In my first year of university, due to a lack of knowledge around managing my time and energy appropriately, my studying was very inefficient. Most of the time I spent studying had been wasted — none of the information I learned during that period of time had been retained. So, it was not surprising that my grades for these tests in first year simulated a sinusoidal graph. Realizing that change was necessary, I started exploring and employing study strategies. After experimenting with countless study tips, I settled with several that have proved to be helpful and easily implemented. Below are three strategies I would like to share; they worked for me and helped me tremendously in boosting my study efficiency. 

Plan Your Day

Creating a daily plan is extremely helpful for organizing your time and preventing procrastination. Spend 10 minutes in the morning making a plan for the rest of your day. When your to-do list is very long, you could also include the expected duration of time for each task. This way, you will be aware of your progress and make sure the most important (if not all) things are checked off from the list by the end of the day. Also, customize your study plan to yourself and plan accordingly based on your time availability and current efficiency. If you’d like, you can plan your tasks for different times of the day — morning, afternoon, or evening. Put the tasks that require the most effort to the time when you feel the most efficient and focused. You can write down your daily plans on a piece of paper or even a post-it note. Better yet, you can use an agenda to stay organized and plan your short-term plans and long-term goals!

Stay Focused

A study environment without distractions is crucial to staying focused and efficient. Try putting your cell phone on silent, and RESIST that temptation to open social media apps/websites. The best way to do this is to print out your notes or work offline. If you prefer using a laptop, try disconnecting it from the internet. This way, you can concentrate entirely on your task at hand without interruptions. Also, you may want to try using a timer. It can be very helpful for maximizing your efficiency.

Relate to Real Life

You can make your studying easier and fun by making real life connections. For example, the concepts of accuracy and precision in general chemistry can be turned into a tasty cake (see Minute School). Studying can be made into an exciting exploration. There are countless ways to do so. Apply the principles you’ve learned in class to your daily life, set up mini-experiments to test the theories, draw comics for lessons you find interesting in class …… Studying is more than reading and taking notes when sitting in a desk. Even a cake has science in it. Once you get used to bringing textbook terms into real life, you will start to see so many connections that are relatable to your area of study. With this approach, learning will become much more natural and effortless. 

I found these 3 strategies helped me study more efficiently, and I hope will they be helpful to you, too. Try them out, and have fun learning!

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