15 Ways to Spice Up Your Study Routine

At some point, we all have to study: But how do we do that, you ask? It’s actually as easy as 1-2-3!

The secret is to first make your brain work better (tips #1-5), and then make studying more fun for yourself (tips #5-15). Read these tips and you will find yourself studying for less time but getting more out of it!

1. During the day, study outside or with natural light from the window.

Why? Being exposed to daylight as opposed to artificial lighting leaves you feeling more alert in the evening. No coffee necessary! Under poor or artificial lighting, your cortisol levels drop, making you feel more stressed.


2. Learn from the PE Pyros and turn up the heat!

Why? Studying in a place 10°F under room temperature leads to more mistakes (roughly 44% more, in case you were curious). Physical warmth makes us act warmer to others. No, really- studies have been done on this! On a side note, you can also take a hot bath to feel warm inside if you feel lonely.


3. Find several favorite study spots, and keep looking for more.

Why? Studying in different places improves recall. If you only ever study in your dorm, it’ll be hard to recall what you studied when you are taking a test in, say, Stepan Center. Changing up the scenery increases your mental flexibility. It’s not such a bad thing to be a happy wanderer! Check out what we have to say about study spots here and here


4. Take breaks!

Everyone says this, but seriously your brain works better when it has time to rest. Just like a runner performs better when he takes a day or two off to cross-train or rest each week, walking away for a bit can help refocus on whatever you were spacing out about before.


5. Eat brain food!

Why? Healthy foods aren’t magic pills, but they can help your memory and brain function.

What to eat: Celery (has luteolin, which decreases age-related memory loss), broccoli and cauliflower (has choline, which spurs growth of new brain cells), walnuts (have omega-3 fatty acids which boost neurotransmitter function), hummus or chickpeas (have magnesium, which speeds up message transmission in the brain), and blueberries (linked to faster learning, sharper thinking, and improved memory…because they’re blueberries, of course).


6. Read on the stationary bike or while walking on the treadmill.

Then you have no excuse to say you can’t work out, and you’ll generate some endorphins, which are always a plus!


7. Watch YouTube videos.

Crash courses, memorization songs, and problem walk-throughs. John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska, among others) has a YouTube channel with a myriad of “crash courses” for different subjects.

There’s great science help in Bozeman Science, and you can experiment with other channels by typing in what you’re looking for.


8. For long readings, make jokes about things in your head.

They can be really lame puns, but trust me; you'll remember things better later.


9. Sometimes, instead of writing out your notes, call your mom.

Tell her how school was- for real. You will see if you know the material and probably remember it better afterwards.


10. Tutor a friend and you'll remember it in the end.

Catchy but true! When you teach you have to learn how to phrase something so it makes sense, so in that way you will be reinforcing the idea in your own head.


11. Make flash cards and hang them in a hanging jewelry/accessory organizer.

Then pull them out one by one as if you’re “trying on” the concepts.


12. Write key concepts on post it notes and stick them all over your message board so you look at them every day.


13. Try to summarize things into colloquial, tweet-like language.

If you can simplify something to that level, you probably have a good grasp on it.


14. Download Study Blue®, make online flash cards, and study on your phone while waiting in line for something.


15. Join or make a study group.

As long as you can be productive, it always helps to have two (or three, or seven!) minds working on something instead of one.

Happy studying, everyone! 


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Sources: 1, 2, 3