Whether you are in pursuit of your bachelor's degree or well on your way to achieving a master's, it's never too late to learn how to study smarter. While each student needs to find his or her own recipe for studying success, some basic tenets will help you avoid distractions and ineffective time management. Here are five things to consider integrating into your study habits so that you can keep your education on track and ace your next test or assignment.
When Internet research can't be avoided and a connection is required for online classes, detaching from the online world might seem impossible. Still, it's wise to turn off as many electronic devices as possible and log out of social media sites even when you are online. Losing just a few seconds here and there as you cycle through your Facebook-Twitter-Instagram routine will add up to hours of wasted time in the long run.
2. Get a Study Buddy
Having someone else to keep you accountable is another way to stay on track. If you have an appointment at the library with a friend, chances are greater that you will be there at the time you originally planned. When you go it alone, it's easier to put off studying to a later time or leave early.
3. Race the Clock
Some things shouldn't be rushed, like proofreading your research paper or careful mathematical calculations. However, when it comes to something like piecing together an outline or organizing your flashcards -- create a competition against yourself. Set a timer for a reasonable number of minutes and aim to complete your task before the buzzer goes off. Give yourself a small reward, like a coffee break, when you succeed. This also allows you to break up your learning tasks into smaller goals -- another way to study smarter.
4. Don't Study Where You Sleep
Sure, sometimes you will wind up reading a book in bed. However, it's too easy to get distracted when you study in your bedroom, and you can even wind up disrupting your sleep schedule this way. When your brain makes a connection between studying and your bed, unwinding at night becomes more difficult. Instead, designate a desk in your home or the library to be your study spot.
5. Time it Right
Be honest with yourself about when you are most alert and productive. Have you been trying to study at night when your brain is simply sharper and better conditioned for learning in the morning? If that's the case, get in a good study session every day before noon. In time, it will become natural to pick up your textbook just after finishing breakfast.