There’s no way around it, studying requires you to invest the correct amount of time and effort into your activities, but the way you study can make or break your success. ‘Studying smart’ can help you save a lot of time which would have been lost with the unfocused attempts of ‘studying hard’.
Today’s article will help you to keep your focus on the important, avoid burnout and make studying simple.
1. Get a study game plan. Studying smart means you approach your work focused and directed. You don’t dive headfirst into the topic and costs yourself the time of backtracking. Instead, you create a study plan.
- specify the day you begin to prepare for your exams and stick to it.
- create a daily schedule of tasks you want to accomplish during exam preparation.
- create a detailed to-do-list, keeping a close eye on what is essential.
- List the books and sections you need to read to gain the knowledge assessment requires.
- Itemise the various tasks and exercises you want to do for preparation.
Depending on the difficulty of your exams and how many weeks and months you have for studying, you could also categorise the weeks/months for preparation into different phases, from
- basic refreshment of knowledge,
- studying, revision and exercise to
- intensive cracking down (social life on hold).
It sounds like a lot of organisation to just sit down and learn. But, that’s just it. If you simply sit down and learn you won’t be learning smart at all. This level of organisation keeps you focused and enables you to maximise your study time.
A clear goal that you pursue gradually with your plan helps you to avoid many extra-hours and focus on what is important.
Summaries establish the foundations on which you can build upon during the upcoming study phase. Succinctly summarising key passages in your own words means you won’t need to revisit the source to read it all over again. You’ll be able to quickly identify the critical statements in the large texts that are very likely to be tested in examinations.
As a consequence, it’ll be easier for you to skip vast amounts of irrelevant data while sifting through the book; though be sure to mark out where the passages came from for future reference.
- Give your study time everything you’ve got. The big mistake is to study hard for long periods and lose focus.
- Don’t get distracted by mobile phones, the internet, TV, radio, telephone, friends or any other amusement which takes away from your study time.
When you study, do it in a focused and proper way, avoid any kinds of distractions and use the time you have to the maximum!
C) THE MAIN PART OF ‘STUDYING SMART’
1. Don’t memorise; understand! Learning by heart is time-intensive, and in most cases, memorisation corresponds to studying hard, not smart. Focus your attention on the understanding and comprehension of the knowledge that is taught.
But how do I understand complex topics? Establish links and associations – Information becomes knowledge through connections. If you cannot relate to a complex topic, it’ll be challenging to understand it. However, when you discover similarities and link new knowledge with concepts that you already comprehend, understanding the matter becomes more comfortable.
Try to spot ties between different topics and establish links between concepts that overlap.
Emotions – Connecting emotions with your subject will significantly help you to internalise the topic.
Have fun while studying! It’s for a fact that remembering things we associate intense feelings with is by far easier.
Once you manage to become curious about your subject and develop an interest in it, you’ve made an essential step towards a smarter way of studying.
Simplification through analogies – “If you want my final opinion on the mystery of life and all that, I can give it to you in a nutshell. The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.”
Complex facts and circumstances can be made clear through analogy. Make use of analogies by comparing a very complicated issue with a more simplified one. This will help make it easier to understand the bigger picture.
Make use of acronyms – If you’re confronted with difficult, specialist words, names or formula, an acronym can be an excellent aide for the memorisation of the word or formula. An acronym breaks down the complex and makes it easier to remember.
2. Perfect your type of studying There are basically four basic types of studying: Visual, Auditory, Emotional and Kinesthetic.
Visual Learners: A visual learner studies most effective when the learning material is depicted in a visual way, e.g. in the form of charts, maps or brainstorming.
Auditory Learners: An auditory learner studies most effectively by hearing the information, for instance, in a lecture or by recording their own words.
Emotional Learners: An emotional learner studies most effectively by associating feelings, emotions and vivid images with the information.
Kinesthetic Learners: A kinesthetic learner studies most effective when the information can be experienced and felt. Learning by doing is a practical approach for a kinaesthetic student.
In order to study smart, you need to discover which type of studying you prefer. Once you know what works best for you, align your process of learning to make the most out of it.
Mathematically talented students should put their notes into spreadsheets, graphs and charts; kinesthetic learners imagine the learning material as vivid as possible; linguistic learners discuss the content with others or record their voice while reading the subject out-loud.
We can help you to work smarter not harder to achieve your professional aims!
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