The SMART way to study!
Studying can be made easy and fun! The first thing that can allow this is a positive mindset. In the words of Norman Vincent Peale, “change your thoughts and you will change your world.” We shouldn’t think of studying as work, as this may cause a lack of interest before studying can even begin.
Over the years you might have noticed that you cannot carry the same study patterns to different grades/levels of your education. This may be due to an increase in workload, more classes, and so forth. Despite this, there are several study techniques that can help you keep up with your studies even as educational levels change.
I present to you the study SMART technique. The study SMART techniques break down studying into SCHEDULE: how to come up with a study plan and stick to it; MEASURE: how to take account of the time and work; AVOID: things to avoid while study sessions are on-going; REVIEW: how to best review your work and TREAT: what better way to end your studying sessions with a treat.
Let’s jump right in!
Having a study plan is crucial for studies, as it gives you a guide of what needs to be covered when work should be done and how work should be done. Most people may say it’s hard to follow study plans but this is because these individuals set unrealistic study targets and put a heavy workload on themselves. A study plan requires one to be true to themselves. Creating a study plan that requires you to study in the morning when you best study at night is an example of an unrealistic plan. With that said, here is how to best make your study plan:
- Write down all the work that you need to cover, and I mean all the work! Even the things that you think you know very well must be noted. This helps you as you cannot make a study plan without knowing what it is that you have to do.
- Make sure you gather notes, reference books, and everything you might need for each particular subject as this makes each study session much easier to handle, having compiled your work.
- Have a calendar, make one, buy one, do anything possible to have a calendar. This helps you to space out your work and know how much time you have to cover your work.
It is very important to know how long you will be spending time studying, these may be times in a day, in a week, and even up to a month. This helps you know how you will manage to cover the work that needs to be done. Measure your time and work according to how much time each subject/topic needs. Please be realistic, you also need time to do other things like watching a show with your family, spending time with friends, or whatever it is that you have in mind as you take measure of how much time you will spend studying.
As you already know, it’s important to take breaks as you study. This allows your mind to refresh and prepare for whatever has to be assimilated next. However, breaks come with a lot of distractions and this may lead to disrupted study time and failing to meet your study goal for that particular session. So here is a few things you might need to avoid during study time:
- The classic one, avoid your phone! However, people usually have the excuse of using their phones for referencing and so on, so in this case, avoid social platforms. This is not something to stress on as you surely know how it goes, one conversation leads to another, one video to another, one meme to another, and before you know it study time is over. This just implies that if you are using your phone for your studies, be intentional about it.
- Avoid taking a nap during your study breaks, this may lead to you actually falling asleep and if you are clever enough to say you will set an alarm, most of the time you will need to spend on napping will be consumed by you wondering how much time you have left to nap.
Other things that you need to avoid during study sessions include highlighting your notes, yes, you read right! Highlighting notes is pretty and as much as you may feel like you are studying, research shows that highlighting only helps with initial reading and not studying. I could go on and on about the things you need to avoid but the list can only get longer. So be true to yourself, stay away from what distracts you!
It is important to know how much you have learned, your strong topics, and your weak topics. After having studied it surely does feel like you can conquer the world but, to be honest, some information is forgotten over a period of time. This is why reviewing your work is crucial. You can do so by writing down all that you can remember, without having to look through your notes. This gives you ideas of the things you know well and the things you need to have a look at again. Another way of reviewing your work is by going through questions, this could be online questions and past exams from your institution. This gives you ideas on how questions are phrased and how you need to go about answering questions (in terms of essay questions).
It is always important to have something to look forward to, talk about classical conditioning! Even as you prepare for your studies, prepare your treats too. Small treats for small wins and big treats for big wins. You cannot decide to give yourself a free week for merely reading two pages of your notes. Like I keep emphasizing, be true to yourself. Yes! You surely need to be rewarded for your studies well done but your reward system should be realistic. If you are wondering what exactly a treat could be, watching that movie you have not seen could be a great treat, maybe reading a good novel, sleeping an extra hour. Honestly, you know best what gives you a rush of dopamine, whatever it is, this is your time to do after a study well done.
This article could go on explaining, what needs to be done and what shouldn’t be done. What you need to know is that you have to study to attain knowledge. You need to be ready and eager for new information, behold the smart way to study has come to you! Take this information and use it: study SMART.
If you like this article, you can save it to your learning techniques board on Pinterest.
Read about some more tips on studying in this article.