20 Study Tips: Study Smarter not Harder

Being a student well into my adult life has brought some procrastination habits from the past and this blog is here to show you some great study tips to help keep the ball rolling. The majority of students have at least some point when they are struggling to focus on study. Or maybe you are already completely dedicated (I’m jealous) and want to read on for some more tips and tricks to add to your repertoire!

Getting Started/Your Space

  1. Organise your space– don’t underestimate a clean environment. If you have papers and things strewn everywhere that can be one simple task that gets you in the zone
  2. Background noise– do you work better in silence/at a library or public place or do you prefer music? There are a lot of great acoustic study playlists.
  3. Create a daily study time chunk so it becomes a habit- if possible creating a time in your day when you can consistently study and then you will know that ahead of time and can schedule things around it!
  4. Lists– making a breakdown list of what you want to get done can help those moments when you sit down and have nowhere to start (for me, this was one of the most helpful things) as getting started can be the hardest part! Adding how much time you want to spend on each item on the list can also be beneficial. Bonus tip: Make sure you make the list the night before!

It’s Go Time

  1. Pomodoro Timer– if you only get one thing out of this post, this has been an absolute lifesaver for me. The app I use is called FocusKeeper (but I am sure there are many) 25 min chunks of focus then 5-minute break, repeat and then after 4 blocks you get a longer (15 min) break. Desktop has tomato timer and customisable! This works IF IF IF (and I’m speaking from experience….), if you ACTUALLY take the breaks. I cannot stress this enough!!! (tip: take a stretch and get some movement/water into those breaks )
  2. Teaching someone you may have heard gives you the best chance of remembering. So, if you don’t have a willing subject (pet, stuffed animal or human) to listen to you, just pretend you are talking to anyone and incorporate it into your own words that are easy for you to understand.

Avoid Distractions

  1. Hide your phone – preferably in the other room!!!!! Or iPhone has Do Not Distrub mode that can allow favourites incoming calls through and a repeated calls to come through.
  2. Social media blocks– There are apps and extensions (like Stay Focused is the one I use) you can add to your devices to block out certain websites that you may find distracting…..
  3. Schedule in rest time!!! To avoid burnout make sure you incorporate enough rests that you need for your optimal study time. Avoid multitasking– whether it be surfing the web, eating or texting if you’re studying a single focus can help you stay in the zone.

For Your Body

  1. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!- we are made up of so much water as humans, for optimal brain function it is excellent to stay hydrated and help maintain focus.
  2. While we are on this trend: a healthy diet with proper exercise is part of a well-balanced study routine and an excellent common-sense reminder.
  3. Breathe– Maybe habit stack when each Pomodoro timer ends take a few deep breaths, say Om (or whatever word comes out) and lengthen those exhales!!
  4. If you’re not a regular meditator consider adding meditation into your daily practice.

Making it Stick

  1. Review!!! If you can go over what you learned within 24 hours the chances of you remembering it increase drastically. So, if you have taken notes one day or read a chapter, reviewing it before 24 hours can be very helpful!
  2. Songs/real-life examples/acronyms
  3. Individualise: Do you learn best with visuals/audio, reading or writing or kinesthetic?
  4. 5-4-3-2-1….. Go! There’s a great book by Mel Robbins called the 5 Second Rule. I’ll sum it up for you, if you’re having trouble starting, count down from 5 and then START, DON’T THINK…GO!
  5. Repetition repetition (think read before bed and then in the morning again)
  6. Flashcards/mind maps can be very helpful
  7. REWARD– and don’t forget that after you gave done what you feel is sufficient, give yourself a well-deserved reward. Is it a treat? Walk-in nature? Massage? Whatever will motivate you and make sure you don’t cave unless you’re happy with the result!

Well, there you have it – 20 study tips to help you study smarter not harder and hopefully you learned a new tactic that works for you! Happy studying!

Kristyn Wagner – CCM Graduate, Kinesiologist and Mind Body Medicine Practitioner. 

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