Studying is a necessary part of high school, especially if you want to prepare yourself for college and the rest of your professional career.
Though studying might sometimes feel like the worst part of being a student, there are ways to improve the studying process so that you feel less overwhelmed and more prepared. You might even find that you actually enjoy studying!
Here are 7 study tips to take your learning, and your GPA, to the next level:
1. Identify Your Specific Learning Style
Individual students, each with unique learning styles, often must adapt to learn in a unified classroom environment. There are seven different learning styles:
- Visual (spatial)
- Solitary (intrapersonal)
- Aural (auditory-musical)
- Social (interpersonal)
- Verbal (linguistic)
- Physical (kinesthetic)
- Logical (mathematical)
The way you learn best will depend on your specific learning style, so knowing how you like to learn should also determine the way you study.
For example, visual learners respond best to visual representations of concepts like graphs and pictures while aural learners might prefer hearing the information repeated multiple times. Additionally, social learners might study best in groups, while solitary learners prefer to study alone.
Once you’ve identified your personal learning style, you can plan your study sessions accordingly and incorporate elements to help you effectively learn the material.
2. Add Studying Into Your Schedule
Hopefully, you already keep a schedule. If not, you should consider it and incorporate studying into that schedule.
Though you might study out of necessity, planning your study sessions will actually help you commit to it. When you block out an hour or so specifically for studying, for example, you will avoid allowing another activity to take its place.
Scheduling your study sessions will also change the way you view them in your mind. By prioritizing your studies, you are communicating to yourself and others that your academic success matters to you.
3. Take Organized Notes
Depending on your learning style, take notes in an organized way so that you can easily review them later. Whether that means drawing pictures with diagrams, audio-recording your own interpretation of the material later, or outlining the material in written form, taking notes during class is crucial to success while studying.
You can also try taking notes and then sharing them with someone else, attempting to re-teach the material. This will help you put the concepts in your own words, allowing you to retain the information.
Be careful not to allow web browsing or any other non-academic distractions to keep you from focusing when taking notes on a tablet or laptop. Try to take notes by hand or record them later, but if you absolutely must use a technological device be sure to pay close attention in class.
4. Study Over Time
One of the most important ways to avoid burnout is to study over time rather than all at once. This means previewing material before class, taking notes during class, and reviewing notes after class.
If you have taken the time to schedule your studying, you can make sure that you schedule a bit of time for each of your classes. By reviewing the information bit by bit, you will be much more familiar with it by the time you need to study for an exam.
5. Create Your Ideal Study Environment
To make sure your study sessions are focused and successful, you should also consistently create the ideal study environment. Choose a room or space in your home or at a library that allows you to fully focus on studying without distractions.
If you need to force yourself to stay away from social media or your phone, find and download some applications designed to help you focus.
Also, avoid studying in places where you rest or sleep, like in your bed. Your brain will associate lying in bed with sleeping, which will not make for the best study environment. Instead, keep your study area consistent, clean, and distraction-free.
6. Make Connections
You’d be surprised at how much better you will remember information if you make connections between the material and other aspects of your life. For each of your classes, think about what you are studying and relate it to another class, an experience you’ve had, a movie or TV show you’ve seen, or even a song you’ve heard.
If you don’t have any connections that come to mind right away, do some of your own research on the topic to find more modern interpretations of it. For example, you can find very useful videos contextualizing historical events and time periods for a modern audience on YouTube.
Making connections will allow you to internalize academic information and start applying it to real-world scenarios. After all, studying is meant to prepare you for a lifetime of success in school and your future career.
7. Prioritize Your Health
You cannot study smarter without also being in peak performance shape. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy meals, drink lots of water, exercise, get out in nature, and take time to relax when you really need it. Also make sure you find time to connect with friends and family members.
Finding balance is an element that you will attempt to master throughout your life, so you might as well start now. As long as you employ the rest of the study tips above, you should have a lot more time to spend focusing on your health and relationships, too.