Studying at university can be a task in itself, and often students find it hard to focus and concentrate. Studying the wrong way or in the wrong environment can result in lack of interest and minimum work efficiency which is very common in university students. Worried that this might be you? Don’t worry, we have provided you with a list of several tips to help you study and help you organise your academics better.
Choosing Your Workspace
Working in a distractive or disturbing environment almost always results in disrupting academic performance. Being a university student can be challenging due to the various number of things you students are expected to balance and you generally tend to push back on academics due to the inability to focus. Organizing your workspace and choosing an environment that helps calm your senses and enables you to narrow your thoughts to one specific task can result in increased productivity and incentive to get work done. Places like the library, a quiet café or even an outdoor setting that channels your concentration to one task helps bring about a significant impact on staying more organised and meeting deadlines.
Listening to ‘Study Music’ to Increase Concentration
Students often find it difficult to sit for a certain amount of time, and concentrate on a specific topic. This can be a result of having too many things on your mind and trying to juggle everything. Certain genres of music are specifically dedicated to sooth and calm your mind and help increase concentration and focus. Classical music has can help reduce stress and improve your sleep schedules. Youtube and Spotify have many classical music playlists if you don’t want to go through the trouble of making one! The broad genre that includes slow, atmospheric music helps relax your mind and there are tons of Spotify compilations you can choose from based on what works best for you. Lastly, studies show that many students study well whilst listening to calming nature sounds as it gives them a sense of a calm and serene surrounding thereby helping with focus and concentration. Whatever your tastes may be, we’ve got you covered!
One of the most popular methods of effective studying is getting yourself to join/form a study group with your peers or course mates. This method is extremely helpful for when you lose motivation or incentive to keep working. Studying with people can help spread a positive morale and attitude in the group and provides support when one is falling off track. It is also helpful for when you’re having trouble with assignments or research work, as you can get multiple perspectives on the same topic. Last but not the least, study groups work best before exams as a means for revision as can learn from one another which could benefit you in your finals. Hang out with your friends or get some work done? Why not try both at the same time!
Different students have different learning types that help them study and focus better. You can either be a visual, auditory, kinesthetic or a reading/writing learner. While visual learners can learn through different platforms like Khan Academy, kinesthetic learners often experiment and test results to get a hands on experience. But you may prefer reading/writing, taking notes and studying them. However, for auditory learners there is a mass section of educational resources that help make studying much easier – Audio Books. Through the help of audio books, you can listen to academic topics at any time and place convenient for. This can help you grasp information effectively. If you don’t know or are unsure of what studying style works best for you, it’s always a good idea to give audiobooks a try and see if it helps your academics.
Goal Setting and Scheduling
If you feel you don’t to have enough time to fit in all your tasks for the day, or you tend to mess up your daily schedule due to procrastination and laziness, then goal setting and scheduling your studies will definitely help you study better. In order to ensure you prioritize your tasks perfectly, creating a daily schedule will help you fit in all tasks that have to be completed under a time restraint, thereby not overwhelming you during exam season. However, if become unproductive due to laziness and procrastination, then goal setting will help you get your academics back on track. Rewarding yourself with free time and breaks every time you achieve a study goal will help keep your mind on track and reduce procrastination.
Choosing your working hours wisely
The key to studying effectively and ensuring maximum productivity is not how many hours you study but how well you are able to study in the time frame you dedicate to your studies. Test your schedule and see which time of the day works the best for you. Sometimes, students work really well early in the morning, whilst some students work best in the late hours of night. If you figure out which time of the day is ideal for you, you will find yourself studying more effectively and your productivity will increase massively. Alternatively, an exercise that has often been proven effective is to start with your weaker topics the first thing in the day when you are most productive and then leaving your stronger points for when there is less incentive to work, as you already have a liking for the topic.
Online tools and healthy competition
Healthy competition amongst peers can definitely help spice things up when you find a topic boring or can’t seem to concentrate on something due to lack of interest. Certain websites and applications help you quiz yourself, giving you the choice to test your knowledge or make it a fun competition among peers. The website/app Kahoot, enables you to create a set of questions and play against multiple players to test your knowledge on a topic to see who tops the leaderboard. Another brilliant study tool in the form of a website and app is Quizlet, which helps make your learning more interactive. You can either create your own quizzes or choose from a large range of existing ones. In addition, you can use flashcards to revise a topic, making your learning more thought-provoking. For those with a competitive nature will find such methods more hands-on and help you divert from the monotony of studying.
“Sufficient sleep, exercise, healthy food, friendship, and peace of mind are necessities, not luxuries.”
While this is not unfamiliar, it is often a key tip that is overlooked by university students. Health is one of the biggest factors that impacts your studies and performance at university. Be it excessive stress, messy sleep schedules, skipping meals, an unhealthy diet or simply lack of mental peace, it can pull down your academics. What might seem quite small can impact your overall well-being and performance greatly. Sleeping well, getting adequate rest, eating healthy and regularly, maintaining a work-life balance and exercising regularly can help to release stress and calm your mind to increase concentration levels and improve your memory. Give it a shot and have a work-life balance you could only dream of!
If you need help studying closer to exams and deadlines, you should try teaching someone. Teaching someone material helps drill it into your own head, and serves as an opportunity to revise your whole topic without constantly doing the same revision technique over and over again before an exam. Mentoring someone can also help improve the way you explain concepts and practically apply them, thereby helping you have a much clearer understanding of the study material. Research shows students who teach what they learn have a much better rate of knowledge retention than those who simply re-read their own notes. Pretending to teach someone really young can help you break down complicated concepts to the most basic forms forcing you to explain and break down the concept revealing gaps and faults in your knowledge.
Using Flowcharts and Diagrams
Whether you’re a visual learner or not, nothing works like flowcharts and diagrams. Having flowcharts of all your topics before the exam can help you scan the entire matter in just one glance. Sites like Venngage help you create flowcharts and infographics which you can then use while preparing for your exams. In addition, it increases knowledge retention while revising because you can visually see, via a mind map of how the topic moves forward. Diagrams can make your work easier to interpret and understand when you come back to re-read and study your notes. They can also help with visual understanding of the concept and often are proven to be easier to remember than large numbers of words and phrases. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, in this case it’s your whole topic in one picture!