As I write this I have a paper I should be researching and writing so I’m going to make it brief! For a very long time I never studied. I was the classic case of ‘who cares I can just bullshit it’ and it’s true, I could have, but I got to a point in my studies where it wouldn’t reflect my best work and where I just didn’t want to anymore. I’m waaaaay to interested in what I’m writing about to not take the time to research it, I feel like I’ve let myself down when I do that. SO tip #1 is to do study something you care about, because it makes it so much easier to motivate yourself when you’ve got some passion driving you.
Of course, some people aren’t as lucky as I am, and even then, passion isn’t always enough to motivate. When the days get colder and shorter I find it so hard to get off my butt and do anything. Unfortunately, school requires that I do finish some stuff before packing it in for the holidays, so here’s what I do:
- Control your environment. By this point hopefully you know what your ideal study situation is – personally I cannot write anything unless there’s silence. I also cannot write consistently if I’m at home, because I’ll constantly take breaks. I can’t write when my phone is out, because I’ll take breaks. I’ve gotten to the point that when I need to write, I go to a quiet floor on the library to crank it out, and it works every time. Coffee shops seem like a great idea but they’re loud and bustley and remind me too much of all the free time I’ll have once I’m done, and I end up thinking about that instead of working. Find your ideal working space and go there – if you don’t know what it is: try a quiet place away from home.
- Only go to work when you’re ready to work. Sometimes it feels like you’re never going to be ready to work, and I feel that. What I mean is – don’t go sit down ready to study or write if you don’t have a game plan.
- Set study goals. Guide your writing or studying with a game plan – either an outline, or a list of things you want to know before you leave. If not, you might get there, and not have any direction and then just not do anything. Organise your thoughts and figure out where your priorities are, and what is best to be done where (i.e. I love to research from home, but I prefer to write at the library).
- When it comes to sitting down and studying, bring a friend. Take someone who knows they’re there to either study with you or help you study. Make flip cards and play memory and/or trivia games, have them quiz you on everything. Put the things that you just aren’t getting to the side and rewrite them out a few times, then try again.
- If you have to remember something, talk about it. Most of my exams have long papers on them that you need to remember a lot for. The best way to study for these sorts of topics that are interconnected is to talk about them. Teach someone if you have a study partner, if not just literally talk to yourself out loud. You’ll find new arguments and thoughts and connections that you’ve never considered before, you’ll remember it all better, and you’ll bring something fresh to the table.
OK I’m really new to this ‘stay on top of your work and study’ thing so I seriously only have 5 tips I’m so sorry.
Moment Behind the Blog: Day 3
Let’s talk about school today. I loved loved looooooved Hermione Granger growing up and it made me the most obnoxious school and fashion obsessed kid. I know Hermione wasn’t obsessed with fashion but Emma Watson was cool as heck and it just seeped in. Anyways, in high school I was in IB (International Baccalaureate) and basically everyone in the program thinks they’re top dog, and it’s really pretentious but you do start having more open and meaningful conversations earlier so that’s a plus I guess. Personally, I made some horrible study habits in high school because it was ~cool~ to do well, especially if you didn’t study. I don’t actually know if anyone else did study and just pretended they didn’t but I really truly did not. I didn’t to horrible, in fact I did pretty average, but I always remember in 9th grade I studied sooooo hard for my Geography exam and I did so well, and then in 10th grade I studied for a history test and aced it. And then somehow all of that disappeared because there were times I tried – particularly on papers – and it fell super short, and that feeling just sucks. I figured it was better to not study and do OK (and have the excuse if I did poorly) than to study hard and still suck. As I’ve gone through more schooling I’ve realized there are just going to be some times that you suck. It’s just how it is, but what a bad mark cannot take away is the knowledge you earned from studying and researching. Your marks might not always reflect how much knowledge you gained, or how much deeper your understanding is, but it’s always there, and that still makes a big difference. At the end of the day, it’s not all about marks (she says as she stresses about marks for grad school applications).
Your question of the day: What’s your biggest study tip? Leave your study tips in the comments and discuss about what your best habits are! Thanks for reading and good luck on your exams!