Having more productive and effective study sessions can help you get better grades – and get your work done faster too!
And it’s not as difficult as you think – you’ll find that doing a few small things before, after and during your study sessions will have a big impact on your ability to focus and the amount of work you get done.
These are the six simple steps you’ll need to take during your next study session – whether you’re studying for a high school diploma, an undergraduate degree or a master’s degree.
An easy-to-share infographic is located at the bottom of this post.
Before you start working…
1) Choose the right location
Picking the right place to study is key to having a productive study session.
Do you work best in a quiet room at home? Or do you need to leave the house, and head to a cafe or library to concentrate? If you’re not sure, experiment with studying in a few different places to find out which one works for you.
And yes, we know sitting on your bed snuggled up with your duvet and your cat is the most comfortable study location you can think of…but you probably won’t get much work done there!
2) Eliminate distractions
Once you’ve picked your study spot, get rid of any distractions…
1 – Remove distractions caused by technology. This means logging out of your Facebook account, putting your phone on silent (or even in another room), and even temporarily blocking distracting websites like YouTube and Buzzfeed if you need to.
2 – Make sure you’re not distracted by other humans. If you’re working a public place and you find the background noise disruptive, put on some study music – we’ve got some great suggestions here – or use earplugs. And if you’re working at home, let any other folks in the house know so that they don’t interrupt you.
While you’re working…
3) Start with your hardest subject… or essay, or coursework project
Whatever your hardest task is, do that one first!
It’s best to tackle your most challenging piece of work while your energy (and motivation) levels are at their highest. Plus, completing it will give you a sense of accomplishment which will help motivate you to carry on studying.
There’s another part to this, too – leave your simplest tasks until the end! You’ll likely be feeling a little tired by then, and it’ll be easiest to focus on something simple.
4) Take regular breaks
There’s a limit to the length of time you can concentrate for – after that, your mind starts to wander, you begin to daydream and your brain needs a break to recharge!
Most folks find they can focus solidly for 60 to 90 minutes. After that length of time, having a break of roughly 10 minutes should be enough for you to feel refreshed and ready to study again. So if you’ve created a timetable for your study session, be sure to build breaks into it!
And taking a break is also a good idea of you’re stuck on a problem. By stopping and doing something else, you’ll often find you know exactly how to solve it when you return to your studies.
5) Track your progress
Keeping track of your progress can help you stay motivated while you study.
There are lots of different ways you can do this – from simple paper checklists, to study apps, to a line of M&Ms which you eat one by one as you complete your tasks. (Or raspberries if, y’know, you wanted to be healthy).
Get creative and find a way to track your progress which works for you – there’s something so satisfying about “keeping score” of all the work you’ve completed.
After you finish working…
6) Reward yourself
Rewarding yourself for a solid study session can help you study harder.
Give yourself something nice to look forward to when all your work is completed, like going out to the movies, buying frozen yogurt with a friend or something as simple as snuggling with a pet. It can be anything at all, as long as it’s something you enjoy.
And if your study session is the final push before a big coursework deadline or exam, consider making your reward a little bigger (like new clothes or even a trip out of town). You’ll have earned it!
Are you thinking about studying online?
And if you have any questions, you can always give us a call on 855.210.5641