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1. Change your environment.
Always studying in the same place can get very distracting, even if it can get your mind "in the zone" in the meantime. Your family or dorm-mate might distract you, as well as the noises outside. The room might get too cramped (especially if you're stuck with a tiny dorm), or too hot. Check out your area to find different alternatives that might suit you better. Some examples include: a coffee shop, a library, outside, or if you aren't in a dorm, go to a different part of the house!
2. Change up your study routine.
Note taking on paper and in the textbook may be helpful for some, but it may not your thing. You could take notes, but not take in what it means, and reread the same paragraph over and over. That will make studying very boring very fast. Here are some ways to spice up your study session:
- Make a study group. Studying with a group of friends/classmates can put you on track for your study goals. It minimizes the chances of getting distracted by things like social media.
- Do online quizzes on the subject. Testing yourself is one of the most effective ways of studying. It helps you take in everything you're trying to learn since it'll put the stuff you learned to practice.
- Learning a language? Write a journal entry once a day in your desired language. Go back over it in the future to correct your mistakes and see your improvement over time!
- Explain a topic to someone. Trying to teach someone a topic forces you to put the information to practice. A beneficial way of doing this is to sign up to be a tutor for your school. Some schools even pay for tutors or offer other benefits so it's a double win!
- Make flashcards. This is another common method for studying. It makes you put your memory to use, and if you use colored cards, you could use those as memory tools.
- Record yourself reading the notes and listen to it whenever you can. On the bus, train, play it on the speakers in your car, treat this as your own personal audiobook. If you do not like to listen to your own voice, there may even be an audiobook about/related to the subject.
- Listen to music while you're studying. Classical music is one of the most effective, but any genre that is not distracting will help as well. There are plenty of live streams on youtube that stream study music 24 hours every day! Lo-fi tends to be a popular choice too. Spotify has pre-made playlists made both by the app creators and other users for studying.
3. Take a break.
This is a very important and necessary step. Studying too hard can sometimes cause a huge burnout. Stressing out too hard will not help you study or practice. This will make you want to turn to your phone or other distractions and then make you procrastinate. A 10-15 minute break helps. Sometimes even taking an hour break to nap helps. Here are some things you could do while taking that break that won't throw you off your study course:
- Go for a walk/take your pet for a walk.
- Grab a snack.
- Clean up your desk/study area.
- Talk to a sibling or friend.
- Practice an instrument (or a hobby of your choice).
- Stretch/work out a little.
These are only ideas. You can come up with whatever else like these that will benefit you! The important thing is to do something that will clear and refresh your mind.