1. Choose a study location that is quiet, free of distractions, and comfortable- As entertaining as it is to watch American Idol or overhear your sibling’s latest school stories, it’s not going to help you ace your next exam. You want to be sure you’re in a quiet, well-lit place where you’re sitting up (preferably at a desk or table) so that you can focus on the material. Eliminate IM, TV, radio, and music.
2. Create and save your study guides and class notes- Studying success is an ongoing process and starts with preparation. You should create study aids and review your notes for each quiz and test. Keep them in a folder so that when you have the bigger tests, you will save valuable time that you can use for studying. (More to come on making study guides)
3. Separate your study time into “power blocks” and take quick breaks- The best way to use your time is to study for 30-45 minutes in a “power block” set where you only focus on the work at hand. Then, take a 5 minute break to reward and refresh yourself. Grab a snack, check your phone, look up the score of the game. It’s up to you. Just keep it short, then jump back into the studying.
4. Study when you’re rested and alert- Are you a morning rooster, a day eagles, or a night owl? If you hit the snooze button multiple times before waking, chances are studying in the morning would be a challenge. If you’re dozing off after eating mom’s pasta dinner, night time might not be the best option. Figure out when you have the most energy and study then. Obviously, if you’re schedule doesn’t allow much wiggle room, study when you are free. As a general rule of thumb, morning roosters: study 30 minutes before school, day eagles: study during lunch and free periods, night owls: study after dinner.
5. Don’t wait until the last minute!- If you know you have an upcoming quiz/test in a few days, prioritize your tasks so that you’ll spend some time each day preparing and going over the material. A gradual review of the information is much more effective than a last minute cram session. As Ben Franklin once said, “You may delay, but time will not.”