The dreaded exam week/month has arrived. I’ve been finding it hard to sit down and study (the sun is finally out!) so I thought instead of curling up in a patch of sunlight on my floor, it would be interesting to examine how I study.
You’ll notice that I like to make a big deal out of studying. That way I’ll feel like I accomplished something big at the end of the session. Also, I feel that it helps me be less anxious when I have a routine.
Here are the key parts of how I study:
- Pre-study. I shake the lazy out of me.
- Physical warm-up – Get out of bed.
- Wake myself up – Wash my face / a motivational ‘meditation / food.
- Voice warm-up – Whine “I don’t want to study” in the language of dinosaurs.
- Settle down – Get everything I need (snacks, drinks, study stuff etc.), make my list of goals for that study session and a general timeline guideline.
- Rewards System. I always joke that I’m like a pet when I study. I really (really really) need the motivation to study so I’ll give myself treats such as:
- Finish reading 1 Chapter = Blueberries/Raspberries
- Write-up notes for 1 Chapter = Piece of Chocolate
- Study for 2 hours = Dance break!
- Finish 1 subject = 1 YouTube video
- Actually Studying.
- How I do it.
1. I skim the material making note of important parts in pencil, then read through it again highlighting the important bits (this means that I don’t end up with an entire page highlighted).
2. Type them all out and then print it.
3. Go through the pages with different coloured highlighters for each “thing” (blue = definitions, yellow = key words, orange = examples etc.)
4. Read through the pages out loud making sense of it all. I try to relate all the points to each other and section them under specific headings.
5. Memorize it. Sometimes I’ll copy out sections in a notebook, but I mainly talk through all the points out loud and test myself over and over again. My neighbours probably think I’m bonkers.
- The Zone.
I usually try to get ‘in the zone’. There’s that certain place my mind gets to where I’m really efficient. You know what I’m talking about? This doesn’t always work, so I then move onto step 4.
- How I do it.
- Be Flexible. I’m not good at following a set, locked-in routine so it’s really important for me to know what will work for me at that time and then adapt.
- Study-wise – I’ll know that there will be days where taking breaks will distract me, or I’ll just not be into reading 30 research papers but I’ll be willing to write a 5 out of 10 pages of my essay.
- Schedule-wise – Some days, I’ll know that after 3 hours of studying I’m done, and on other days I know I can do more. Studying past the point where I am efficient and productive is just a waste of my time. Of course, self-discipline is really important and deadlines usually (always) trump my wants.
- Celebrate and Relax. A successful study session should always be celebrated! By actually acknowledging that I had a good study session, I’ll be proud of myself and (hopefully) trick myself into believing ‘that wasn’t so bad!’ so that the next time I study, it won’t feel like such a chore. Time for movies, TV shows, or maybe a bubble bath!
Hopefully reading about how I study didn’t bore you too much seeing as I don’t really have any groundbreaking tricks. If you’ve got anything you do in particular or have any tips be sure to let me know! I’m always excited to try new things.
I hope that life/work is treating you well and have a lovely week!