Effective Study Skills

Finding the best way to study is a continuous process. You should be constantly improving your study skills to better understand what works for you and more importantly, what doesn’t work for you. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to studying, you can learn effective skills to take your studying to the next level. Everyone has different abilities and talents, so it’s important to determine what works and what doesn’t. Studying methods should be tailored to each learner.


Learning effective study skills can help individuals to avoid the panic and frustration that often occurs before a big test. Mastering effective study habits not only makes it easier to learn, but these skills will also help you to achieve your academic and professional goals.


1 – Think Positive

Too many people look at studying as a necessary task and not what it truly is – an exciting opportunity to learn. However, researchers have found that how you approach something matters almost as much as what you do. Being in the right mindset is important in order to study smarter.


Ways to help improve your study mindset:


  • Stay positive. Remind yourself of your skills and abilities.
  • Avoid negative thoughts. Instead of thinking, “I’m not prepared, I don’t have enough time to study,” take a positive approach, “I may have started late but I’ll make the most of my time”.
  • Avoid absolute thinking. Instead of thinking “I always mess things up,” the more sensible view is, “I didn’t do so well this time. How can I improve next time?”
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others, as this type of thinking can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Instead, focus on the skills and abilities that are unique.


2 – Avoid Distractions

Where you study is important. The best place to study is one with minimal (or no) distractions. While this may seem simple, it can prove difficult. Living in the digital age, distractions are everywhere. From cell phones and tablets to friends and social media, we are constantly faced with distractions.


Know yourself. Be aware of what distracts you and determine a way to steer clear of these disturbances. Start by turning off your cell phone. Even if you put it on silent, you may be tempted to take a peek. Avoid studying near friends or colleagues if you know they will distract you. The library, a quiet nook in a student lounge, or a quiet coffee house are perfect places to study. The less distracted you are the more focused you will be on the task of studying.


3 – Get Organised

You can’t effectively study if you don’t take great notes. Most people find that maintaining copious notes helps them break information down to its most basic components. In today’s digital age, most students take notes on their laptops.However, you may want to reconsider taking your notes by hand. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University and UCLA Los Angeles respectively, students who write out their notes by hand actually learn more than those to type their notes on laptops.


Writing information by hand puts information into words and terms you understand. For extra measure, you should rewrite your notes, reorganising your thoughts before you start to study.  Additionally, consider reading your words out loud while you copy them. Using your various senses in combination will help cement the information into your memory.


4 – Memory Games

Memory games, or mnemonic devices, are techniques for memorizing pieces of information using a simple association of common words. Most commonly, people string together words to form a nonsense sentence that’s easy to remember. The first letter of each word can then be used to stand for another word (i.e., the piece of information you’re trying to remember). The most common mnemonic device example is “Every Good Boy Deserves Fun.” Putting the first letters of every word together “EGBDF,” gives a music student the five notes for treble clef.


The key to mnemonic devices is the new phrase or sentence must be easier to remember than the information you’re trying to learn. While these memory games don’t work for everyone, mnemonic devices are helpful because you use more of your brain to remember visual and active images than you do to remember just a list of items. Using more of your brain equates to enhanced memory.


5 – Make a Schedule and Take Breaks

Studying is not a task to be completed when you get around to it. Instead, you need to include study time just as you would attending a meeting or class. Instead of last-minute cramming sessions, you can better prepare when you add study time into your schedule.


Spending 20 or 30 minutes every day studying is much more attainable than a 12-hour cram session, and you’ll actually retain more of information. Scheduling is particularly important if you’re a member of a study group. So set aside some time to study and commit to it.


It’s also important to take study breaks. You’re more likely to stay focused if you give yourself the flexibility to take a break after a specific amount or milestone. Whether you break for a snack after an hour or have a cup of tea after you finish your chapter, a study break will reset your mind. These breaks help maintain top study performance and can actually increase focus, reduce stress, and help students better retain information they learn


Knowing how to study effectively is a skill that will benefit you for your entire life, to broaden your knowledge and skills you can take free udemy courses online as well. Developing efficient study skills requires time and patience. If you follow these tips you’ll be on your way to discovering which type of studying works best for you.

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