School and studying go hand-in-hand. Regardless of your program of study, there will be tests you need to pass and information you need to remember.
Good studying methods don't only help you pass a test, they should reinforce knowledge for long-term learning. Over the course of your schooling and career, you'll need to reflect on the facts, techniques and strategies you've learned from books, lectures and notes.
Try out these eight study tips that may help you succeed.
- Have a designated study area Some people may carry their books and notes with them wherever they go, studying during available times such as before appointments, on the commute to work or during lunch. Though these times may be helpful, many people need to have a dedicated space where they can sit down and fully devote themselves to studying.
The type of space that works well for you may differ from your classmate, but it’s important to make sure it's comfortable and not too cozy. For example, if you like to spread out your study materials and stay in bed, get a back pillow that keeps you seated rather than lying down.
- Have an emergency study area For many people taking online courses or going to school on campus, it can be difficult to find an always-reliable study spot. In cases like these, it's important to have a backup space. Libraries, coffee shops or even nearby parks are all options.
- Find your best study time When it comes to personal schedules, people fall into far more categories than just morning people and night owls. Some people find themselves most attentive right after they wake up. Others are best following lunch time or once most of the household is asleep.
Find your ideal study time and stick to it. It's important that you don't simply choose a late hour because it's the most convenient – generally speaking, most people do their best work when their minds are alert and fresh.
- Work together While much of your studying will be done solitarily, it's also a good idea to utilize your fellow classmates. While you may have different goals (i.e. phlebotomist jobs as opposed to nursing positions), there's a lot to learn from one another even if it's just casually discussing your classes.
Study groups don't only reinforce learning actively through quizzing one another or group study sessions but they may have a passive beneficial effect on your education as well. You can socialize and relax with a group of people who share your interests and career goals which could help you stay focused, motivated and on-track.
- Test yourself before the test One great option for work groups is to create tests for one another. Those who study solo can also find tests online or in the backs of some their assigned packets or workbooks.
Testing yourself goes back to the old concept of homework. In grade school and high school, you didn't just go home and review what was learned in class or read new material – you completed exercises that tested your proficiency. Often, a good way to learn is by being proactive and doing rather than reviewing.
- Use active study techniques for note-taking Have you heard of “active study” or perhaps “active learning?” The concept is that you can't just reread the same information over and over again. You need to engage in it. Taking tests is one form of active studying and taking notes is another. The kind of notes you take is essential for better results. (HAILEY, considering linking to Active Studying article and vice versa.)
In class, it is suggested to take basic notes, but once you're studying at home, don't just review them. Combine them with highlights from your text and diagram them appropriately. According to Dartmouth University, diagrammatic forms reinforce learning especially when you're tasked with creating them. 1
At the very least, always rewrite your notes while studying at home. The very act of transcribing – if not diagramming – can help reinforce everything you've learned.
- Develop and hone time management skills Studying takes time, and if you're a parent with kids and a job, it can be impossible to imagine where the time to go to class, much less study, comes from.
The time is there; however, it's just a matter of finding it. What many busy students need most are time management skills. If you're a parent and a part- or full-time employee, you've probably got the work ethic for school already, but you need to figure out how to fit it in.
Basic time management skills such as creating a calendar, remaining organized and coordinating your schedule with everyone in your life, even the kids, may help immensely. Emergencies will arise, and you may have to give up a lot of your leisure time but the long-term rewards you may reap from a dynamic and rewarding new career are immeasurable.
- Always, always go to class Compared to actual hands-on field work or the other great learning school’s offer, regular classes may not feel dynamic enough. The importance of going to class cannot be stressed enough: Class is where the foundation for all your learning is done. Whether you're on campus or logging into an online course, make sure you're there every day and ready to learn. That means you're equipped to take notes and have done the appropriate preparation the day before. This makes your class time far more engaging, and in turn, it may make studying a whole lot easier, too!
Studying is just one facet of your new school experience, but it may just be the key to the career path you want most.