Student life in 2021 isn’t easy. Beyond your academic responsibilities, you’re likely to have other demands on your time. Some students have part-time or even full-time jobs that make it difficult to schedule time for studies. Some are raising children or caring for elderly family members. Everyone has something going on.
School is worth the trouble because it helps you to launch a career, but you need to have good student habits in place if you want to succeed. Here are five study tips to help you get there.
It can be tempting to try to finish all of your studying in one session, especially when you have a long to-do list waiting.
The problem is that cramming doesn’t work. It only uses your short-term memory, and your brain gets rid of that as soon as it thinks it doesn’t need that information anymore. Essentially, you feel like you’re learning, but it doesn’t sink in. You’ll end up losing about 80% of what you studied.
Instead of cramming, schedule short chunks of study time. How short depends on your personal wiring, so do some experimenting. Try 30 minutes to an hour to start.
Once you’re done, take a break and come back to the material later. This gives your mind a chance to transfer the material to long-term memory.
Many students learn online in 2021. That means scheduling study time around home responsibilities, facing distractions and doing it all without a community of students around you.
You need a study schedule. Open your calendar and look at the time you have available, then set aside the time you’ll need to get your assignments done. Try to choose a time when you’re less likely to face interruptions.
Learning can be lonely, especially when it’s online. Reach out to someone else in your course—or multiple people—and see if they’re interested in studying together.
With a study partner or group, you don’t have to remember due dates or struggle over concepts by yourself. You can ask each other questions, read each other’s papers and hold each other accountable to show up for study sessions.
When you take on studying on top of other responsibilities, it’s easy to work yourself to a point where you’re not sleeping enough and not eating healthily. You might be spending all of your time sitting in front of a computer screen.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t possibly perform at your best. Take time to rest, exercise, eat good food and do things you enjoy. Even if it means you spend less time studying, you’ll be more productive and the results will be better.
In school as in everything else, balance is key. Develop good student habits like dedicated time for studying but make sure you have time for yourself, as well.
And remember—school isn’t forever. It’s a means to an end and the better you do, the better prepared you’ll be for your future career.