if by the end of those 2 chapters I was on a roll, I’d keep going. While most people find that having a break would be refreshing, I actually found that it was distracting for me. I would lose all my momentum that I’ve gained while studying, and in turn lose motivation. Having said that though, I wouldn’t burn myself out. If I’m done, I’m done. Pushing myself too hard wouldn’t do anything to help.
Everyone has their own way of studying and the above strategies just happened to work for me. I’d love to hear little tricks and tips that everyone else has about studying :)