There are always ways to improve one’s study skills whether you are a school or a college student or even a graduate pursuing higher studies or preparing for competitive exams. Although individual techniques may differ with the level of education, there are some common themes and strategies which may be applied to improve significantly your ability to learn, study and score better.
Perhaps the most important thing to do is to strategize your learning techniques according to your ability and then requirement. The techniques must be practical and realistic and applicable to the level of education you are pursuing.
Here are a few basic pointers and strategies for effective studying:
1. Set goals and Think about what you want
Think about what you want to achieve and the best possible ways to achieve them. Remember, your goals too must be realistic, along with the path you choose to reach those goals. A good idea is to set smaller targets at first and work your way upto the higher ones.
One of the best ways to succeed is to find sources of motivation. There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. While intrinsic motivation involves internal motivators, such as the desire to do well for your own pleasure, extrinsic motivation includes outside reinforcements, such as rewards. Use both types to keep yourself interested in your studies and engaged in productive learning techniques.
3. Appropriate Environment
Make sure you get to study in a good and encouraging environment. Keep away from things and people that discourage you or disturb you. Maintain a quiet study ambience for focus and concentration. If such an environment is not available at home, go to a library or any other quiet place to study.
4. Choose subjects wisely
Choose your subjects keeping in mind your interests and abilities rather than only which you think will help you get ahead of others. If you do what you like, things will automatically be easier and more rewarding.
5. Use Effective Learning and Memory Strategies
Understand and learn rather than rote learning. Use techniques like mnemonics and visual mapping to remember stuff. Make easy-to-read diagrams and flash cards to remember key processes, key terms and formulae. Inventing acronyms to remember chronologies, or long words, or series of information is a good idea.
6. Make Your Own Notes
Make proper and concise notes for yourself. Do not use other’s notes if possible. Use your own techniques to make notes to learn things faster and more easily. Everyone has a different style which may not someone else. Use abbreviations and highlight the important points. Go wild with your bright highlighter pen if you have to! Use diagrams and visuals to remember facts or figures.
7. Use Visual Imagery
Place note cards around the house with words or facts on the fridge, your closet, on the cookie jar to learn and remember things more easily. This technique helps particularly when learning a new language, or trying to memorize dates or hard-to-remember facts or even words. Another good way is to have a ‘Word of the Day’ put up everyday to learn new words.
8. Keep a Balance and Schedule Your Study Time
Do not spend all your time studying. Go out and play or take a walk to relax and clear your head once in a while. Everyone has their own attention span. Find out yours and work that to your advantage. Take a 5-minute break after every topic if your concentration level is less, or else take longer breaks after longer hours of continuous studying.
These methods should help children and adults alike to study better and learn more with less effort. Although learning is more important than scoring high, these techniques should help with both.