Natural intelligence is useless if not paired with hard work and dedication. To fulfill your academic potential and achieve everything you're capable of, you must put in the study hours. Like most skills, learning to study can be worked on and improved with a little effort. Here are four ways to improve your grades through more efficient studying.
1. Where to study
Where you study is just as important as what you study. Before you pick up any book, find a spot which is most conducive to productivity. Find somewhere quiet so you don't get distracted and comfortable so you can sit for longer periods of time without getting restless.
A desk with an upright chair is ideal for exam preparation, as it mimics the conditions you'll be in when you take the test. Your brain will subconsciously link the conditions you study in with the material you're learning so on exam day the important information will be easier to recall.
2. Look ahead
The most effective way of studying is to start early. Look ahead to when your exams are due and prepare well in advance. Give yourself enough time to study and you can break your material down into smaller, more manageable bits which are easier to commit to memory. There's no quick fix to learning large amounts of material, so plan ahead.
Shorter study periods are less daunting and easier to get motivated for, so you'll be more likely to keep to your study plan. Consistency is key and studying every day is a tried and tested method of ensuring you stick to it.
3. Plan your week
Now that you know how long you've got to study, you can break the material down to ensure you cover everything adequately. Draw up a weekly timetable so you can see what you will be studying each day. Factor in downtime and make it as reasonable as possible while still pushing yourself to reach your goal.
If you fail to stick completely to the plan one week, don't panic. Ensure your lapse is a one off by assessing why you didn't stick to the schedule, making changes if necessary, and then getting back on schedule. Stay flexible enough to roll with the punches but focused enough to stick to the plan wherever possible by reminding yourself of why you're studying and what you're working toward. Sacrifice and discipline now will pay off in the near future.
4. Eliminate distractions
Set about minimizing or completely eliminating anything which might distract you from your task.
You must be able to sit down in front of your study materials and give your undivided attention to the task at hand, so make it easier on yourself by completely removing anything that might cause you to break focus. i.e. Snapchat, Instagram, etc.
Commit to turning off your phone during study time. If you need an internet connection for research, you can find apps or plug-ins which block any content you choose for a set amount of time so you can avoid time-wasting websites.
Learning how to study more efficiently is a life skill that you will benefit from for years after leaving formal education. It's important to shape your study plan around your own personality and needs to give yourself the best chance of success. The ability to make better use of your time and sticking to a schedule will lend itself to many other situations in life and prove invaluable for years to come.
Ian Humphrey is a Motivational Speaker in Colorado with a gift for connecting with students and teaching others to do the same.
Book him to speak at your next event and you will be pleased with the results.