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Ten Study Hacks to Make your Student Life More Successful!

Effective study habits are essential when it comes to obtaining excellent results throughout your life as a student. However, this does not mean that you will have to spend the rest of your days in the library, tied to a chair, reading textbooks, and memorizing all of the various concepts and formulas found within them. We promise you, it does not have to be so gloomy. This is because “studying hard” has now been replaced by “studying effectively,” which means that you can obtain great results in less time, insofar as you are dedicated, consistent, and manage your priorities efficiently. To help you along your way, we have compiled ten ‘study hacks’ that will make your student life more successful, and less stressful!

Schedule
Time management is important in all aspects of your life, but it is especially crucial when it comes to education. Yes, you will be able to spend some leisure-time away from studying, in fact, it is highly recommended; but you should also be able to identify when it is appropriate to take some time off, and when it is not.

Make a time table, which translates into a study routine, and into a new set of habits. First of all ask yourself some simple questions like, “when do you usually study?” “Do you find it effective?” “Which subjects do you need to focus on the most?” “What are your main priorities?” “What is your class schedule?”

Once you have answered the above questions, set study sessions for about 1-2 hours after your lessons, to review and reflect on the lectures. Also, make sure to schedule breaks of at least 15 minutes in between, to listen to some music, go for a walk, or grab a snack!

Start early; do not wait until the last minute

We all procrastinate, and we all know we shouldn’t because it only makes things harder in the end. To some degree, this is ok, since we are all humans. Still, if you want to study effectively without suffering major stress in the process, just begin those study sessions immediately, do not wait for your exam periods to come when most certainly, you will be drowning under a pile of paperwork and books. In other words, avoid the chaos and schedule those study sessions after your lectures, step by step, week by week. In the end, you will be grateful for planning ahead.

Environment
You will also need a designated study zone that is comfortable, clean, and organized. Make sure you have enough bright lights, and also, the right space (having windows will also earn you some extra points). Try to create a routine within that place, in such a way that every time you are there, you know that you will study and meet your goals. It can be any place, but ideally you will have a desk or a table, and a comfortable chair. Make sure that the place also fits your personality; if you like quiet places, make sure your study zone is quiet; it can be a library, or a study-room. On the contrary, if you like some background noise, and prefer to be around strangers, make sure you have some music, or people chatting in the background; you could go to a nice café and order a cappuccino while you read and concentrate.

Move
You cannot spend your entire day in your study zone, that is why, beside those short breaks between study sessions, you must set aside some time to stay active. Go for a walk, go to the gym, play a sport, dance. Move, move, move! Release some endorphins, and clear your mind. Try to move before studying, since it helps your body and mind to become more receptive when learning.

(Extra tip: try to have only small and nutritious meals before studying, if you have a heavy meal it can make you sleepy, which will make it harder to learn.)

Prioritize
Starting with the most difficult subjects will only make it easier for you in the end, so make sure that those subjects that you think you hate the most are at the top of your list! Once you have studied them, it will be less stressful to move on to the next “easy subject” on your list.

(An additional tip for those difficult topics is to make them part of your daily routine, and connect them with something you enjoy. For example, if you really hate those algebra equations, try to relate to them by thinking of them when you are taking care of daily tasks, such as, doing groceries, or paying for a parking spot!)

Set short term goals and stick to them

If you want to change the world, you have to take it one day at a time. To be effective while studying is the same; pick a calendar and write down a goal for each week of the month, stick to it, and make sure to be disciplined. Those small victories each week will all add up, and trust us, it will be truly rewarding when the exam period finally arrives.

Put that phone away

If you want to be effective, you should stay away from social media, selfies, and WhatsApp during those scheduled study sessions. You will have plenty of time to use your phone during your leisure time.

(Did you know that according to a study by Kent University (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2158244015573169) published in 2015, undergraduate students who spend too much time texting and using social media get lower grades than those who don’t? In another study, researchers from the University of Southern Maine (http://econtent.hogrefe.com/doi/abs/10.1027/1864-9335/a000216) found that the mere presence of a cellphone is distracting, and it has implications on the person’s performance.

In conclusion: put that phone away while studying to get better results!)

Ditch the highlighter

The story starts with a book, a highlighter, and the promise to highlight only the essentials. The story ends with the entire page painted in yellow, or pink, or blue. Highlighters may be useful sometimes, but research shows that we learn better if we can connect what we learn with some other pieces of information, and highlighters only isolate single pieces of information which makes it difficult to retain.

(In short, whole chunks of text highlighted might look like hard work, but they are not effective for the learning process.)

Grab a friend

Now that you have stopped using the highlighter, go out and find a friend who is having difficulties learning a subject, and then help to explain it to him or her. One of the most effective ways to recall and retain information is by teaching what you have learned. So, grab your book, study, and once you are ready, teach what you have learned to someone else

Sleep

If you are feeling tired and sleepy you will not be efficient. Your body and brain need to rest and de-stress. Go to bed early enough so that you can sleep between 6-8 hours a night. Ideally you will have put your phone and other electronic devises away. Breathe, close your eyes, and let your system regenerate.

There you have it! Now go and analyze your daily routine, make a schedule, find a nice study zone, set your goals, study, find some time to move and relax, and get ready for a successful academic year!

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