Tips for Staying Focused while Studying

When it’s time to study, it seems like everything other than your books becomes incredibly interesting. It takes next to nothing to become distracted, and even things that would never interest you otherwise become highly entertaining.

Studying is essential, and learning how to stay focused while doing so will prepare you for the future. Whether you’re a student with an exam fast approaching, or have just received new information at your job, these tips will help you stay focused while studying so you can achieve outstanding results.

1. Stick to a Schedule

You are more likely to study when you put it into your schedule. Otherwise, you will fill your time with something else, or underestimate the amount of time you have available to study “at a later time”. Life can also become quite chaotic fairly quickly without one. So, set a schedule, whether daily or weekly, to ensure that you stay focused and on top of the material you’re learning. Knowing that you have dedicated time to studying will prepare you mentally, while also decreasing stress. However, you must stick to the schedule you make. Never push studying back simply because something else came up.

2. Don’t Overcommit Yourself

With the grind of today’s society, it seems normal to be overly committed and completely bombarded with things to do. However, when you know you have something to study for, learn to say no.  Whether it’s a night out on the town, a networking meeting or helping a friend, you have to prioritize to ensure that you give yourself plenty of study time, as well as time for some well-needed rest and relaxation.  A hectic schedule will increase your stress levels, which will make it even harder to study and retain information. If a proposed activity can wait, let it.  Say no to all the activities that will complicate your schedule, and yes to the ones that will reduce stress and create more time for you to focus on things of priority.

3. Find the Perfect Study Space

Studying on your bed with your favourite sitcom playing in the background is tempting, but it won’t be nearly as effective as it should be. In order to fully retain the information you’re studying, you must be in the right environment and mindset. Too many distractions will quickly take you away from the learning process. Avoid places that are too busy, such as the local hot spot that is famous for their cup of java, and choose an area that is a little more quaint and quiet. Libraries, lounges and even picnic areas can be an excellent place to study, assuming they aren’t overridden with people and noise. You also want to choose a study area that is well lit and comfortable. A bad setup can significantly affect your work efficiency, so never underestimate the power of finding the perfect study spot.

4. Turn off the Tech

Forget the technology. Although you love your tablet, iPod and smartphone, turn it off, put it down and don’t pick it back up until your schedule declares studying time to be over. All of the notifications, text messages and phone calls are just going to take away from your productivity. Now, you may be tempted to skip over this studying tip, especially if you plan on using your electronic devices to “help” you study. But stick with the traditional paper, pen and highlighter method to ensure that you fully retain all the information you’re studying. Make sure that your perfect study area is a gadget-free zone, and you’ll get the most out of the time you have dedicated to studying.

5. Schedule Time for Distractions

With all that said, studying intensely for long periods of time with absolutely no enjoyment in your life won’t be beneficial either. With no breaks, you are setting yourself up to be a prime candidate for a burn out. Schedule time for distractions, and you will be more focused when it comes time to hit the books. See these study breaks as a reward for your hard work, and let that motivate you to sit back down and study once your break is over. All work and no play can be just as detrimental as all play and no work. So, find a balance that works for you to ensure your happiness and productivity are equally satisfied.

Inappropriate forms of studying are highly tempting. After all, everyone likes to listen to music, watch their favourite television show and surround themselves with good company. However, these are inappropriate forms of studying because they are not effective and with drastically affect your productivity.  Follow these tips for staying focused while studying, and you’ll get the perfect balance of productivity and play.

Top Memorization Techniques Everyone Should Know

Memorization is an essential tool for studying. You can re-read your documents, papers and books as much as possible, but if you don’t memorize the content, your studying efforts won’t be effective. When proper memorization techniques are used, your brain fuses sensory-motor information with symbolic representation. This is how you are able to remember and refer back to content you’ve seen previously. However, memorization isn’t as simple as reading something over and over again. There are specific techniques that will help embed the information into your brain, making your studying highly effective.

1. Link the Content to Something of Importance

One easy memorization technique is to link the content you’re studying to something of importance. These simple associations allow you to easily recall the information retained.  You could link items in a list to names of people in your life. Use the first letter of the word you’re trying to memorize with the first letter of someone in your life, or link the items you’re memorizing to specific and memorable moments or attributes.  The more precise you can be, the better. If you were studying the body parts, here is an example of how to link the content to a group of your closest friends:

  • Trevor – Triceps
  • Bradley – Biceps
  • Darren – Deltoid

2. Create a Story with the Content

This memorization technique is fairly similar to the prior. However, instead of associating each item memorized with something else, you would combine everything to create somewhat of a story. As such, you create a big picture in your brain that allows you to easy recall the content studied. So, instead of linking the first letter of someone’s name to the first letter of the list item studied, you could create a paragraph that uses the full names in order of importance.  Here is an example:

  • Trevor focuses strictly on his triceps when we go to the gym, and Bradley likes to show off his biceps in some mirror-selfies. Darren likes to be a bit more focused on the deltoid muscles.

3. Link Content with Familiar Locations

This memorization technique is called The Loci Method, and it is the process of linking the content you’re studying with locations that are familiar to you. It’s truly as simple as that. However, the more interesting, odd and sensory the association is, the more likely you are to remember them. So, let’s say you’re studying body parts. Here is how you can link the content studied to familiar locations:

  • The heart is your home where mom bakes delicious muffins.
  • Eating too many muffins will take away from my muscles and I have to hit up the gym.
  • The local pub is bad news for my liver.

4. Link Content to Numbers

This memorization technique works especially well when studying lists, as you can easily link each word with a specific number in a particular order. The trick is to find a way to make the numbers trigger the specific item you studied. This could be as simple as making the words rhyme, or associating words with numbers that start with the same letter or that sound similar. Again, the funnier and more interesting, the more likely you are to remember it. Here is an example:

  • Two is for the shoe, where the tibial muscles are located.
  • Three is for the knee, where the popliteus muscle hides.

5. Little Ins and Outs

Now that you know four of the major memorization techniques, you can use the little ins and outs of studying to ensure that you retain the information even further. These simple procedures will imprint the content studied even further into your brain. Here are some of the most successful and traditional tools to study:

  • Flashcards
    • Perfect for quick and easy references and facts, such as the content you linked to something of importance, as well as the number linking technique.
  • Recite out loud
    • Ideal for memorizing poems, songs, and stories you created that relates to the content studied.
  • Teach someone else
    • This technique is a true test that allows you to see what you have memorized, and what areas you need to study more.

As you can see, all of the memorization techniques can play into one another, which will make it easier for you to remember. For example, when we used the linking content to numbers technique, we also made it into a bit of a story.  Incorporate these memorization techniques into your studying, and receive superior results that bring you closer to achieving your goals.

10 Study Tips to Improve your Grades

Cramming content is rarely a good idea. More importantly, it will rarely give you the results you’re capable of.  So, it’s time to forget about strictly rereading your notes and textbooks in order to truly improve your grades. While reading your notes and textbooks is certainly recommended, there are many rewarding study techniques, tips and tools that will make the process much more enjoyable and effective. You will also be able to retain more information in less amount of time. So, practice these ten studying tips, and you’ll quickly see that studying no longer has to be a boring, drawn out and daunting task.

1. Highlight Major Points

Often times, you only need to read certain parts of a sentence or paragraph in order to fully understand the content. This is why underlining is one of the easiest and best-known study tips. Simply highlight the most important parts of the content you’re studying, and you will quickly be able to comprehend the rest of the text without having to read through the entire thing. You retain more, in less amount of time – and you won’t exhaust your brain with unnecessary content.

2. Rewrite your Own Study Notes

If you don’t already have your own notes written out, it’s time to grab a piece of paper and pen. Take the information learned and summarize it into your own words, and the content will quickly be embedded into your brain. It’s somewhat similar to the highlighting study tip, but instead, you are writing out the most important things to remember, as opposed to simply rereading it. This also gives you plenty of time to make sense of what you’re studying, since we all know the content is textbooks can be truly dreadful at times.

3. Draw it Out

A lot of times, people need to visualize the information being studied in order to fully understand it. So, start to draw out the information you’re studying. By associating the content learned with pictures/drawings, you will quickly be able remember it as needed.

4. Create a Mind Map

Creating a good mind map can save you hours studying, as you’re able to retain a lot of information all at once. It’s also an excellent way to visualize content, which allows you to better analyze, comprehend and recall the information studied.  Start by writing the main topic in the center of a piece of paper, and create branches for the things you must remember.

5. Brainstorm

Brainstorming can easily be done on a mind map, but many people choose to utilize this study tip in a group setting, as it allows you to share and capture new ideas. Start talking about the content you’re studying, and roll with it. It’s an excellent way to capture and comprehend a lot of content – even stuff that you may not written down in your notes.

6. Flashcards

Flashcards are exceptionally effective when trying to learn quick and precise information, such as names, dates, facts and vocabulary. It’s also a fun way to retain all the information you need, while also giving you a break from sitting down and reading your notes and textbooks. Just write down the content you need to memorize, and start flashing those cards.

7. Quiz Yourself

Once you have a bit of studying in, create small quizzes that go over the content. This allows you to see exactly what information you have retained, and more importantly, what you need to study more of.  You may also want to give yourself short quizzes after each week, just to keep you on top of your classes and the lessons.

8. Review Case Studies

Learning more information from a different perspective can be incredibly benefit when trying to improve your grades. It can be difficult to fully understand the implications of all theories, and case studies allow you to visualize theories. This allows you to relate it back to familiar and realistic terms, making it very easy to remember.

9. Mnemonic Rules

An excellent study tip to use when memorizing lists is to follow the mnemonics. This is where you associate the content being studied with something you’re more familiar with. There are a variety of ways you can make mnemonics, with one of the more popular methods being a sentence that has the first letter of every item you need to memorize.

10. Schedule your Study

In order to improve your grades, you need to commit to studying. Without a schedule, you are unlikely to dedicate specific time to study, and will only do it when you have “free time”. However, by organizing your study and setting a specific schedule, you will never have to resort to late night cramming sessions the night before a big exam.

These study tips aren’t new, but they are sometimes forgotten. Practice these effective study tips, and you are certain to see the power of each. Studying can be effective, enjoyable and less time-consuming.