Finals are fast approaching, so as the semester winds up, I’m going to share some of my study tips that I’ve learned over the last four years.
- Find a place where you’re comfortable. – The fastest way to kill productivity is to always be worrying about how your chair is too stiff, or the desk is too low, or the light coming in from the window is too bright. Whatever it may be, environment can be very distracting. Of course, you don’t want to get too comfortable – I try to avoid studying on my bed because I’ll usually fall asleep. Personally, I do must of my studying in my apartment because I have my desk and computers set up exactly how I like them. However, if I need to do a lot of reading for a GE for example, I go to a library to minimize distractions. My favorite on campus is Doheny because it has such a nice atmosphere.
- Know when it will be helpful to study with friends – and when it won’t. Sometimes having the moral support of a bunch of friends getting through the work together can be really encouraging. Other times it can cause a lot of destructive interference; if one person in the group really needs to get it done as quickly as possible, and another person isn’t as focused, it can really bring the group to a halt.
- Plan ahead. If I have a big day of studying ahead, I like to plan out everything I need for the day to avoid unnecessary interruptions. I’ll pack or plan out all of my meals, snacks, and bring plenty of water and chargers. While everyone needs to take breaks, things like food or a battery dying can interrupt your work at really inconvenient places.
- Incentivize! Taking breaks is absolutely crucial when you’re doing a lot of work. I don’t know about you, but when I work, I am constantly doing some form of “active procrastination”, meaning that I will do a little bit of work while checking Facebook, or work on something else other than what I need to be doing. When I really need to buckle down, I like to reward myself with little things like episodes on Netflix when I reach a good milestone.
- Above all – everyone is different. The biggest thing I’ve learned over my four years here is that no one thing will work well for every person. People learn and focus in different ways, so you have to just try a bunch of things and figure out what works for you. And that may even change over time!
Overall, as long as you work hard and do your best to improve your study habits, you’ll figure out your own recipe for success. Have a good week!Meet Ellen