How to study effectively: These are our top tips to get the most out of your study sessions
Written by: Christina Pichler, 04.03.2021
Written by: Christina Pichler, 04.03.2021
You started studying for a very specific reason and you probably had a specific goal for your life after college in mind. But after a few semesters and many hours of memorizing flashcards, those goals usually tend to get forgotten. Try to remember why you decided to go to university in the first place. If you learn voluntarily and out of interest, you memorize the material much faster and, in the best case, have fun while doing it!
Learning is not a “one-size-fits-all” program. There are different types of learners and, with them, different ways of learning. So, before you start reading your study materials for about 20 times, you should find out how you study best. Do you remember new ideas faster when they are told to you? Do you have to watch a video on how blood circulation works or does it help you to pass on new facts in order to memorize them? The most common types of learners are:
“I will never understand that”, “It doesn’t make any sense”, “I’m just not smart enough” these are sentences that you should remove from your vocabulary from now on! Always remember, when learning, it’s totally okay to start from scratch. So far, no master has fallen from the sky. Forget everything that is holding you back, try not to think about what you can’t yet and focus on what you are currently doing and what you already have in your repertoire.
It is the exam phase and the day suddenly has too little hours? In order to avoid this horror scenario, it is advisable to start learning at an early stage or perhaps even to learn continuously. Give yourself enough time so that unforeseen appointments don’t put a spanner in the works! It is best to create a learning plan at the beginning of the semester in which you can enter all exams and also allocate the time to study before the exams. By the way: planning an extra day or two helps you not to panic even if the unexpected occurs!
Talking about planning, it is important to remember that people and above all their minds need a break! Be it to “clear your mind“, to consolidate what you have already learned or simply to not go crazy during the examination period. Especially in stressful times, plan to meet up with a friend for coffee because it is important to be able to switch off from time to time to give your head a break. In your non-study times, it is also important to revitalize your body with brain food. Therefore, we put together a whole article on how you can eat yourself smart with brain foods! By the way, planning breaks is not only fun, but also helps you to concentrate better later. It also has a positive effect on your social connections, and thus also on your well-being.
You are sitting at your desk, your documents are in front of you, the pen is already in your hand and you are ready to start – but the very second you put the pen on the paper it goes “bing” and you have received a new message . Of course, you now have to check to see who has contacted you and now that you are already on your phone you can quickly check Instagram again too. However, “quick check” often turns into hours that you spend in the depths of various social media apps and suddenly instead of the sociology lecture you are occupied with the latest TikTok dance. Therefore: switch your mobile phone to flight mode before studying. So you can concentrate undisturbed. During breaks you can of course check whether someone has posted something new again!
Sitting for long hours staring into a computer is both eye straining and bad for your position. You have probably already noticed how tense you are after long study units. To compensate, it is advisable to do a little bit of exercise. These can vary for everyone, some like to run in the fresh air, others train biceps and triceps in the gym – do what makes you happy! Additional tip: It can help to move, especially when learning vocabulary, and if your roommates are wondering why you have been walking all over the apartment for days, tell them it is for science!
Most professors provide sample tests. Doing this is definitely a good idea as it will familiarize you with the exam mode. Many courses also have online platforms where students can exchange information about exam questions. Of course, you won’t find the questions and answers for your exam there, but you will get an idea of what is important and may be asked a lot.
It can also be an advantage to exchange ideas with students who have already mastered the subject you are currently studying. They will surely have helpful tips for you!
Study smart, not just hard!