If you’re anything like me you probably think reading the first three sentences of your notes should count as “studying”. My lack of interest in rereading, copying notes, or looking over what I’ve mindlessly highlighted is not a new problem. In high school I had issues getting motivated to sit down for more than five minutes at a time, and it has only gotten harder since I moved to college.
I have compiled just a few things I’ve learned about studying while Googling “how can I force myself to study?”
1. Don’t highlight everything!
Oops…I’m guilty. I have to admit, I kind of just like the colors. It’s just difficult to find what is really important, and what is just filler. So instead of highlighting every single word (which is just a waste of highlighter, really) why not try copying the pertinent information? Copying will help your mind memorize what you’re reading, and will make you stop and think “Is this really important enough to bother?”
2. A 10 to 50 ratio is backwards.
Everybody tells you that study breaks are healthy and will help your mind recharge. This is really important, and can stop you from getting too overwhelmed while studying. However, 10 minutes of studying followed by a 50 minute break (Netflix, anyone?) is not conducive to your ability to actually retain what you’re studying. Try flipping that: 50 minutes of studying with a 10 minute break: maybe listen to some music, have a snack, get up and walk around, or (quickly) check Facebook.
3. Talk to yourself!
Maybe this isn’t the best choice for you if you’re in the middle of the library, or have a particularly touchy roommate, but talking to yourself can be very helpful! Just like you should read essays out-loud because your ear catches errors your eyes cannot, reading notes out-loud can be beneficial. If you’re an auditory learner, repeating the information to hear it can help with memorization.
4. (Last but not least) Create the environment you need to study.
I’m the kind of person that needs total silence to study, so I’m not going to try to get work done while in the fishbowl. Some people need background noise, and some people need music. Whatever it is that you need, do that: you’re wasting your time “studying” if you can’t even focus.
Don’t get overwhelmed with upcoming midterms, (gosh, already?) quizzes, and tests. Remember to eat well before tests, and make your study breaks worth-while. You’ll be seeing A’s in no time!
By Quinn Murphy