Studying isn’t always easy when you don’t have much time. School, work and other activities can be stressful. When this happens most people tend to study the night before an exam or memorize material just before a test. To make studying easier for you, follow these tips for making more time for studying during your week.
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Make a study plan
Study plans can be as simple or as complicated as you like, depending on how much time you have available. The simplest ones involve just a list of topics or concepts to be covered during a week or month. More complex plans might include timelines for completion and even practice questions for each topic. The important thing is that whatever plan you use has enough detail that it lets you know exactly what needs to be done and when.
When learning new information, most people are taught to try and memorize everything in its raw form — but this often leads to forgetting the details when it comes time to recall them later on. A better strategy is to develop mnemonic devices that allow you to remember certain parts of information without having to remember everything at once (for example: “In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”). These devices can also be used to remember lists of items (like items on an exam) or even passwords
Many students find it hard to study. It’s not just the lack of time. It’s also the distractions that come with technology and social media.
You may be surprised to learn that it’s possible to study without your phone or computer. But you do need to make some changes in how you use technology at school and at home.
Turn off your phone and computer (or at least put them away). Even if you’re only going to be studying for a few minutes, it will help you focus if you can shut out all other distractions.
Cut back on social media
Don’t waste time scrolling through Facebook or Instagram while you should be studying. You’ll get more done by limiting your time on these sites — whether that means deleting the apps from your phone or setting strict limits on how long you spend there each day.
Study with others
If you’ve got a friend who’s taking the same class as you, meet up with them for study sessions. You’ll be able to help each other out with problems, share notes and collaborate on papers.
Use technology to your advantage. Create flashcards on Quizlet, download an app like Anki or use Google Docs so that everything is in one place and easy to access from anywhere.
Study in short bursts throughout the day instead of sitting down for long periods at once. This way, if something comes up during your designated study session time (like an urgent email or phone call), it won’t matter as much because it only takes a few minutes to get back into the groove again after a small break anyway!
Listen to music
There are times when you need to study, but you just don’t have the time. You might be busy with work, have a family, or just be in the middle of a busy period.
Even though it may seem impossible, there are ways to make studying work for you even when you’re short on time. Here are some tips:
Listen to music while doing your homework. Music can help reduce boredom and increase concentration, according to research by Dr Daniel Levitin at McGill University’s Faculty of Music in Montreal. He found that listening to music while working with numbers helped people perform tasks more accurately and efficiently than those who did not listen to music. The same goes for other subjects like reading and writing essays — listening to music can help keep you focused on the task at hand instead of distracting you with thoughts about what else could be done instead of studying for example.
Create a study space where you feel comfortable and relaxed so that you can focus better on your work without distractions from other parts of your home or apartment where friends might hang out or where people do other things around you. If possible, choose a room that is away from noises such as televisions or radios that could distract from your studying time if they’re too loud.
Get some sleep
Sleep is essential to your brain’s ability to learn, memorize and recall information. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces less of the hormone that regulates energy levels throughout the day. Sleep also helps clear out the toxic waste products that build up in your brain while you’re awake.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, here are some tips on how to make sure you get a good night’s rest:
Get up at the same time every day — even on weekends. Your body will learn this pattern and start making changes accordingly. If you need help getting up earlier in the morning, try setting an alarm clock 15 minutes before you normally would wake up so that you don’t have as much time to snooze.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine — one that includes turning off electronics an hour or two before bedtime and focusing on activities that relax you like reading or meditation. If stress is keeping you up at night, try writing down your worries on paper and then throwing them away when you’re done with them (or even better yet, discussing them with a friend).
Drink green tea
Green tea has been shown to improve memory and concentration. It’s also full of antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage, which can cause oxidative stress and cell death.
Green tea has been shown to help people focus and stay alert. It also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that helps improve concentration. According to one study conducted by scientists at Japan’s National Institute of Health Sciences, drinking just one cup of green tea can increase alpha waves in the brain (which are associated with relaxation) by 24 per cent.
Don’t be afraid to take breaks
Sometimes it’s good to get away from your work and do something else for a while — especially if it has been a while since you last studied that topic! But don’t forget about what you were working on before taking a break; returning back to the same task after some time off can be frustrating if your thoughts have drifted away from it completely (or worse yet, if someone else has already done all the work for you).
Set a timer
If you only have 15 minutes to study, you might as well use them effectively. Set a timer for 15 minutes and try to get as much done as possible during that time frame. If it’s been a while since you’ve studied the material, this is especially helpful because it forces you to learn as much as possible in a short period.
Do a lot of reading
This is an extremely important part of studying. When you read a textbook or other material, you’re activating the same parts of your brain that would be activated if you were actually learning what was in those books (and hopefully remembering it). When you’re reading something new and interesting to you, this can be very enjoyable. And when you’re reading something old and boring, this can still be worthwhile because it helps prepare your mind for later on in the semester when things get more difficult.
Take better, faster notes
If you’re not taking notes in class, start doing so immediately. Keep them short (one sentence per paragraph) and make sure they point out important information from the lecture or reading. Your notes should also include key terms and definitions that are likely to be on exams — even if the professor doesn’t explicitly define them during class.
Use your lecture time as study time
Use your lecture time as study time by reviewing your notes before class starts and writing down key points from the lecture that will be on the test or quiz (or simply ask yourself what you need to know). This will allow you to listen carefully without worrying about taking notes and will also help prepare for any questions that might come up during class discussions or on exams.
Study as you go.
When you’re studying, you’re learning. The more you learn, the more you will know. And the more you know, the easier it will be for you to remember what you’ve learned.
So if there’s something that I need to remember, I’ll write it down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere that I’m going to see every day — like on my fridge or on my mirror or somewhere else where I walk past it every day — so that I’ll see it every day and think about it every day. And then, when I have time (which is rare), I’ll read through all those notes again and recap what I’ve learned.
This works really well for me because it means that if there’s something that needs remembering — like a phone number or an address or whatever — then I can just write it down once and then don’t have to worry about forgetting again!
If you use these techniques, you can squeeze in time for studying even when it seems impossible. I hope these tips help you squeeze in time for studying wherever you are. And if you find anything else that works, feel free to share it with others in the comments below. I’d love to hear what works for you when it seems like there just isn’t enough time in the day.