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From Christmas tests to summer exams, the Leaving Cert to college, studying is part and parcel in the life of a student. But it’s not all bad news. At Yooni, we believe that with effective studying skills, you can achieve your dream college course, and learn a thing or two for whichever exams you are preparing for. Below are 5 tips to keep in mind:
Getting organised is vital for studying, and the time to get organised is now. First, create a study space. There’s nothing worse than setting time aside to revise but the room is too noisy or too uncomfortable. Some prefer to study at home. Make sure that the room you study in is:
• well-lit and ventilated,
• has all the things you need there (pens, paper, notepads, subject books).
• won’t have people coming in and going
• doesn’t have a TV, radio or home phone to distract.
Remember, the goal here is to make the best use of your time and efforts, so pick a spot that works for you, and keep it consistent. Some students rather study in school and join an after-school club. It’s a great way to get into a routine about finishing homework and study while your brain is still active. If you’re studying at the weekend and have no quiet space, check out the local library for opening hours.
Like homework, the best time for study is when your brain is still switched on. For that reason, that many study groups happen straight after school. It might feel like the school day is long enough, even without the study. A good idea to get into a better mood, is to start with a subject that you enjoy working on – you’ll have better success from the start and more confidence when you move on to trickier topics.
Some students might like to study first, and then do homework afterwards. Again, it’s a case of what suits you best, but do not leave either too late in the evening when your brain is tired. Take regular breaks. Get up and move around, stretch and keep hydrated – you’ll be able to study longer, and more effectively.
People learn and study in many different ways. So, it’s very important to stick to your strengths in how you study. Below are a few examples; sometimes you might use a mix of these skills.
• Visual learners, for example, like to learn with pictures, graphs and colours. Mind Maps work really well here - put a key word down in the middle of a page and try and come up with words you can connect to it, and with each other. You can use mind maps to show how much you already know about something or use it to make notes. Another technique to use is flashcards – draw out diagrams or make lists of colourful buzz words or highlight key words about a topic, can help make it stick in your mind. Cycle through them regularly and use them as prompts to work on topics.
• Auditory learners like to hear or say out loud the information they’re studying. Try recording yourself reading notes or quotes that you need to memorize. Don’t worry, everyone hates the sound of their own voice at first.
Another great tool you can use is mnemonics, making up sentences as clues to help remember things. Sometimes the sillier or creative the sentence, the easier it is to remember. A good example of mnemonics in action is how everyone uses the sentence ‘Richard of York Gave Battle in Vein’ to remember the first letter of the colours of the rainbow.
• Kinaesthetic - people who like hands-on learning, and who learn best by doing something and keeping active. For example, this could be you writing out notes or bullet points on repeat to help remember them – try to maybe summarize them with each try, or maybe acting something out like a quote to trigger a key word.
For many students, listening to music goes hand-in-hand with study; it makes studying easier, enjoyable or go by quicker. But some research suggests that listening to music ‘significantly impairs creativity’, i.e. wastes your time.
So, is plugging in those headphones really worth it? Studying without music might be difficult at first, but remember it’s about making the most of the time you’re spending studying. And as you study more without music, you’ll miss it less and less. If you do need to listen to some music, try instrumental or orchestral music where lyrics won’t distract you from your main mission. Make a study playlist so you won’t have to shuffle your phone every 3 minutes.
While you’re busy trying to survive the school day, it’s important to make the time (somewhere) to relax and keep yourself well. Work-life balance is just as important for students as anyone else. Remember to get enough sleep every day and avoid caffeinated energy drinks.
Keep in touch with your teachers on how studying is going - if you’re struggling with a topic, no matter how hard you study, they’ll be able to help you. Keep up regular exercise during the week. Reward yourself with fun things to do when you’ve reached study goals! This can be anything from watching a series on TV to meeting up with friends (who also might need a break from studying).
It will help motivate you to study and also improve your mood.
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