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It’s that time of the year again! Back to school time! Do you want to get top grades this year and make the most of your school year?
Read all of my simple yet effect study tips that will help you to get top grades in school. These are the exact study tips that I used to get over $80,000 in scholarships!!!
I’m not smart, I just study smart! Keep reading to learn how you can study smart like me too!
1. Take notes by hand
Taking notes by hand (i.e. writing with a pen and paper) helps us to remember what we are learning more easily! Since we cannot write as fast as we speak, we end up consolidating the information and only writing down what is important. This processing is extremely important for learning and committing information for the long-term!
In other words, taking notes by hand helps to improve your long-term memory. You can remember the information a lot better than if you were to take notes with a laptop.
This is also the same reason why I no longer bring my laptop to class. Instead, I bring a notebook so that I can pay full attention to what the Professor is saying.
I only write down what is useful and what I want to remember later on.
2. Review your notes daily
Another simple and effective study strategy is to review your notes every single day! It only takes a few minutes per day!
Even if the exam is not for another 4 months, it pays off to review information daily as soon as you learn it.
Why? We remember information best when it is fresh. As time goes by, we tend to forget it.
By reviewing information regularly, we prevent this process of forgetting what we just learned.
The more you review, the more the information starts to stick (it is being moved from short-term memory to long-term memory).
I love this study strategy because it has really helped me to avoid cramming for exams. Through regularly reviewing what I have learned, by the time the exam rolls around, I will have already committed all the information to long-term memory. And THAT is exactly how I manage to ace all of my exams!
As a side note: CRAMMING USUALLY DOES NOT WORK!!! Why?
Because everything you have learned in this short period of time is still in your short-term memory. It is much easier to recall information that is in your long-term memory. That is why we need to give our brain the time to process new information and store it in long-term memory!
Main takeaway? Review your notes daily and you won’t even have to study when exam time comes around 😉
3. Use a planner and schedule regular study time
I also use a planner to organize my time. A planner also allows me to use effective time blocking.
My favourite planner of all time is anything made by Moleskine:
For each day I plan to study, I dedicate a specific chunk of time for each course I am taking. Some courses may require more time, and others a little less.
I also write out the tasks that have to be done for each course for the day.
This helps me to eliminate overwhelm. If I just write “Study Algebra,” I start feeling overwhelmed because I don’t know where to start.
However, if I break out the tasks, I know exactly what I need to focus on and am more likely to finish my task.
For example, instead of writing “Study Algebra,” a typical “daily task” would look like this:
- Read pages 10-15 in textbook
- Do exercises 1-5 in problem set
- Review class notes from last week
Having small, actionable steps keeps me motivated. The task of “studying” doesn’t look so “challenging” anymore when I break it down into smaller steps!
4. Clean your desk and turn off distractions
I have also started to clear my desk and turn off all distractions.
Clearing my desk and having a clean workspace motivates me to want to work.
Back when I had a cluttered desk, I never wanted to get started. The messy desk was such a turnoff and I kept thinking of excuses to avoid studying.
Now that I have clean desk, I almost look forward to getting to my desk and studying!
Also, it is important to:
- Put your phone away
I have a really bad habit of checking my phone every five seconds. It is distracting and I end up wasting hours on social media and getting nothing done. Ever since I put my phone away, my study habits have improved. I study in way less time and I learn more effectively too.
If you want to get rid of all temptation, I would suggest putting your phone in another room completely. You can put your phone on emergency calls only in case you’re scared of missing something important.
If you can’t part with your phone right away, at least turn off notifications so that you don’t get distacted whenever you get a message!
- Use a screen time tracking app
My iPhone has a screen time tracking application which shows me exactly how much time I spend starring at my screen. It even divides it by app and activity. It’s really cool! If you don’t have an iPhone, there are a bunch of screen time tracking apps recommended for Android as well.
- Turn off Wi-Fi.
If I need to study with my laptop, I will turn off Wi-Fi to eliminate distractions. With the Wi-Fi on, it is so easy to just go on the internet whenever I get sick of studying. By turning off the Wi-Fi, I force myself to stay focused and study for the amount of time that I’ve allocated to studying!
5. Make studying fun
Finally, make studying fun again. How?
Try studying in groups. If you don’t find it too distracting, studying in groups can be an amazing way to socialize and share knowledge at the same time! I find that discussing the class material with others helps me to understand it a whole lot better.
If I am able to explain something to a friend, then I know that I have truly understood the concept. If I cannot, then I know I should probably go and revise that section a little bit more.
Also, sometimes someone else understands something a little differently than you and may have a better way of remembering it. I’ve had a lot of friends who explained concepts to me and make things crystal clear! They were way better teachers than the Professors themselves!
If group studying is not for you, you can also come up with creative ways to study, such as:
- Making flash cards (try Quizlet – it’s free!)
- Making learning games
- Making a song or video
- Thinking of a clever acronym or rhyme to help you remember information
Studying does not have to be a chore! I actually love studying because I love learning new things!
I have been asked quite often to share my top 5 study strategies. The ones I listed here are quite simple, and when followed, can help you to ace your exams and even earn some extra scholarships!! My suggestions are to take notes by hand, review regularly, use a planner, remove distractions, and make studying fun through group studying or games!
I hope these study tips help you! What tips did I miss?
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