Ultimate Study Hacks

Studying is undoubtedly one of the toughest things about college. You must do it, yet you really-really-don’t want to. Personally, I hate studying, usually because I end up looking at one book for hours on end, knowing in the back of my head that I really need to be studying something else.

 I have never enjoyed the long hours that it takes to write a paper or the anxiety that hits the night before a test.

I guess I just don’t like stress. 

So I fixed studying.

 Personal discipline, when it becomes a way of life in our personal, family, and career lives, will enable us to do some incredible things. –Zig Ziglar 

I’m not saying that my tips will give you straight A’s or make your Calculus 3 homework easy, but they helped me finish what I have to do in time to still have a social life.

I sat down one day and looked at my grades. They weren’t despicable, but they definitely weren’t the best that I believed I could do. 

I decided right then and there that I would look for a better study habit.

I had been spending my hours poring over books in the library, and scanning English papers until my eyes ached.

What I came up with in the following few weeks was a conglomeration of different ideas and tips that I found through careful study. I picked out the best and put them below. 

1.) Don't study too long.

Take frequent breaks. This is something that I have found helps in my recall of what I am studying. In a 2011 study, scientists found that college students should study for a max of 40 minutes at a time, with 5–10-minute breaks in between study sessions.[1]

And I'm not just talking about 10 minutes on Facebook. Go for a walk, get some water. Anything that gets you out of the room is good.

2.) Work on the easier subjects first and last

Use the subjects that are easier for you to master to bookend the subjects that are really difficult. By the time you get to the hard stuff, your mind will be warmed up and ready to go.

The same goes for finishing your study session. 

Ease your mind out of the stress of remembering all of those facts and terms. (Disclaimer: If you don’t have any “easy” subjects, use the ones that are “easiest.”) 

3.) Go to bed at a reasonable hour.

This doesn’t just go for studying. It applies to life in general. Staying up until two in the morning won’t help you in the long run. You most likely won’t be able to remember all of that stuff anyway, because you were too tired and your brain shut down. It is easier for you to go to bed as early as possible, and get up earlier to study when your brain is fresh. 

Oh, yeah, and don’t use your phone in bed. Larry Rosen, a professor at California State University, said that “We insist on using LED-based devices close to our eyes right up to bedtime even though it negatively impacts sleep and our brain’s nightly needs for synaptic rejuvenation harming our ability to retain information.”* 

That means that if you want to ace that test the next day, you need to put the phone down and go to sleep. I know it’s tough, but it’ll be okay. Scientists have proven that is is actually possible for millennials to survive without their phones. ‘Nuff said.

4.) Pray

Yeah, I know. Sounds cliché, right?

It really is, but it still works.

I try to pray every time I study, and it always helps to clear my mind and give me focus. Try praying specifically for your study time. It will help.

5.) Read over your notes each night

I always try to look over my notes for the day at the end of each day, before I start my homework. It refreshes my memory of the subject that I am about to tackle and gives me the main ideas that have been taught on that day.

6.) Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

I schedule out my days between class and work and found a lot of “lost” time in-between classes here and work there. Altogether, it was about two extra hours that I could devote to studying throughout the day. 

I scheduled every day down to the minute from 8:00am until 10:30 every evening. My schedule is flexible (like a good schedule should be), but it keeps me accountable.

I have the entire weekend open.

I don’t have to do any homework on Saturday or Sunday. Now that’s amazing (and really fun). 

There You Go!

Maybe you have a study hack you’d like to share with us! Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to take a look at it. You never know, you might just see it in an article. Also, we want to hear some topics that you guys want to hear more about! Drop us a note in the suggestion box on the home-page. 

Stay Classy. I’ll catch ya on the flip side!

[1] Atsunori Ariga and Alejandro Lleras, "Brief and Rare Mental “breaks” Keep You Focused: Deactivation and Reactivation of Task Goals Preempt Vigilance Decrements," Cognition 118, no. 3 (2011):.

The thoughts and opinions expressed in Life in the Nest are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Pensacola Christian College.
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