Study Tips

Study Tip I: Location

The most overlooked principle of quality study tips is to establish a location or locations that are conducive to study. While this can mean something different for each individual, the location should be reasonably free of noise and other distractions have adequate lighting and, should be comfortable, but not too comfortable. If at all possible shut down your telephone. Some people find it helpful to place some classical music lightly in the background. I like to play some Mozart or baroque music, preferably at four beats per measure--keeps things slow and relaxed.

Study Tip II: Be Prepared To Study

Have all the books, notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, calculator, computer or whatever it is you will need to accomplish your study goals. It will only hurt you if you are constantly getting up to get these materials--have them all ready and within reach before you start studying.

Study Tip III: How Long A Period Should You Study Before Taking A Break? 

When students feel the crunch of a big exam coming, they begin to panic. This is natural and to be expected, particularly if they have not properly prepared and are forced to "cram." Cramming is not necessarily bad, but because of the panic and nervousness surrounding this type of study some students feel that the best approach is to engage in marathon study. As a general study strategy this will not bring about the best results. You can also learn more about optimizing your learning in Make-the-Grade.

Some students find it best to read material very slowly when studying, but this may not always be best, depending, of course, on the particular material and what you’re trying to accomplish. Some great books have been written on speed leaning and speed reading that suggest that you can increase comprehension while you speed read. I [particularly liked PhotoReading because it gets right to the point and contains great content and has little fluff (I like that, don't you?), but there are several other good books related to this area too.

Study IV: Take Frequent Breaks

Try studying for 20 to 30 minute intervals separated by a 5 to 10 minute break period. Studies have proven this to be more effective than pushing your brain to the extreme. Stay completely focused during the study period--and completely relaxed (and unfocused) during the break period, you'll learn more, really.

Study Tip V: General Study Advice

I know this is beginning to should like a lecture on the obvious, but most of fail to do the obvious, so just stay with me a few minutes more. You want to be in the best health you can be at the time of your examination. What this means is that you should eat right, get a good night's sleep and get some in some light exercise. Let's say, for example, that your big exam is two weeks away, well obviously you can't be an Olympic champ in that time, and you don't need to be either. But, you can make some subtle lifestyle changes for this short period, can't you. Tony Books Avilez has put together an interesting program called 14 Day Miracle (available at ) that proves what can be done in relatively short periods of time. If you can incorporate a system like this (without compromising your study time, its worth trying. Some people need a program to follow, and that's OK, but you can do it on your own too. You know what to do, eat wholesome fresh foods take a daily walk or jog, ride a bicycle and get some fresh air and sunlight. You’ll be surprised at the results and, yes, your exam performance to,

Don't try for a miracle, just commit to being in a little better shape and health on the day of the exam than you are the day you start studying. Anybody can do that and good results will follow.

Study Tip VI: Should You Work With A Study Group?

Study groups are great way of capitalizing on the “divided and conquer: strategy. If you have to prepare for an examination the covers a lot of detail, you can narrow down the topics and testable areas and divide the information gathering chores among the group members. Study groups are essential for law and medical students, but the can be equally effective for other disciplines too. But be careful who you let in. Study groups are for worker ants and not for the queens—everyone needs to do their part and do it well or the group will fail.

Also, don’t become overly dependent on the study group. You will still need to cover the areas independently. In my experience, the study group should be suspended a few weeks before the big exam. This is the time when you have to go solo…you can’t bring the group with you on test day you know! 

If you have a moment check out A great article about study groups for distance learning students by Dale A. Wagstaff, “Creating A Successful Online Study Group”


how to study

Study Tips