Studying certainly is a challenging task. Maybe you don’t enjoy reading, maybe your notes are a mess, or maybe you are easily distracted–whatever the reason, many of us struggle to find an effective studying method. If you’re looking for a way to make the most of your study time, check out these five awesome study hacks:
1. Block online distractions. We’ve all been guilty of this at one point or another–you sat down with the best intentions, planning to study hard, and then you glance at the clock and realize you’ve been watching funny animal videos for the past two hours. The internet has this way of sucking you in and making you oblivious to the concept of passing time (especially when pandas are involved–seriously, who can resist frolicking pandas?). If this is a recurring problem, you’ll definitely want to check out the apps “Self-Control” (Mac) or “Freedom” (PC). These apps allow you to set a specific amount of time where you will be unable to use the internet, even if you try rebooting the computer. You can also block individual sites (such as YouTube and Twitter), if you need the internet for study-related reasons.
2. Get moving. Did you know that squeezing in your favorite workout before studying can make a huge difference? Scientific evidence proves that exercise boosts your brain power by increasing levels of hormones in your brain. Benefits of exercise include sharper thinking, improved memory, and stress relief–all of which directly impact your ability to study. Experts agree that a high-intensity workout is most beneficial, helping you to learn 20% faster than a low-intensity workout. Studies show that the clarity and focus one experiences after a workout can last for nearly one hour, and the mood-boosting benefits last up to 12 hours.
3. Get lots of sleep and chew lots of gum. If your memory is less-than-spectacular, you might want to try getting more sleep–and chewing gum. According to the Sleep Foundation, the brain undergoes changes during sleep that help to strengthen memory. Research shows that during sleep, memories are shifted to different brain regions, making it easier to learn and remember new information. Research also shows that people who get enough sleep are able to recall memories faster and with more accuracy than those who do not.
Chewing gum is also believed to be beneficial during studying and testing. Research shows that the act of chewing gum acts as a stimulant for your brain, waking you up and increasing your heart rate and cerebral blood flow. This means you are more alert and better able to focus on the task at hand.
4. Reward yourself. It’s important to recognize and appreciate your own efforts. Set up a reward system during your study sessions. The reward can be something simple but satisfying–a jellybean for every page of notes you memorize, a cup of coffee for every 10 pages of text that you read, or a new song on your phone for every unit study guide that you complete.
5. Take short breaks. Cramming for hours on end has never really benefitted anyone. It might seem like a good idea, but research proves that minds wander after endless hours focused on one task. Use a timer to figure out how much time you spend studying before you start to lose focus. Whether it’s 20 minutes or an hour, be sure to takes breaks at those intervals. A five-minute break spent focusing on an entirely unrelated activity can help your brain reboot and will greatly increase your concentration when you return to studying.
Although everyone learns differently, these five study hacks are fairly universal and beneficial for most students. These hacks are simple to implement and easy to stick to–getting enough sleep, getting lots of exercise, and eliminating distractions are all keys to successful studying. These actions allow the brain to rejuvenate and focus sharply, which means you’ll retain more information and recall it more quickly during a test. Please feel free to contact us to learn about more helpful life hacks that will make the most of your time in college.