Do you ever find yourself cramming for a test or exam at the last minute? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. With a little bit of planning, successful study sessions come much more easily. Follow these five study tips below to improve your techniques and achieve your academic goals in no time.
The first step to achieving a successful study session is to have an organized workspace. Having a dedicated space for studying allows you to stay focused and reduce distractions. It’s important to personalize your space and make yourself feel comfortable while keeping the space functional and practical.
Maybe your most effective location is a desk with a comfy chair or a quiet corner of your bedroom. Wherever it may be, ensure it’s a space with good lighting and enough room to spread out your textbooks and notes. Try to have storage or a drawer for things like pens or pencils, chargers and any other study essentials to reduce the number of times you need to get up during your session. When everything is easily accessible, you’ll have the tools you need to have a great experience.
Whether you’re studying for a test or exam, or working on an essay or assignment, it’s critical to manage your time carefully. Designing a timeline in advance allows you to organize the assignments or projects that may take more time than others. Some people work best when they allow a certain period of time for each chapter or section of the material they’re covering.
It’s always a great idea to include a little extra time in your schedule, in case a topic or task takes longer than you originally planned. Most importantly, if you know there’s a test on the horizon, be sure to set aside some time for review the day before. Then in the morning you won’t have to worry about last-minute cramming and you’ll feel more confident entering the test. Having a schedule means you can check on your progress daily to ensure you’re reaching your study goals.
Study sessions can be quite long, especially for university students. Scheduling designated break times into your study schedule will help prevent burnout and keep you focused. One common method is to study for 30 minutes, followed by a five or 10-minute break before returning back to your work. If you schedule breaks, you also give yourself a benchmark to look forward to, which helps the time pass more quickly.
When you give your brain time to rest, it’s able to focus more during the study periods. If you’re someone who finds yourself taking too many breaks and struggling to focus, try setting a timer and not looking at the clock until it goes off.
During your study breaks, it’s also important to fuel your body. Although endless cups of coffee may sound like a good idea, try eating more nutritious foods and drinking water to keep yourself energized instead. Snack on healthy carbs, fruits and veggies to boost your focus and fuel your body. Not only will you find yourself having more energy, but you may also notice improved memory and the ability to process information faster.
We simply can’t perform at our best on an empty stomach.
One of the most important aspects of a student’s success is motivation. It’s the driving force that encourages you to be productive and accomplish your goals! Try to find activities that help you feel motivated to study. Whether it’s listening to your favourite music or podcast, or burning off some stress with a good workout, start to associate these things with having a productive study session. Eventually, you’ll develop a routine that puts you in the right mindset to focus and will set you up for success.
CBU has a great list of student resources to improve your study sessions. The Library, Math & Science Centre and Writing Centre are available to students online and by appointment.
Keep an eye out for free study and organization workshops offered throughout the year, and don’t hesitate to set up a meeting with an Academic Success Coach to discuss your unique goals. A full list of student services can be found on the CBU website.