Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Study More Efficiently

Make a Plan 

This might be the best advice that I've been given in terms of getting a good start on your studying. Make. A. Plan. Personally, I like to plan in increments of about 30 minutes because that is the most realistic way to do it. I don't mean only thirty minutes at a time, but there is no reason to decide you need 22 minutes to work on something, that is ridiculous.
That being said, when you make a plan it is easier to know what you need to do and what you have left to do. Like I mentioned in this post, there are plenty of times that you will have over or under estimated how much time you need for a particular task, but at least you have a basis of something to follow and you aren't spending time in between trying to decide what to work on next.

Set Goals

In keeping with the first tip, setting goals gives you an big picture idea of where you "need" at certain points. For general reading this could be a certain place in the book, or a certain number of cases. For outlining, you could set a goal of x amount of chapters for the day, or a certain day in your notes that you want to get through. If I have printed my notes out, I like to put tabs every so often and use those as my goals that I want to reach. The key to this is to set realistic goals. Trust me, it feels a lot better to set a relatively easy goal and exceed it rather than to set a far reaching goal and come short.

Organize Your Material 

Organizing your material can really help streamline your studying and outlining. I struggled initially with getting all of my information together before the semester was over, but as you know, or will know shortly, it is very important to start your outlining before classes are actually over. I think the best way to go about it is to print your notes through the day you start and then within your notes make some kind of notation like, "PRINTED THROUGH OCT. 20." That way when you print the rest of your notes at the end of the semester or some other time, you know where to start.
Doing these things will make sure you only have the material that you need and makes it easier to find what you need instead of wasting time filtering the important information and relevant class notes.

Limit Your Use of Social Media

This might seem obvious, but if you actually do it you will notice a huge difference in the amount of work you can get done in such a short time. I understand you need to take breaks, but schedule those breaks or allow them to coincide with goals you set. When you can work for 45 minutes to an hour without distraction you are going to get a lot more done. I will be the first to say that this is hard, everyone's first instinct when they start to get bored is to grab their phone and open up Twitter, Facebook, etc. But, after you see how beneficial it can be, you will appreciate the limited use while you're studying. Sometimes I try not to use my computer at all so that I'm not tempted to open up Facebook, Pinterest, or other non-school websites, but obviously most of the time you need to use your computer.

When I was in undergrad I discovered an App you can download for your computer called "Concentrate" and with this App you can block certain websites from yourself for a certain period of time. Maybe you have more self control than me and you don't actually need an App to keep from getting on those websites. But if you are as easily distracted as I am, this is a great tool. I'm sure there are others like it - and turning WiFi off can be enough sometimes, unless you need Lexis or access to your email - but I have used this for a few years and it is really helpful.

What are some things you do to study more efficiently?

Have a Great Day, Y'all!

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