Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well and I wish you a lovely year ahead. 2020 has been tough on all of us, but thankfully, there were still small joys to appreciate. Fingers crossed that 2021 will bring us more joys than sorrows, though!
I know this post might not sound like the most fun (even though it was fun to write 😅) but I think it’s very timely (at least, right now). Because if you’re a student like me, you’re probably going back to school soon, and while having two weeks off from school was so needed and helpful, it’ll be hard to get back into the mood for school without some study tips…am I right? 😀
These are 4 studying & productivity tips that I have found worked for me since we entered distance learning. These tips may or may not be scientifically proven, but if you’re wondering how to improve productivity with your studying, I hope you find these tips helpful!! Even if they don’t work out for you, it could be worth a try. Either way, no pressure, I just wanted to do a study tips post and it was lots of fun to do 😊
I’ll have a shorter explanation and longer explanation to go with each of the tips. The former is there if you’re in a rush and the latter is there if you’re curious to know my own experiences with these tips. But it’s totally okay if you can only get to the shorter explanations, the longer ones just feature more of my own experiences. 😉
Now, let’s get started!
- Know What You Want to Achieve
Basically, know what you are studying and why. This may seem obvious, but I think it’s really important to know!
Planning your study schedule is one thing – planning the structure of that study period is another. Knowing what you want to cover with that study period is essential to productivity and feeling good about your work after. What are you hoping to achieve with the study period? Read two chapters? Do ten practice problems?
I generally study the most for math, as I get the most quizzes/tests from this class. My teacher provides us really good review worksheets that we work on during the class periods prior to testing day. But after I complete and check my answers, I like to do a little extra.
Our textbook correlates with Khan Academy lessons, so whatever material we are going to test in that week, I go to the related Khan Academy practices. I may open up as many as seven tabs to as few as two.
If the material is more multi step or conceptually more difficult, I’ll spread the studying out. I might do the practices over three study periods on three different days or I might do them all in one day and go back to the most challenging ones later in the week. With all the tabs open for as long as I need them, I have a concrete picture of what I should cover in my studying, and it reduces stress because I know I am being productive and have a plan to continue being productive.
This was a little lengthy 😅 but I felt that this was a tip I don’t see floating around a lot and as it’s really helpful, I thought it best to give a more in depth explanation!
2. Experiment with Highlighting and Color Coded Systems
Aesthetically pleasing and organized notes are most ideal to study from and come back to! Try organizing by color – pink for vocab, orange for new concepts, yellow to show connections, etc. But make sure you don’t spend too long trying to come up with a system or stress about staying consistent or remembering! This is meant to help not distract. And the age old trick of highlighting essential info is always there!!
I recently started using Notion to put all my organized and color coded notes in. I love how I can insert subpages and make toggled lists especially! I haven’t tried all the features yet of course, but look forward to it. I try putting my notes for science and social studies in different sections, and use colored fonts and colored backgrounds to differentiate between them.
For example, with science, I might have a Getting Started section—a toggled intro for my notes on the day’s lesson. I might make the font blue or purple (it’s very readable, no worries!). When getting into the actual notes, I might make the background a light yellow or green for some of the related points (Notion is very easy on the eyes!).
3. Curate a Study Playlist
You might not like playing music while you study. That’s totally ok! I don’t do it a lot either. But sometimes, when the studying is a little dry and you need some “juice” to get your brain flowing better, yes you can take a cup of actual juice, but you can also play some soft instrumental music. I highly recommend “lo-fi beats to relax or study to” or “ambient rainy day coffee shop music”.
I have a playlist called Ambient/Study. And you bet I have lo-fi beats in there! I also like setting-inspired music, such as being in a coffee shop on a rainy day (there’s actually music for that). Music can be a great way to ease the studying and make it more fun. But if it’s too distracting or it takes too much time to choose a song, feel free to ~ let it go ~. Studying shouldn’t be stressful, even if it is for a test!
4. Reward Yourself
Take a break from studying! Watch an hour of your favorite TV show, curl up with a good book, talk to your friends, listen to music, or even just take a nap. Studying without breaks is like hiking a mountain with no rest—it gets tiring easily and gets harder to push through.
There’s actually a method called the Pomodoro Technique. There are some variations, I assume, but the one I’m familiar with is when an hour of studying is broken down like this.
First 15 minutes — Study | Next 5 minutes — Rest | Next 15 minutes — Study | Next 5 minutes — Rest | Last 15 minutes — Study | Last 5 minutes — Rest
Personally, I like studying for long periods of time (1 – 2.5 hours) and taking a nice break afterwards—green tea ice cream and Netflix, here I come! So I don’t use the Pomodoro Technique very much, but who knows? Maybe I will in future…
But I’m sure the Pomodoro Technique is popular for a reason! Studying is very subjective — find what works best for you!
My hopes are, that with this post, you were able to find some new tips for studying efficiently, or even relate. Do you use Notion or Khan Academy? Do you like color coding your notes? What are study tips you found helpful! Tell me your thoughts in the comments below! I would love to see them 😀
Happy studying! I hope that all of you have an easy transition back into the regular schedule. But remember that despite how much work may need to be done, it is so important to have fun when you can. Having an equal balance of work and play is essential! So take care of yourselves, and stay happy and healthy!! I’ll see you soon!!!