Effective study skills and habits are the key to achieving and maintaining a high GPA. Even more importantly, with effective study habits you will store what you learn in long-term memory, allowing you to use the learned information in a novel setting. Learning to apply the following rules for studying will aid you in earning excellent marks in school.
How to study
Study Tip #1. Keep the area around your desk neat and tidy. If possible, the study area should also be quiet. If you are having trouble finding a quiet place to study, try the local library or park. The library is a perfect place to have peace and quiet. The park may not be as quiet, but the fresh air can make studying less nerve-racking. If these options are unavailable, then try listening to some music while studying.
Study Tip #2. Have a scheduled study time for each school day. Remember that one classroom hour should be reinforced by two hours of studying at home.
Study Tip #3. Sit down for 45 minute intervals, followed by 15 minute breaks. Having an easily attainable goal, like studying for set duration of time, is effective for increasing motivation.
Study Tip #4. Reward yourself if and only if you have met your goal for that study session. For example, if you plan to study one chapter and succeed, then you may reward yourself by doing something pleasurable. Examples of positive reinforcement are: food, exercise, videogames, etc.
Study Tip #5. Make correspondences between your class notes and your textbook. This will help you to fill in any background information not covered in class.
Study Tip #6. Prepare questions about the chapter that will be discussed in the following class. This will help you identify areas that you do not understand.
Study Tip #7. Put any new words or concepts to use. The more you use the learned information, the more likely you will be to remember it. This is especially true for language classes.
Study Tip #8. Finally, review what you have studied just before you go to bed. You will find that you will remember the words very strongly the next morning.
How not to study
1. Procrastinate. Cramming is not beneficial for producing long term memory.
2. Highlight. Highlighting is a form of procrastination, because you are saving note taking for later. This means you must use the book twice instead of once. Instead, make careful notes to compliment your classroom notes, along with page numbers so that you can refer back to the book if necessary.
3. Study on the computer. You are bound to be tempted to check your email or surf the net.
4. Leave your cell phone on during study time. No matter who is calling or texting you, usually it can wait 45 minutes. Having your cell phone on during study time can be a major distraction and is not conducive to learning.
5. Study just after you have eaten. Studies have shown that thinking is slower after having a meal.
6. Space out. When you feel your mind begin to wander, remind yourself to concentrate. If you are reading, using your finger is a good way to keep your mind on track. The movement of your finger on the page forces you to pay attention to what you are doing.
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