Did you just finish studying for a bunch of midterms? Or maybe finals have just started and you’ve been feeling overwhelmed? No worries, we’ve all been there. A lot of people say that studying is the most challenging part of college, but that doesn’t make it any easier! It can feel like there’s always something new you need to learn, and constant studying can make you feel like your brain is going to burst.
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The good news is that you don’t have to suffer through it for too long. In fact, you can work on your studying so that it becomes easier for you in the future instead of making it more difficult than it needs to be. Here are some useful tips to help you focus on your studying instead of feeling overwhelmed.
Make time for studying
This one is a no-brainer, but still worth mentioning. If you want to study better and more effectively, then you need to make time for it. We’re not just talking about making time for studying in general but also making time for the type of studying that you need to focus on next. For example, if you have a science midterm tomorrow morning, you need to make sure that this evening is spent studying science-related topics. You don’t always have to be focused on your studies for hours on end either. Sometimes twenty minutes of focused studying can help as much as an hour of unfocused thinking. It all depends on what kind of studying needs to be done and how much time you have available.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break
When you’ve been studying for a while, it might be a good idea to take a break. Get some fresh air and do something different. Distractions can help your brain stay focused and avoid burnout.
Try structured learning
If you find that your studying is becoming more difficult, one of the best things you can do is try structured learning. This means that you’ll make a plan in advance to study specific topics. You can also break down your plan into smaller parts to help you create milestones for yourself. For example, if you have an 18-week term, try breaking it down into three 6-week chunks and set goals for each chunk so that you know what to focus on during those periods. If you do this, it will be much easier for you to stay focused because your goals are clear and there’s not as much ambiguity about what needs to be done.
Get your brain prepared with visualisations
Sometimes the best way to get rid of that nagging feeling of anxiety is through visualisations. Visualisation can help you by giving your brain something positive to focus on and associate with studying. You can create a mental image of what you want to happen or visualize yourself as someone who has successfully passed all their exams. You could also imagine your favourite place in the world, or think about what you will do when all your studying is finally over.
Use colour-coding and outlining
One way to make your studying easier is by using colour-coding and outlining. Colour-coding can help you separate different types of information, like the topics and main points in a text. For example, maybe you’re writing an essay about what defines culture. You could colour code the introduction with blue, the body with purple, and the conclusion with green. Or maybe you’re reading an article on how to market your business on social media.
You could colour code each paragraph so that it’s easier to remember who wrote it and which one talks about content marketing and which one talks about Instagram marketing for example. Outlining also makes studying easier because it allows you to see all of the important details of a text at a glance without having to reread it from beginning to end every time. Simply read through the text once, highlight what you need to know, then read through again and fill in any missing details that you missed before underlining them. That way when you go back to study for exams or quizzes, you won’t have as much trouble remembering what was important in those texts!
Stay mentally active
We all know that we have to study, but sometimes it feels like there are just not enough hours in the day. It can feel overwhelming to have to focus on studying for so long – but one way you can make it easier is by making sure your brain stays active. One helpful trick is to take a break from studying and flip through a magazine or read some blog posts about something unrelated to your studies. This will help stimulate your brain and give you the motivation you need to get back into your studies.
Studying is a time-consuming and often difficult task. But if you’ve got the right study methods and habits in place, it can be much easier than you think. Here are 10 systematic steps to get you started on the right track for studying.
1. Make time for studying
2. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break
3. Try structured learning
4. Get your brain prepared with visualisations
5. Use colour-coding and outlining
6. Stay mentally active
7. Use the Pomodoro Technique
8. Stay hydrated
9. Give yourself a break
10. Reward yourself for finishing a task