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Tips for effective studying

Hints and tips for effective studying

Every one of us is different and we all as individuals need to find the best way for us to study. Studying is not just about obtaining knowledge, but about demonstrating that you can stand out from the crowd and offers a way for you to show your areas of excellence. Good study tips will help you to get the most of your time spent studying. Below are a set of general hints and tips for studying that should help you, no matter what subject and level your are studying:


1. Find a calm and relaxing place to study

Make sure that you choose a place that has comfortable surroundings and that you enjoy. It should be quiet and comfortable where you cannot be disturbed – the dining room or living room should be avoided. You should ensure that you have the space for everything you need, including your books, stationary, and a computer (if needed as part of your studies). It is good to be organised and leave these things in their right place at the end of each study session – this means you do not have to waste time looking for things next time you come back to study.

2. Sleep well

Scientific research has shown that sleeping is very important for healthy brain function. It is recommended that students should try to sleep for 8–10 hours. Good, deep sleep will enhance your memory and you will find it easier to understand concepts and even become more creative.

3. Plan your time

Take some time before you start studying to plan your time properly. Make sure you plan reasonably and honestly too; ensure that you can stick to the schedule. This is particularly important when revising for exams – a good revision timetable, highlighting the topics you will revise during each study session will help you ensure that you get everything covered well in advance of your exams, but remember to plan early. Remember to include any regular activities such as going to the gym or playing football with your friends. The key is to make sure that your study plan fits around your regular activities. Studying does not mean you have to give up your social life, you just need to plan and manage your study time around it.

4. Take regular breaks

Like sleep, breaks are important for our brains too. We recommend you take a 5-minute break every 40 minutes or so. It is important that you do something else during these 5 minutes; e.g. go for a walk, chat to a friend (but avoid talking about your studies), or grab a quick snack/drink. But remember, keep it to around 5 minutes; this is enough time to rest your brain and to keep your focus on the task at hand.

5. Find a study partner

Study partners and groups are a great way to get ahead with your studies and to break to boredom of studying alone. Indeed, it may not be suitable for everyone, but it is worth a try as there are some clear benefits of studying with a partner. You will find it easier to concentrate on the tougher topics and having other views and knowledge available, you can share ideas and tips with one another. You could take the study group concept further and specifically seek out people who you consider better at a particular topic than you and therefore you can make the most out of your studies and learn from them. Joining a study club or attending weekend revision classes for an hour or so can help you study from a different angle and in a new environment. Students attending EducateFirst’s revision classes have told us how beneficial they found the sessions, especially in the run up to their exams.

6. Set goals

How will you study? What are you aiming to achieve each day? How far through the course material will you go each day? It is very useful to break your study time down into smaller chunks or ‘bite-sized pieces’ as we like to call them to help you concentrate better instead of trying to take in lots of information all at once. The key thing about goals is that they should be constantly reviewed. As your studies progress or the topics get harder, rethink your goals and give yourself more time to the subjects or topics that need it.

7. Get some exercise

Exercise is not only a great way to relieve stress and make you feel happier, but it is also excellent for our brains. Good, regular exercise helps your brain to receive more oxygen, allowing you to concentrate better and helping to improve your memory. Make yourself a regular routine within your study plan where you take time out to get some exercise. This can be in the form of a sport or simply going out for a jog to clear and refresh your mind.

8. Try to eat well

This is where many students go wrong by missing out on meal times in a bid to cram in some extra study. A balanced diet is important no matter what task we are trying to complete. If you want your body and mind to be in optimum shape, then a healthy diet packed full of vitamins and minerals is essential. Avoid all types of fast foods; yes, that includes chips, burgers, pizzas, etc. You want your body and brain to be energised and alert, not tired and weak from eating the wrong foods.



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