Starting university is comparable to beginning a new chapter in one’s life. When students leave home for college, they embark on a new adventure. The key twists and turns of this trip are self-discovery and self-reliance, which influence the student’s overall perspective on life’s dynamics.
Many students are unprepared for the potential problems that university life may present, prompting them to become overwhelmed. What to study. How to study for exams. Can someone write my essays for me online so that I get the excellent grades?
It’s time to tackle your studies head-on and deal with any problems that are holding you back. Before exams arrive, you need a study routine, study habits, and academic skills that will help you learn quickly and thoroughly. This article explores common study issues and recommends proven strategies for improving your academic performance.
1. Time management
You’d probably like to have more time to study, write papers, and do homework. However, you can’t control the number of hours you have each day. What you can control is how you use the time you have.
To help manage your time:
- Make a schedule. At the beginning of the semester, write a schedule for each day. Start early in the morning and stick to your schedule as much as possible.
- Give yourself rewards. If you complete your homework or classes for the day, allow yourself a small reward. This keeps you motivated to continue working hard.
- Create specific goals. Before you start your day, review your schedule and goals. If you’re struggling to find a purpose in your studies, consider changing your goals or the order in which you’ll be working on them.
Do you put off homework until the last minute? Do you routinely forget to do your homework or study? Do you spend more time on social media than on your homework or studying?
Even though there is only so much time each day, many students manage to make their studying and assignments a last priority. This is known as procrastination: the intentional delaying of an important task.
So, how do you stop procrastinating?
- Write down your priorities. When you’re tempted to put off your studies, review your priorities written on the paper. Keep this list near you while you’re studying.
- Choose a small task first. To overcome the temptation to procrastinate, choose the easiest task on your list—perhaps checking your email or social media accounts. Once you complete this task, give yourself a reward.
- Delay gratification. Put away all of your distractions, such as cell phones and TV, and focus on your studies. Let yourself have a reward only after completing a significant study session.
Use the after-effect technique. Before you start studying, allow yourself a short distraction—such as looking at social media or watching TV. Once you begin studying, however, you can’t look at distractions until you finish your work. This after-effect technique helps you avoid the tendency to procrastinate by making you start your studies sooner.
3. Study methods
Plans don’t happen by accident. Students who fail to organize their studies end up falling behind and feeling overwhelmed.
Top students start their classes with a plan—a study schedule, a to-do list for homework, a schedule for completing assignments, and a plan for tackling big tests. But instead of sticking to their plans, they get stuck in study habits that hurt their grades.
Many students start out strong, but then fall into one of three common study traps:
The Black Hole Study Method
Students who use this study method prep heavily before a test or big assignment. They dig into the material as soon as the class ends. Sometimes, they even camp out in the library or classroom all night.
Instead of making smart choices about which parts of the material to study, students try to memorize as many facts and figures as possible. Since there is so much information to digest in such a short time, they resort to shortcuts like highlighting entire pages or copying and pasting text into a Word document.
This style of studying often leads to a zero retention rate. Even if you manage to memorize some information, you will have no idea what things are important to learn. The Black Hole Study Method inevitably leads to failure.
The Hydra Study Method
Students who use this method try to study at random times throughout the day. They rarely, if ever, plan out their assignments or their study sessions ahead of time. When it’s time to study, they approach the task like a hydra—cutting away here and there, trying to grab hold of one concept at a time. Even though they try to focus on different parts of the material incessantly, they never learn how the concepts fit together.
This leads to a lack of context for the material being studied. Without a frame of reference for how different concepts interact, it will be nearly impossible to remember anything for more than a few minutes. Despite studying “hard” hours every day, students who employ the Hydra Method never see improvements in their grades.
Selecting the right study approach for you might be a difficult task. However, there are numerous effective methods. The Pomodoro Technique is one option.
With the Pomodoro Technique, students work in 25-to-35-minute intervals with short five-to-ten-minute breaks. During the work periods, you focus only on the task at hand. No distractions can interrupt your concentration. During the breaks, you can still focus on the task at hand but you’re free to do whatever you want. You can take a walk, check your phone, drink a coffee—anything except continue working on the task at hand.
The key to the Pomodoro Technique is keeping work intervals short but consistent. Even though you’re working less than 40 minutes a day, this method leads to better focus and less procrastination. Because you’re being rewarded with a break soon, it’s harder to get bogged down in difficult tasks. Despite being brief, these work sessions cultivate a sense of progress that keeps you motivated to get things done.
Despite its simplicity, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the most effective study methods. It helps you avoid procrastination, focus on tasks at hand, and get out of your chair.
The best way to deal with these common study problems is to be proactive and address them before they become an issue. Time management, organization, and focus are key to success in any academic endeavor. Be willing to experiment with different techniques and strategies until you find what works best for you. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are plenty of resources available to help you succeed.