As I sit here “multi-tasking,” thinking that I’m taking in real information from my study materials while keeping my eyes on NCIS and slowly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I realized I really need a reality check. I guess thus far the reality check isn’t working because logically I realize writing this is just my latest procrastination tactic. However, a little more productive than Facebook or TV, eh?! Anyway, the reality check… I really need to study up on my study skills. I’m standing at the bottom of a very tall mountain of a week: three exams, one quiz and one paper due. For some strange reason, the panic has not set in that the first of these exams happens in just over 12 hours.
So… for all of you out there who also have a bit of difficulty getting started on that paper or starting the long road to preparing for an exam, I’ve decided to compile a few study tips. Now, I’m doing this for myself too, so bear with me if they aren’t the greatest.
1. Turn the TV off. I know, the Law and Order marathon that’s on right now is killer, but chances are you’ll waste at least 25 minutes of every hour staring at the TV. No, turning the volume all the way down does not work… I’ve already tried it!
2. Don’t have music on too loud either. Personally I enjoy classical piano music when I’m studying… that way there’s no lyrics that will distract me.
3. If you don’t need the internet, turn your wifi off/unplug your ethernet cord. Facebook is a daunting thing to avoid.
4. If you do need the internet, try this to “keep you out” of Facebook, Twitter, any website that will distract you: http://keepmeout.com/en/. All you need to do is put in the website you’d like to be kept out of, make a bookmark for the page, and it keeps you out of the website for a designated period of time.
5. Take breaks. Going straight for six hours will make your brain turn to mush. Try smaller chunks with short breaks between each, maybe an hour of studying with 15 to 20 minute breaks between. Take a walk, make some food, watch a funny YouTube video (here’s your time to Facebook creep as well!).
6. Try studying with one or two other people. Maybe you missed some of the notes… chances are someone else will have caught it. Not to mention, actually saying things out loud sometimes engrains them in memory a bit better than just reading them over and over again.
7. Finally, and arguably most important, is that you GET SLEEP! It’s recommended that you get at least six hours the night before an exam. If you study all night and only get an hour of sleep, your brain doesn’t have time to process it. (It’s true… my cognitive psych professor told me!)