I am now in the final year of my degree and by now I have learned a few things about studying (that work for myself anyway). I have been really busy these couple of days with university work and that actually gave me the idea to write a blog post on study tips that I use before and during exams season. I remember when I was studying for finals in my last year of school, I would always google study tips and hacks for students and I have to admit that some of them actually worked. Simply by trying out different methods, I narrowed down the ones that work most effectively for me and I am still using them until today. For example I have realised that I am 100% a visual person. If I am studying for a sit down exam, I have to write down my notes (the traditional way, on a paper) and then go over important parts with coloured markers to make them stand out and that is how I actually learn.
Some areas to keep in mind during exams are to make sure you get enough sleep, eat good food, and stay hydrated. These are three very important aspects of our health so under no circumstances should we neglect them. Keeping that in mind, all the other tips I will mentione are subject to your character and personal preferences. Do not be afraid to try out different things as it is the only way to find out what truly works for you.
1. Eat Well
Studying always makes me really hungry and I am not surprised. Even though it is not physical exercises it very tiring mentally. You burn energy studying and you have to eat well in order to recover all that energy. If you choose to eat junk food, it will only make you feel tired all the time which is not good when you have to write a paper and study for exams. Cook your meals yourself so you know exactly what you are putting in your body and if you do not have a lot of free time then just meal prep. Plan your meals for the whole week, freeze them and then all you have to do for the rest of the weak is heat up your email and you will have dinner ready I 20min with zero effort required. I am not a nutritionist so I cannot tell you what you have it but overall we all know what we should and shouldn’t eat. So make sure you are only putting in your body foods that make you feel good and give you energy.
2. Stay Hydrated
This one goes hand in hand with my previous point but it is extremely important to make sure that you stay hydrated by drinking enough water. Tea and coffee are good (for those of you that drink those) however so beverage can or should replace water as nothing else can keep you as hydrated. When you go to the library or sit down on your kitchen table to study, make sure you always have with you a big bottle of water. You can try to add lemon and cucumber slices, and mint leafs to give add flavour to your water. Another thing I like to do is add food supplement tablets to my water. They do not only add flavour to id but they also give me so much energy! I believe that if you eat right there is no need to take any vitamins or supplements as everything your body needs should already be found in your diet. I eat like I normally do and for those days when I need an extra push I like to add a tablet to my water. For me it works very well and I suggest that you try it however remember that they cannot replace food.
3. Sleep Well
You have to make sure you are getting enough sleep. I cannot stress how important this is! You might stay up until 3:00a.m. studying and you might do the same thing the next day and the one after, but eventually all the tiredness will catch up to you. You might think it will not, but I can promise you it will and it will not be pretty. When you are studying, it is crucial that you give your brain time to process all the information it called over the day and recover. If you skip this process of recovery, you will just reach a point where nothing you read will make sense that will be when you know that you have taken it too far. I am sure this will happen to you if it hasn’t already and do not worry it is not the end of the world. However to try and avoid this stage (of feeling like your brain is fried haha) it is extremely important that you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. I know many people are more productive during night time, and the reason I know is because I happen to be one of them. However if you have an exam period of 2 months, you can deprive yourself from sleep (even if you sleep for 8 hours in the day time, you still cannot recover the sleep you lost during night time). Therefore what I suggest is to try and do this every other night. So if you stay up really late one night, make sure that the next night you go to sleep on time and wake up early ready to continue with your work.
4. Have A Plan
When I am studying I find it very helpful to have a plan and know what it is that I am working towards. Whether it is that you want to make a plan over a five week period or a plan for one day it will be very helpful to right down exactly what it is that you wish to get done in that certain amount of time. It might be that you choose to spend two hours, do as much work as you can on one topic and then spend the rest of your day on a different subject. Or it might be that you choose to focus on one area and work on it for as long as it takes until you get it done. You have to take the time, sit down and make a plan that works for you. Every time you get a little lost and start procrastinating or just forget what you are even supposed to be working on, you can always go back to that plan to get you back on track. At the end of the day you get to feel accomplished when you realise you actually achieved the goals that you had set for yourself.
5. Have A Studying Schedule/Method
Some people can study for 6 hours straight and some cannot do it for more than 40 minutes. Personally I cannot stay concentrated on the same thing for too long and I find it really difficult to focus for a long amount of time. What works for me, is to set a timer and study for 45 minutes and then take a break for 15 minutes. After I do this routine for 3 or maximum 4 times I have to take at least a one-hour break to really let my mind relax before I can get back to work. My brain just cannot function after a certain amount of time. I lose my concentration and I have to read the same sentence 5 times to understand it. That is when I understand that I need a serious break. In my break I might cook, watch an episode of my favourite series, call my boyfriend or just take a nap. After 1-2 hours I can get back to work and I do the same thing all over again. I strongly suggest that you try out different methods, find which one works for you and stick to it. When you spend 5 hours pushing yourself to do work and end up wasting your afternoon maybe all you really needed was a 20 minute break every 2 hours. I can promise you, you will be 100% more productive when you stick to a schedule that works for you.
6. Find Different Areas To Study
Again I think that this will be very helpful for people that struggle to stay concentrated for too long (like myself). Maybe one day, study on the kitchen table or in your living room. The next day go the library and then go to the coffee shop across the road. Always try different places and if noise does not bother you, cute cafes are always a great way to make your study time a little more fun. Another thing people like to do is to study with friends and have little study dates. This never worked for me however I always thought it was so cute. Try it to find out if it works for you.
I really hope that some of these tips were helpful for some of you and one final thing you should all remember is that you will get through this. 😉 Some days you get so stressed and you just feel like giving up but I want you to read back to this post and remind yourself that just like all the other people, you too will achieve this. (I will have to do this myself in a couple of months when I will be working on my dissertation and probably wanting to give up haha)
As always thank you so much reading and please subscribe to my blog so you can get an email every time I post and keep up with the blog. 🙂