According to the National Survey of Student Engagement’s findings, the average student spends about 17 hours each week preparing for classes. College success guides suggest roughly 2-3 hours of study time for each hour spent in class (30+ hours a week).
It is crucial to allot ample time to studying, but even more critical to study effectively. Efficiency can be accomplished by adopting a simple study habit, which is to study deliberately. This means maximizing the amount of effort put into the total gain of knowledge. Make sure to incorporate some of the following study habits so that you are less likely to waste precious time:
1. Study in increments. Study for 25-30 minutes, then take a 10-15 minute break. Brief diversions have been scientifically shown to help the brain make valuable connections and consolidate memories of what you just studied.
2. Study in sections. Break the material into different sections. Studies have shown that breaking information into sections has a better chance of sending it to the long term memory.
3. Try getting a group together to study. When studying with others, questions that you may have can be answered by your group. Choose group members carefully based on their study habits and remember to stay focused on the task.
4. Study every day. It is important to study every day instead of waiting for the night before a quiz or exam. Remember, college is your full-time job. Going to class and class preparation can take up to 45 hours per week.
5. Keep your study area tidy. Studies have shown that productivity is increased in a stress-free and clean environment. Declutter your desk, make your bed and then hit the books.
6. Choose a dedicated study area. Pick a quiet place free of distractions which you will only use for studying.
7. Eat healthy. Nutritious foods are proven to aid concentration and memory. Remember to eat your veggies and avoid MSG and refined sugar!
8. Test yourself. One of the best ways to learn the material is by finding out where you need to begin. Quiz yourself to see how much of the material you have already mastered.
9. Take control. Make a list of everything you need to do/know and prioritize. Make sure you have everything you need for your exam ready.
10. Sleep. You’ve heard the adage that sleep is for the weak, but don’t cut corners on this necessity. Sleep allows your brain to process memories. Also, it helps to improve productivity.
The study habits above can make studying more effective allowing for extra time to do things you enjoy. Engaging in stress reduction is an important step to take before studying. Stress reactions make it hard to sit down and retain information, so try to plan for time in nature, exercise, meditation or other relaxation techniques. Be sure to check us out on Twitter at #EtownSimplified.