Being able to get the best results while giving the least amount of time is valuable knowledge to have in nearly every situation. After all, it’s work smarter, not harder, right? However, this mindset is particularly applicable in relation to studying. While the reality is that studying will likely never be especially easy or fun, being able to maximize the efficiency of your time will work in your favor and allow you to be as successful as possible on your test without spending every waking hour (and probably several sleeping ones) in the library.
1. Keep your phone (and computer, if it isn’t required) out of reach—and preferably out of sight! How many of us have had multiple-hour study sessions which actually consisted of 10-15 increments of relevant review, followed by an episode of Netflix or a half-hour “glance” at every profile of social media known to mankind? While it’s comforting to know you’re not alone in this situation, the resulting cringe-inducing exam grade and accompanying stress are not nearly as reassuring. Limiting distractions also allows you to greatly condense the time of your review—you could possibly learn what is necessary in 45 minutes, whereas before it might have taken you four hours to learn with frequent “study breaks!”
2. That being said, don’t drive yourself insane! Working on an interval-based study system (taking 10 minutes or so off for every 45-60 minutes spent studying) may encourage you to be more productive, and if you begin feeling frustrated or increasingly overwhelmed, take a 10 minute breather to grab a snack or chill out and listen to some music to recollect your thoughts.
3. Do NOT cram five chapters into five hours before the test. These tips are meant to help you maximize the time you have previously set aside to study amidst the craziness of class, extracurriculars, and spending time with friends. This is not intended to promote the infamous all-nighter! Breaking up content into manageable sections and studying each for a smaller period of time will boost your long-term retention and keep stress levels as low as possible.
4. Resist the urge to study/do homework in your bed. While you should aim to make yourself comfortable, having your bed or futon doubling as both a sleep and study space increases your likelihood of distraction and can also mess with your sleep schedule.
Being aware of how to make the most of the hours you spend studying can save you energy, stress and time. Hopefully trying out at least one of these tips will help you feel more productive and prepared and allow you to go into your test with confidence!