There is no single, perfect study pace for everyone. However, there are proven methods to help you digest content faster and improve your ability to retain information.
One key is to avoid studying when you’re tired. That means avoiding staying up all night cramming before an exam and getting enough sleep.
Set a schedule
Whether you work at home or are a student, creating a schedule will help you eliminate dead time during the day where nothing meaningful gets done. Set aside study blocks for each subject you need to focus on, and stick with it.
Make sure to take into account other responsibilities and family or friends’ schedules when you’re planning your study sessions. Communicating with them beforehand will also make it easier for them to respect your study time.
Once you have a dedicated study space and time, try to implement different studying strategies into your sessions. Read, write notes, create flashcards or use some essay writing websites free online — do whatever it takes to familiarize yourself with the material.
Find a good study spot
If your home is a place of distractions, try studying at an alternative location. This could include your university library, local coffee shops or even community centers.
Using a study space that is dedicated to the task at hand helps to create a focussed environment and eliminates the temptation to use it for other purposes. If possible, find a spot that you can leave set up all the time.
A school library can be a great option as it has many quiet spots, including secluded carrels, and it is well-stocked with books to conduct research. It is also a good place to meet fellow students who share your interests.
Listen to quiet music
If you find studying in complete silence to be impossible, try listening to music at a very low volume. This can help focus your attention, but only if you choose instrumental music without lyrics.
Even if the library or your study spot is quiet, there will still be other sounds like breathing and the rustling of pages in books. If these distract you, use ambient noise tracks to fill in the gaps.
Practice the spaced practice study method that is recommended by experts to ensure you learn information. Essentially, this means breaking down a subject into smaller groups to memorize and recall it.
Turn off the TV
A television is a major distraction. It can make you linger on a show that you might not have intended to watch, or you might end up surfing channels or Netflix looking for something interesting.
Turning off the TV can give you back many hours of time that can be used to exercise, strengthen your relationships, and learn new things. You might even add years to your life!
If you’re struggling to get your family to turn off the TV, try a lighthearted approach rather than a moral tirade. The goal is to teach good study habits and self-discipline, not to banish TV entirely.
Studies show that the longer you study without a break, the more your brain is depleted and less able to function. Taking short breaks prevents this burnout and helps you be more productive in the long run.
During your break, avoid digital distractions like social media and video games. Instead, try physical ones, like a walk or a light workout. These activities can also help you to sleep better at night.
A good idea is to set a timer to remind you when your break is over. It will also help you resist the temptation to extend your break. This will save you the frustration of an unproductive hour. And if you worry about your study productivity, better prepare some helpful annotated bibliography examples before you take a break.
Don’t overdo it
Trying to take notes and study everything that happens in class can be overwhelming and distracting. Some students learn better by listening, focusing on key points and reviewing them after class.
Avoid distractions by eliminating unnecessary distractions like Facebook, email and TV. Instead of turning on the TV, try looping a non-distracting instrumental track that you can focus on for 10 minutes before taking a break. This approach will keep you on task and make it easier to stick to your study session. The goal is to create a habit of studying regularly throughout the semester to help you master course material. Cramming the night before a test only leads to short-term learning.