Studying: Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!
Managing heavy study loads is something I specialize in. I do five subjects a semester, and frequently hear the phrase ‘I don’t know how you do it!’, especially after a friend has attempted the same thing. I’ve never told them this, because I like them to think that I’m just that good, but there is actually a system behind my university success. And, because I like you, I’m going to break it down for you here.
I go by a set of pretty bendable rules, and follow my own, entirely made-up study methods, which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend, because I’ve been told that I’m crazy and shouldn’t give advice…
- Stay on top of your readings. Tip: learn to skim read, it’s a necessity for Government and Law subjects, otherwise, not only will you never finish your readings, you will also never, ever ever sleep.
- Take breaks. If you get bored while studying one subject, switch to another one, with a 10 minute break in between. Your brain will be getting new, different and (hopefully) exciting information and won’t keep zoning out. I’ve found this particularly effective when doing Government essays.
- Don’t ever try to study on the treadmill – it’s a health hazard. I know this from personal experience. The stationary bike at the gym’s a-okay though, I like to do my readings there.
- Study skills courses can be very helpful. We used to have to do them every year at school, and I now have excellent study habits.
Effective study techniques/What I learnt from these study skills courses:
- Study for 30 to 50 minutes at a time, with a 10-minute break between sessions.
- Colour coding not only makes your notes look pretty, it helps you remember the stuff you have to learn.
- You can learn by teaching. I like to tell my family random, entirely pointless facts about the US political system. They now know how congress works, and I aced the exam!
- Don’t study with your friends. EXCEPTION: game-show style study sessions, with candy prizes. They are fun and effective.
- Snacking while studying aids information retention (I don’t remember why – clearly I wasn’t eating during this part). STUDY SNACKS: If you’re at the library, stay quiet, nothing crunchy!
- Get lots of sleep. I spent the better part of last semester in a state of constant sleep-deprivation, and as my friends will tell you, I was quite literally insane and unintelligible. But I still didn’t fail anything, so yayyyy….
As a final tip of advice to get you on the highway to success: if you can’t study without knowing there’s a reward at the end, get a cookie/ice cream/coffee/whatever tickles your fancy at the end of the day.