Coulda used this last semester.
So, now it’s summer and you’re either soaking up the sun or back in the classroom for summer semester. Whichever it is, there is never a bad time to help yourself study better. Whether you use it now or next semester, here are some tips to make you more effective.
1. Speed it up.
Whether it’s a lecture, an audio book or some absurdly long video, increase the speed it’s playing at and you’ll immediately notice how much time you’re saving. The human brain has the ability to listen (and understand) words up to 400 words per minute. Compare that to the average speaking rate of 125 WPM — or 100 WPM if it’s one of my professors — and you could potentially finish listening to something in a third of the time. Who wouldn’t want that?
2. In one ear, not out the other.
I wish I could go back in time and figure out this hack in high school — it’s that good. While you’re doing the mundane little things in life like: cleaning your room, doing the dishes, running on the treadmill — hell, even sleeping — try turning on a recording of what you’re supposed to be learning. Even if you aren’t giving it your undivided attention you’ll still pick up a lil something.
3. Treat yourself.
Determine what your largest tasks are — anything from writing an essay to studying for an exam — and then divide them into smaller, more manageable tasks. For instance. If you have to write a 3,000 word paper, consider rewarding yourself after you’ve written the first 500 words, then the next, and the next.
Make the reward something simple that you can do easily and quickly. It could be an episode of your favorite TV show — you can never go wrong with Friends — your favorite sweet treat or a small nap. Just don’t forget about the thing you’re “treating yourself” for.
According to a study conducted by St. Lawrence University, chewing gum while studying could potentially improve your score. The act of chewing gum helps you wake up and give you a burst of energy when you really need it — and when do you need it more than at 3 a.m. in the library?
Help yourself remember even more information by chewing the same gum while you study and while you’re actually taking the test. Hubba Bubba here I come.
5. Find your light.
Have you ever noticed that in a class with no windows and harsh lighting you find it harder to concentrate? Well, it’s no coincidence, it’s science. When your body is introduced to harsh artificial lighting it becomes more stressed and it gets more difficult to focus.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you have too little lighting your body will be naturally tired and any information you put in your brain just won’t stick. The best thing for you, your brain and your grades is to study someplace with loads of natural light. Trust me, it’ll make a world of difference.
6. Work it out.
A good cardio workout is not only good for your heart and body, it’s good for your brain too. When we exercise our bodies are flooded with serotonin and endorphins, natural chemicals that help you feel happy, energetic, and even focused.
While that’s happening, our brains are getting more oxygen, which helps improve things like memory and learning. Do you need another reason to get your butt to the gym?