7 Back To School Study Tips
Most students just muddle through and make do, but there are simple ways you can make your Back to School reality check a little less stressful.
#1 - Get Organized
Don't waste time with a one-size-fits-all solution. If you're a "Big Picture" thinker, try a tool that allows you to host your email, calendar, project management spreadsheets, and basic budgeting under one roof. Microsoft Office has bells and whistles, but cash-strapped types will appreciate Google Doc's online benefits.
Task-based thinkers get satisfaction from completing short-term goals. I have a weekly agenda with plenty of space to list deadlines, hold my hastily scribbled colour-coded ideas, and (importantly) the ability to cross off finished task with bold strokes.
#2 - The "Less is More" Study Approach
Think of your studies as an investment. Take 15 minutes per course to review the day's lesson within 24 hours of your class. Waiting until exam period may mean you'll need to entirely relearn concepts which doubles your study time. And of course, staying on top of your studies during the semester will lighten the load significantly during test time.
#3 - Study Efficiently
It's tempting to reach for the simple assignments first, but tackle complex projects while your mind is fresh. Save the less challenging material for when your concentration is slacking - it's a more efficient use of your time and reduces the boredom you'd otherwise experience from studying the same subject for hours without pause.
Know your limits! Do you have difficulty focusing after 45 of 60 minutes? Allow yourself a brief breather to clear your head and keep your concentration at its peak. If your workload doesn't allow for a proper timeout, switch to simpler homework during these lulls. Sometimes ideas need time to "steep" in the back of your mind before you're truly ready to sit down and write that paper.
#4 - Embrace Your Study Style
If you spent your gradeschool years in a typical public or private school, your teachers probably emphasized tidy habits, quiet classroom surroundings, and a logic-based teaching style. You may have already defined yourself as a "left-brained" or "right brained" (i.e. analytical vs. intuitive) learner, but according to a recent study this concept doesn't really hold water.
Contrary to popular belief there is no "right way" to study, so be realistic about how you learn best. Do you need your surroundings to be neutral, silent, and impeccably organized? Or do you prefer a stimulating environment of music, bright colours, and a comfortable level of clutter? Want to pace or ride a stationary bike as you learn? Some students need to debate their way through the material, so build a study group of friends or even talk into a tape recorder or a webcam as a conversational substitute. Draw pictures and flow charts, memorize key facts in singsong or using visual associations - whatever works for you.
#5 - Take Appropriate and Well-Deserved Breaks
Many studies have shown that physical activity, practicing music, and adequate rest enhance academic performance. Rather than zoning out in front of the TV, go for a workout, have a jam session, or take a 20-minute cat nap instead. Allow yourself to take a day off on the weekend and avoid schoolwork entirely for a few precious hours.
#6 - Ask for Help
Universities and high schools want you to succeed because good graduation rates reflect well on their reputations. Find out about available scholarships and bursaries, psychological services, and medical benefits - you might be surprised how much is available to you regardless of your financial situation, and easing your money worries will reduce your stress. Professors and teaching assistants usually offer group tutoring upon request, and make friends with your facility librarians who can quickly track down the exact information you need.
#7 - Get the Right Job
Whether you need the extra cash or just the experience, getting the right employment during the school year or between semesters is a great way to build your resume and reinforce what you've learned. Look for jobs and internships in your desired field or those which will build your skill set in some way. Do not underestimate the value of charity work or international travel to prospective employers, and always ask yourself: "Does this job bring me closer to my goal?"
Have any tips for academic success? Please share them with us in the comments!
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Something that everyone should know. This helps!
I was told perseverance wins success !
Where was this article when I was in school?! Homework and studying for tests always made me frustrated and sometimes the teachers were of no help at all too
All of the above can be applied to professional life as well :)
Great tips! Even though I'm not heading back to school, this can be very helpful in other ways.
All I can say here is I've tried to get my boy's to do just about all of these and they still do things their own way. Sometime I wonder if their really working at all, but they've always managed to bring home the grades. I can only add that food is something that should be added to all your study's. Make sure you eat before class so your not sitting there thinking about what your going to have for lunch when your teacher is going over something very important. As for studding at home, eat then too, but try and make sure it fuel for your brain, not something that's going to make you want a nap.
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