Test your study skills by hitting the books at early and late hours, then assess the time of day where you retained the most information.
There are many great things about spring. Better weather, more events on campus and a seemingly fresh start to your year. Known as the best time to tidy up your home, spring is also a great time to spring clean your study habits. (Yeah, we're talking to you!) During the long dark days of winter you studied a lot, but now that the weather is warm you may want to maximize your study time and focus on the most important aspects of the spring term.
Here's how we recommend that you spruce up your study sessions.
1. Get out and About
Isa Adney, author, columnist and higher education consultant, said it's important for students to get out of their normal study environment in order to shake things up.
"Home is where you sleep, go on social media, eat, catch up on what's happening on 'The Bachelor,' and usually relax and have fun," she said. "Make spring the semester where you do your homework in the library before you go home for the night."
2. Organize a Study Group
Suzanne Bay, New Learning Analyst at Penn Foster said study groups are the "biggest and most effective ways students can change their study habits." "In the most traditional sense, studying means going to the library to quietly and passively read," Bay said. "However, studying can also mean meeting up at a coffee shop with a group of peers to actively engage in discussion of the content material. Studying is not a competition to break the curve, but it is an opportunity to better yourself by learning and understanding the content material."
Bay emphasized that studying can –– and should be –– a collective effort where each person brings a different and valid perspective to the discussion. She added: "As psychologist Vygotsky said, 'The one who does the talking, does the learning.'"
3. Save the Best for Last
Michael Duffy, assistant director of the Academic Support Center at Fairleigh Dickinson University's College at Florham in Madison, NJ, said it is important to study difficult or "boring" subjects first. "Save what you 'like' for later," Duffy said, calling it the "dessert studying approach."
4. Study up on Class Materials
Adney also recommends studying before class –– not just before a test is looming. "Focus on getting to every class five to 10 minutes early, and during that time review the reading material and notes from what you did in the last session for that class," she said. "It will refresh you for the current discussion and keep you on track to pass your exams."
5. Know When You are at Your Best
Duffy said it is also important to study at times when you know you are most alert. Test your study skills by hitting the books at early and late hours, then assess the time of day where you retained the most information. Make sure you also take advantage of "in between time," squeezing in a study session while waiting to go to your next class or during a break from work.
- Get outside of your usual environment to free yourself from distractions.
- Study class notes on a regular basis and consider organizing a study group to help brush up on information.
- Go over information that you find less interesting right away, then dig into the material that you enjoy more.