t’s that time of year again. Many students are preparing for the beginning of the school year, while others are preparing for their final semester in college. The work load can be intense, but it does not have to interfere with your social life.
The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education. An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don’t know how to study smarter.
TIP: An accountancy professor recommended to wash our face and brush our teeth while studying. She also suggested taking a quick walk for around 15-20 minutes and then coming back to the study material.
Hopefully this gets you in the mindset to build better study habits to prepare for the next exam season.
Here are 11 techniques students can use to balance their workload and still make time for the activities they enjoy.
1. Create a schedule for each class, including each assignment due and the date you plan to turn it in. Knowing what is expected of you before you start your work will help eliminate unnecessary stress. For example, if your econ professor assigns two chapters to be read by Tuesday next week, then that can serve as a deadline for other deadlines. It would be a waste of time to work on an essay two weeks early if the assignment is due next week and you have not finished reading the chapters yet.
2. Try scheduling your homework in short increments instead of one large period at the end of the day. For example, it makes sense to schedule studying for your physics class in the hour before you go to sleep. This way, if you wake up and forget what you studied the night before, it is not a big deal because your alarm went off at 2:00am.
3. Another option for reducing stress is to schedule small rewards after completing one or two smaller increments of studying instead of waiting until the end of each day to reward yourself. This allows students to take a break when they are still in the middle of their work, rather than waiting until the last minute when stress levels are at their peak.
4. Try doing your hardest assignments first so that you have time to relax during the day while working on easier assignments or just relaxing.
5. Set a timer for three minutes and try to do as much of your work as possible in that time frame. Then take a five minute break before resetting the timer again. This can help eliminate procrastination by breaking up your day into manageable periods of work with fun breaks in between. The result will be less stress from being behind on your work, and more relaxation during work periods.
6. Never bring all of your books with you at once. There is no need to carry around eight different textbooks until the end of the semester! Just take what you think that day’s assignment will require or what you know that day’s classes will cover. This may seem like common sense, but it is a very easy thing to do. If you have a difficult time with this, consider getting a backpack that has smaller compartments so you can separate your work for each class.
7. Along the same lines as number six, try not to take more notes from one class than will fit into one notebook or binder. It is overwhelming to have five notebooks for each class.
8. Take care of your body! Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly so that you can be the best student possible.
9. Be sure to reward yourself with breaks or fun activities after completing large amounts of work, even if it only seems like a small amount to you. For example, if you have a twenty page research paper due in your history class next week, try not to finish it all on the same day.
10. If possible, have one day a week when you do not go to classes or study at all. You can then use this time to take care of errands, go to an appointment, or just relax at home.
11. As the semester comes closer to ending, try not to try and cram everything in. Make sure you are taking time for yourself on a regular basis so that you are able to complete all of your work without losing sleep or becoming depressed due to stress.
Remember that stress is manageable. Try to eliminate some stress by planning ahead and scheduling instead of just winging it!