Hiyaaaa! A new year is going to start, and we are all excited and worried about it.
I am writing about studying in this part of the year because you won’t have time to read it when the time to study arrives.
First thing: the room. The best thing is to study in a place with no distractions. Some people prefer silence while studying, but personally, I like to listen to instrumental music. And maybe a good place to study is a library instead of your bedroom.
Switch off your phone and notifications. There is a free app called Forest that will help you with it. It’s quite simple: you set your study time, for example, 30 minutes. You cannot look at your phone during that time, except watching what time it is, and a tree will grow on your screen. If you use your phone, your tree will wither. Every tree you’ll grow, you’ll gain points that you can spend to buy other kinds of trees, but if you save them, you can spend them to plant a real tree and fight against deforestation!
Another useful tip is when you have finished listening to the lesson, try to recap what you have learned and write it on a piece of paper. The main idea is not to write it down but put your efforts to try what you have been learning.
After you can try to explain it to someone who doesn’t know the subject, you will exercise your ability to explain. If anyone, not even the dog, is available, pretend to speak to a child or your grandma.
Remember that our brain needs exercise like the muscles. If we repeat the same exercise, our biceps will grow bigger, but if we don’t exercise for a while, the muscle will go back as it was. So our memory works too – if we don’t repeat a certain subject for a while, we will forget it.
Rest is essential – we should sleep at least 7-8 hours per night. Sometimes it is better to interrupt the studying instead of insisting until 5am. Why? I like to imagine our brain like a warehouse – the trucks (the information) will come to our brain during the day, but the place is a big mess. During the night, our warehouse workers will organise the information and put the boxes on their shelves to find them faster and easier. In order to sleep well, avoid caffeine and coke during the second half of the day, avoid screens one hour before going to sleep and don’t have a huge dinner.
A good moment to take a break from studying is when you notice that it’s the tenth time you’re reading the same sentence without understanding it. If it is just an hour you’re studying, do something simple: have tea, play with your dog for a few minutes, call a friend. Again, don’t watch screens. If it’s three hours you’re studying, go for a refreshing activity: bring your dog for a walk, go running, prepare a meal. These are just examples of things you can do.
After, you’ll find that maybe the paragraph you were reading before was not so difficult.
A couple of years ago, I followed an online course with Coursera. It was beneficial, and it really teaches how to learn. I don’t intend to advertise, and the course is free if you don’t want the certificate. The name of the Course is Learning how to Learn, and I suggest you complete it before starting to study as you won’t have much time during the term. It gives you a lot of information about how our brain works and how to increase its performance.
I hope the information I have given you will be useful and I wish everyone a good study year! If you have other tips, you can put them in the comments.
PS: Switch off the phones!