Yes, you read the title correctly — the new school year has arrived for some and is right around the corner for others. With that being said, I’d like to share a few habits and tips for studying that may benefit you greatly during the academic year!
1. Make weekly summaries
I know what you’re thinking — this seems like a very time-consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be dreadful! I, among many others, have found that keeping a summary notebook for each course is very beneficial for retaining information for longer periods of time. Writing a summary of what you’ve learned in your courses each week will make the pre-test review process easier. However, remember not to review it last-minute before a quiz or test; read over the material in your summary book throughout the year, perhaps before you start each new lesson, so you can remember the important information and be prepared for each assessment and exam. You can dedicate a plain, lined notebook to your course summaries, or you can purchase a summary book that is already pre-planned and ready to be written in!
2. Take breaks
Try not to overload your study sessions. Avoid cramming a ton of work into each session, and really strive to focus on what you’re learning. It may seem easier said than done, especially if you have a lot of assignments to complete, but think of it this way: spending more time on each assignment rather than rushing through them will help you see if you truly understand the material, and most likely you will. Spacing out your assignments and study sessions will assist you in getting better grades because that is more efficient than completing a lot of work, not fully understanding everything, and getting poor grades. Additionally, you’ll want to take breaks during your study sessions, so your brain doesn’t feel overpowered by all of the new information you have just learned! Overall, don’t rush your work and studying!
3. Stick to a schedule
Find a study schedule that works for you and stick to it. Try to keep it the same every day, and maybe even switch it up halfway through the year. Like I mentioned in an earlier blog post, starting your academic routine a couple of weeks before school begins will help you see if it works, make alterations if needed, and get used to it beforehand! Along with this study tip, I’d advise you to notice which courses and tasks are more difficult and which are easier once you start the school year. Then, you may choose to work on the difficult courses and assignments first and get them out of the way while you are able to focus best!
4. Create goals
Before each study session, create goals. Think of what you want to achieve, and what tasks you wish to complete, before jumping right into studying. You can either write these goals down or keep them as mental thoughts, and you’ll be able to look back and see what you’ve accomplished! Doing this a few times may help you realize how many tasks on average you’re able to complete each day so you don’t overload and overwhelm yourself with too much work in the future! With that said, you should also think positive! Seek positive thoughts before, during, and after your study sessions. You don’t want to go into studying with a negative mindset because you may not accomplish as much as you could or work to your full potential. Frequently remind yourself that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, and focus on trying your hardest. Creating or finding a mantra that you can recall throughout your study sessions will keep you thinking positive! Finally, don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing your grades, learning style, or the amount of time it takes you to complete an assignment or test to others won’t leave you feeling happy or motivated, so focus on you and do your best, because everyone learns differently and at their own pace!
5. Don’t procrastinate
Try your absolute hardest not to procrastinate! If you find that you are having trouble focusing and are often getting distracted, turn your technology off and don’t keep it at your desk — or at least right next to you — while you’re studying. If you need to use a laptop, that is obviously an exception, but try not to keep a phone or tablet at your study space because it may be tempting you when you don’t even realize it! Also, eliminate clutter around you. Try to keep your desk as clear as possible — having various items and objects in front of you may be what is causing you to shift your focus from your work to something else. It is very important to make sure you have enough energy before studying. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy brain foods, exercising, and studying at an appropriate time during the day will give you the energy you need to focus on your studies! With that said, make sure you’re also staying hydrated and drinking enough water — and definitely keep a water bottle on your desk! One last thing: don’t focus on the time! While you’re studying, you may be wondering when you should start your next lesson or course, but try not to take time away from your current studying to constantly check the clock.
6. Find your learning style
Discover the learning style that works for you because finding the one that best suits you is crucial to truly excel in your studies. Additionally, with their customized programs, Bridgeway Academy offers a learning assessment that provides you with “in-depth insight into your child’s learning style, personality style, and ideal learning environment. It also provides you with tips on what works and what doesn’t, potential struggles, communication, and the incredible strengths of your child.” I encourage everyone to take their learning style assessment at Bridgeway Academy because it will help you discover your strengths and weaknesses, and give you tips for studying. Take the learning assessment so the school staff can be of greater help to you as you learn!
7. Read actively
While studying, make sure you’re reading “actively.” This means you are truly focusing on and understanding what you’re reading as you’re reading it. Reading actively may also involve taking notes, highlighting important information, asking questions, etc. Just make sure you’re really processing the information that is going into your brain rather than quickly scanning the text, and you’ll be on your way to studying better in no time!
8. Take practice tests
Take the time to complete practice tests throughout the year. Often, textbooks and study guides will include optional questions after each chapter or lesson; they do this to help you better prepare for the upcoming exam, so consider testing your knowledge and answering them to see what you know and what you need to study further. In fact, this also applies to standardized tests! From personal experience, I know that taking practice tests is very efficient and ultimately helps students earn better grades! I took practice tests for the SAT almost every weekend for about 3 months up until the test date. I noted my correct and incorrect answers, studied as needed, and made a graph in which I inserted my sectional scores after each practice test. I was able to not only see my great improvement in the practice tests, but to raise my score immensely on the actual SAT. I know what I did was very time-consuming, and I’m not asking that of you at all! But occasionally looking over practice questions may ultimately help you score higher on your exams and keep you from being overwhelmed when it comes to taking them, because you’ll be prepared for what is to come!
And that is it, everyone! Those are 8 effective study habits and tips that I have learned during my academic career and found are my favorites. I hope these tips ultimately help you improve your own study habits! Let us know in the comments below what has worked for you, and feel free to share any additional tips that may not have been mentioned above! I wish you the utmost success in the upcoming school year!