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How to Study Effectively

When you think of studying, you might feel a sense of dread. But studying doesn’t have to be an unpleasant task. Here are some pro tips for upping your study game and making it part of your daily routine. 

Take Good Notes in Class 

Paying attention in class and taking good notes is key for learning. That’s why it’s important that when you’re writing class notes you’re not just on auto pilot recording information, but rather you’re engaged and conceptualizing it. To make a particular subject more understandable, find ways you can apply it to real life.  

Get Personal  

Class notes are important. However, if you want to take your studying to the next level, it is a good idea to write some personal notes while reading your course book. Why? Most teachers cover general information in class, but your course books include additional important information that can help you more fully understand a particular subject.  

Invest Time  

Whether or not there is a test or exam coming your way, you should always make the time to study. Some students get into the habit of only studying for an exam the night before a test. But this means cramming several weeks’ worth of information in your brain. This way of “studying” is just short-term memorization. It might work for some people… but don’t you want to remember the basics of what you learn in school? 

Investing time in studying doesn’t have to be a time suck. You can start small. For example, even if you don’t have a test or homework due, take a little time (30 minutes) to review your class materials every day. Investing time studying will save you stress and later!  

Find a Calm, Quiet Space   

If you are trying to get the most out of studying, it is important that you have a good space where you can fully concentrate and focus. For most people, cramming in a study session during a football game or at lunch will not be very efficient. Rather, try to minimize distractions, and find a quiet location. If you live in a house where silence is almost never possible, studying at the library is a great option, or tuning into some classical music to cancel out surrounding noise is another great alternative. Plus, listening to classical music can actually improve your ability to concentrate!  

Avoid your phone  

Phones are easily the biggest hindrance when studying. Whenever you hear your phone buzz or ding, there’s a chance you’ll pick it up and find yourself falling down a procrastination hole. So, for efficient studying, try taking your phone (and its many distractions) out of the picture. This means turning off your ringer or powering off your phone altogether.  

If turning off your ringer/phone is not an option, set boundaries around your phone use. This could mean setting a timer for 40 minutes (or however long you wish to study) and not going on your phone until then. After the time is up, allow yourself a 5-minute phone break as a study reward. It’s all about balance!  

Materials and Method Matter 

It also matters what materials you have to study with. Yes, this is where the fancy highlighters and markers come into play. Also, one of the best strategies for studying is having an effective note-taking method. There are several different approaches to notetaking to try. Check out this resource to learn more: https://www.utc.edu/enrollment-management-and-student-affairs/center-for-academic-support-and-advisement/tips-for-academic-success/note-taking 

Finally, um… Let Your Teacher Teach You 

One of the most useful resources you have is your teacher. If you don’t understand something (which is normal), and the book and your class notes aren’t helping, ask for assistance.  

If you’re ever confused, ask for help right away. In school, the content that you learn tends to build on itself. And it’s easy to get overwhelmed fast if you’re not careful. So, make sure you understand the fundamentals and talk to your teacher if you start to fall behind.  

For more tips on effective studying, check out these resources: 

Author: Summer Wildbill is amemberof the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla based in Pendleton, OR. She is a rising high school senior who dreams of being a journalist.

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