Tuesday 23 August 2016

More Than Studying Hard: Study Smart

It may be crunch-time for you again, that hellish period where all the deadlines come crashing down or tests pile up, one after another in a week or so of utter agony, as you try to cram as much as you can into your head and hope against hope that you will be able to recall the information at the right time. Tempers fray, eye bags and dark circles worsen, meals become irregular and it feels as if life goes on hold completely as you strain to survive the coming days, praying that the results are alright. The life of a struggling student, especially in this rigorous education system, is far from easy.

However many students make it harder on themselves than it actually has to be. There are many things that might not have ever occurred to you that could make the process a little less painful, though still challenging. Sometimes just taking a little bit of time, perhaps when on the way home or during lunch, to reflect on the simple Why, How and Where could change the way your ‘Hell Week’ goes.

A lot of us chug through our need-to-dos without ever stopping to think about why we do what we do. We study so that we score well in a test or examination but what then? What does that mean in the greater scale of things for you? Maybe you do not want to disappoint a favourite professor, or lose out to your peers or maybe you just want to get an A for that particular assignment or class. Take that short term goal and think about what it means in the bigger picture for you. If you want to get an A, maybe it is so that your grades will be good enough to apply to your dream job or the major that you are passionate about. This in turn is so that you know you are planning towards doing something that you are interested in, rather than working for simply money, social pressure or duty. When you have your long-term goal clearly in mind, you find that slogging through the small things now becomes more meaningful and therefore, less of a chore.

Have you ever thought about how you are studying? Many people talk about the need to schedule work according to your speed of studying and take notes like everyone else, but these are not actual methods of studying. When it comes down to memorising or understanding large amounts of information several key things help. Firstly, understand what you are studying and applying it will come naturally and easily unlike when merely memorised. Secondly, if information has to be memorised, try associating the information with something that you can easily recall. For some, creating sing-song versions of the text you need to memorise makes it stick in your memory longer. For others, images or visual representations are easier to retain and recall, hence the popularity of mind-maps. You can also try associating it with things that are personally significant, such as dates or events. All of these things make impersonal information more personal and therefore, easier to absorb.

Where you study also matters a great deal. Do not feel pressured by friends to follow them along to noisy cafes or spend unnecessary agonising hours in a school classroom after classes. Think about what works for you and what is needed for what you are going to accomplish. If you study Math better in a group where you can easily consult someone for assistance, arrange to do that with friends who are disciplined and knowledgeable. If you need to memorise a lot of information, you need to find a comfortable place with convenient access to what you need, maybe snacks, the restroom or a balcony for fresh air and sunlight. A good environment for studying in is crucial to easing the tedium and may even accelerate your pace.

Ultimately, studying should not just be about getting it over with. When you approach it that way, you take away very little from the time spent and it becomes unnecessarily unpleasant. Think about your goals, what works for you and what interests you, especially within whatever you have to accomplish. This will make all the difference. Good luck!
Study Smart | Career | Article | MyMailMoment