5 Tips on Having a Productive Study Session

Ah, the dreaded midterm season has fallen upon us, and nothing sounds better right now than either an extended nap or binge-watching a Netflix series. While both of those sound heavenly, you realize that you have three essays, two quizzes, and one week in the semester that could be synonymous to a nightmare. Have no fear—here are five tips to help you get through this year’s midterms!  

  1. 1. Figure out the best studying environment for you.

    No one knows you better than yourself, and that is important, especially when figuring out where to study. Some people prefer the library for quiet and focus, while some would rather do work at a coffee shop where the background noise, ambient music, and fellow caffeine consumers can serve aid in productivity. Wherever you decide to study, make sure you can be at a place where you have limited or no distractions. That also includes the music you listen to—you might become distracted if you listen to Lizzo while studying (although great motivation). If you want to listen to music, here’s a Spotify playlist to accompany your productivity session.

  2. 2. Write out a game plan.

    The hardest thing to do during a study session is actually getting started. Just so you have an overview of what to get done, make a list (whether that would be on a Post-It note or a planner) that covers everything you need to accomplish in your session. On another note, make sure that the tasks you list are specific (see the difference between “write essay” versus “plan out structure of essay”). I cannot stress this enough, but you will get so much satisfaction after crossing out a completed task, and this will motivate you to cross out everything on the list (goodbye procrastination, hello productivity!).

  3. 3. Break up your assignments into chunks.

    Trying to finish three essays in one week can be daunting—if you try to knock them all out in one go. To avoid resorting to three cups of straight espresso by the middle of the second essay, break up each of your assignments over a period of days so you do a reasonable amount of work each day. For example, if you have an essay due in three days, break up the planning, drafting, and revising of the essay into separate days. That way, you aren’t overloading yourself with work in one sitting.

  4. 4. Don't forget to take breaks!

    You don’t realize it until you are in the middle of your study session, and suddenly you feel tired, hungry, burnt-out, or all of the above. It is crucial that you take breaks during your study session, no matter how much work you have. I suggest following the Pomodoro method, which is a cycle of 25 minutes of working followed by a 5 minute break—I’ve done this method numerous times, and it really does work! Regardless of how you manage your time studying, make sure you take a break every once in a while to stretch, eat, walk around, listen to music you love, anything to take your mind off of work for a while.

  5. 5. Reward yourself for being productive!

    You press the “Submit” button, you cross out the last task on your list, and you let out a sigh of relief. You are done with your study session, and it is time to celebrate! Whether it’s playing with your dog, dinner with friends, or even doing a face mask, you deserve a break after your long and studious productivity session! Now, go be the best girlboss there is and be productive. Happy Midterms!