Study Tips for Students by Students
|Date:||30 October 2021|
This week we asked our followers on Instagram to share their best study tips with us. We got some really amazing responses from students on how to deal with an exam season and I thought it would be useful to compile them in a blog for you to read through!
1) Planning is Essential
By far, the most suggestions we received from our followers were to make sure that you have properly planned out your study schedule. Clever use of your calendar will definitely help boost your productivity, and it allows you to see exactly how you are spending your time. Blocking off set hours for specific tasks like re-watching a recorded lecture or working on your summaries and reading materials is a good place to start. I would also suggest that you factor in study breaks and exercise time.
2) Use a Timer
Once you’ve set up a schedule for what you’ll study in a given time frame, a good idea to keep yourself on time is to set a timer! A really good suggestion if you struggle with starting to study, is to set a timer for 10-minutes and try and work as much as you can for those 10-minutes, then gradually extend the timer – you’ll find yourself carrying out a 40-minute study session in no time at all! It’s also a great idea to make sure that you also time your breaks – we’ve all said that we’ll take a 15 minute break that turns out to be a 50 minute one (I know I have). (Pro-tip, a lot of students that I know make use of the Pomodoro technique. It’s quite a simple technique which helps you use your time effectively. Find more information on it here).
3) Avoid Distractions
Phones, tablets, TVs, laptops and cute animals… As useful as these are in our daily lives, during a study session they can be quite the obstacle to productivity. Especially a cute animal… I mean, have you ever had a cat around while studying? They’ll type more on your keyboard than you! I find a quiet spot like the library or a cosy area of your room is a good place to study. Put your phone on airplane mode if you feel the compulsion to check Instagram or TikTok is too strong (I usually just turn it off and use an analogue clock as my timer, old school… I know). Some students suggest listening to classical music to keep you in the zone. If you read my previous blog about studying in the rain, you’ll know that we don’t even need calming sounds all the time in Groningen, the rain provides plenty!
4) Make it Fun
Possibly one of the most useful pieces of advice is to keep your sessions fun! I think a lot of the time we forget that there are ways to make studying a bit more fun. You can easily set up a reward system for yourself – every time you successfully complete a session, give yourself a treat – like a coffee or a snack or watch a short YouTube video. You can also make studying more fun by making your notes interesting – treat yourself by getting a really nice highlighter set, or a good notebook to take some notes, although I won’t tell you to go and start a ‘studygram’ account, but having nice stationery does really make the studying process feel more enjoyable. A really good tip is to use a plant a tree app – it will help you work towards your goals while also doing something sustainable!
5) Take a Breather
Don’t fool yourself, breaks are so important. We are not made to function for 8 straight hours of studying a day without taking a breather. If you feel you need a 30-minute break instead of a 15 minute one, you should take it. Be proud of the little things, even if you feel like you aren’t accomplishing as much as you could, don’t worry too much, any form of progress is good. Also don’t compare yourself to others, we all work at different paces and it’s okay to take a breather in order to get back into your own rhythm. Sleep and exercise are super important so be sure to get 8 hours of sleep and join an ACLO class in a break! If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed and stressed, I urge you to take a look at one of the Student Services Center’s courses on stress management and study techniques - you can find them here. They are really helpful and give you good skills for now and the future.
I hope these tips will help you with your studying. Good luck with the upcoming exams and I hope you do really well!
Do you have more suggestions for students? Leave a comment below!