A Beginners Guide to Studying
By Jessy Thurston
We have all been victims of heavy procrastination at some point in our lives. You put off studying until the very last minute and then all you are left with is a tsunami of guilt, stress, and pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines. Here’s a bunch of study tips to fix your assignment woes.
1. Plan ahead! Keep a monthly planner of due dates and put it on your wall so you can see how much time you have left before hand in. Try to also mark a date when you would feel comfortable starting the assignments - writing it down means you’ll feel more inclined to stick to it before you lose track of time.
2. Use coloured pens/ felt tips to highlight the parts of a test or exam you need to memorise. When you read over it, your brain will associate the colour with the content, so you are more likely to remember everything you need relating to a certain topic. I have personally used this method for years and it works better than anything else. It's also just so nice to have pretty notes to study from - you can post them on your instagram story beside a cup of iced coffee because everyone needs to know how hard-working you really are.
3. Everyone says to exercise and eat well - and it seems overrated since we are doing great on 2-minute noodles everyday - but actually looking after yourself properly is one of the best ways to refresh a busy mind. Try setting yourself up to eat healthy meals and drink lots of water instead of fueling yourself with coffee and continuous snacking. Go for a walk when your brain feels depleted. Treating your body right makes a huge difference to your focus, mood, and energy levels, which will help a lot if you left an assignment until the last minute.
4. Break big tasks into small parts. Write down a plan to have the first 300 words of your essay done by today, and 300 more the next. Alternatively, plan to study one page a day for a week, rather than all of them the night before. You feel successful when you do get a little bit done, and it seriously reduces the stress before it builds up and you have a mountain of work to do.
5. Do 20-25 minutes of study, and then take a break to watch an episode of MAFS or go and get a fro-co with friends. Come back after you feel relaxed and then get right back into studying again. Taking breaks helps with focus and memory, and you’re bound to feel less stressed if you’re not spending hours on end staring at a screen.
6. Put your phone on do not disturb mode. This is a big one. It's super easy to reach for your phone whenever you get a notification and this disrupts your mindset whilst studying. Leave it all until you're finished - as much as you think it might, the world won’t miss you for an hour.
7. Set up a reward for completing a task. Buy yourself a magnum and keep it in the freezer until you're done studying for the day. Or plan to use a bath bomb to wind down once you finish making notes for that chapter. Reward yourself with whatever floats your boat - but don’t give in to the reward until you’ve actually completed what you wanted to.
8. If you need to memorise something, create a song or acrostic poem to get it stuck in your head. Things tend to slip out of your mind if you’ve got a shit load to study. If I ever need to remember a list of things I have to make a catchy phrase that will stick in my head - we all know Never Eat Soggy Weetbix, right?
9. Listen to study music - stream lo-fi hip hop radio on YouTube. It seriously helps to set your mind on a task if you are the type of person that can’t work in silence. The only downside to this tip is you can easily get trapped into watching the live chat of hundreds of people looking for internet boyfriends.
10. Study away from home. If you really feel like you’re stuck and just not getting anything done, suss yourself a spot in a local cafe and put your head down for an hour or so. This kind of environment always makes me feel more inspired and less prone to distractions.
If you don’t find any of these tips help you get ahead, try talking to a student in the year above or even a tutor to find out how they think it's best to tackle the books. Now go get yourself some motivation and start studying!