Education undoubtedly plays a very important role in modern society. This could be attributed to the increased demand for skilled manpower globally. Of course, by now you know that education comprises of both training and assessment. The training part is often easy, but it all gets tricky when it comes to assessment. You need to have studied well enough to at least get a chance at good grades. School life is very competitive, so having the best study skills is sure to set you apart from the rest. Therefore, what study practices will get you those good grades?
1.) Properly managing your time
Even when it comes to studying, time is money. Creating time to study each week is essential in guaranteeing you good grades. Managing your time might seem hard at first, but it surely is possible.
The first thing you need to do is create a realistic daily study schedule to ensure you study consistently. Practice makes perfect, thus regular study will improve your grades. Make sure to balance the study times of each subject on the schedule, although you could spend some more time on subjects you're weak in. A study plan setting apart 2-3 hours each day should do the trick. Early mornings and late evenings before you go to bed are very good study times. Don't grow into the habit of procrastinating till the last minute to start studying for a paper, remember that this is STUDY time. You'll have to set apart more time to complete your other assignments.
2.) Become an active learner
If you wish to achieve success in your studies, you have to know how to play the part. In short, you should learn to passionately participate in all activities pertaining study.
During classes, learn to be inquisitive. Frequently asking questions during lectures helps you get answers to what you don't know and may forget to read about. Additionally, be an active participant during group studies. This really helps in your retention of information. Group work also is a quite good source of new knowledge and learning techniques (techniques your group members use when studying alone).
Another very important aspect of active studying is taking notes. During a lecture, don't just look at the professor. It is rather obvious that you'll get bored and drift away. Taking notes makes you concentrate during the lecture so that you don't miss a single word. Furthermore, the notes can act as very good reference material when you're preparing for a paper. So, embrace the habit.
3.) Practice effective reading techniques
Believe it or not, you need the right technique to study. Holding a book and blatantly reading through it will not only waste your time, it'll also frustrate you.
When studying, the first thing you need is a good environment. It needs to be both comfortable and relatively quiet. You should effectively get rid of all possible distractions, including; noise from the TV or radio, your phone and/or gadgets you don't need when studying and sibling distraction, just but to mention a few. If you can, just make a trip to the library, it should be conducive enough.
Once you're in a good environment, clear your mind. Writing your thoughts on a piece of paper should help you in doing so, sharpening your focus. Ensure you have everything you need to study before starting, i.e. resource materials (text books and notes), the proper stationery (pens, highlighters and pencils), snacks and a watch so that you can time yourself. This prevents you from moving around when studying.
After that's done, it's time for you to start studying. Firstly, decide what you want to cover during the entire study period. Once you've done that, formulate questions in your mind regarding the topic at hand and write them down. With the questions in mind, skim through the pages your looking to cover first without memorizing and read the words to yourself. This is helpful in preparing your brain for the study session.
Afterwards, start reading in-depth while highlighting new/important terminologies. You'll need them when referencing. Additionally, make short notes on a separate book or on sticky notes; they should be very short, say a sentence per idea. List the most important ideas first since they give you a general feel of the whole topic when revising for a paper. Don't forget to take at least 10-minute breaks with each hour to increase your alertness. After the study session, constantly ask yourself, "Can I effectively explain this topic in class?". If the answer is yes, you're on the right track.
4.) Lower your stress levels
This shouldn't go without mentioning. Stress plays a very negative role when it comes to effective studying, hence it should be completely eradicated.
It is important for you to establish your stress triggers so that you can prepare yourself both physically and mentally to effectively deal with them. If you can't handle them, seeking the advice of a professional such as the student counselor should prove useful.
There is also a hormone in the brain called Serotonin, which gives you a "feel good" sensation when it is released. Snacking lightly during study not only boosts this hormone, it also shields you from unwanted cravings. However, do not, and I mean DO NOT consume high-energy foods when studying because they'll make you want to sleep.
5.) Prepare well for exams
Remember the short notes you made when studying? They come in really handy during this process. Exam periods tend to be very chaotic, with people searching for notes and staying overnight trying to cram them.
If you've followed the first 4 steps, this should be a walk in the park for you. All you need to do is go through the short notes that you wrote to jog your memory. You should also have resource materials such as textbooks and class notes next to you in case you need reference. Apart from reading the notes, look for questions on the topic from different sources and answer as many as you can. Don't forget to ask for help if you don't understand something.
Also, get enough sleep. Studies have shown that sleep is essential in improving your memory. Eat a nutritious diet and stay relaxed. Stress is the last thing you need before an exam. Get to the exam room 30 minutes prior to the paper so that you get used to the atmosphere. Don't forget to carry all you need with you.
These 5 simple steps should make studying a wonderful experience for you. All you need to do is stay principled and be true to yourself. Consistency is a key aspect of success, and so you should strive to achieve it. All in all, I hope this makes your stay in school a much happier one.