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5 Study Habits You Should Be Practicing

5 Study Habits You Should Be Practicing

With exams, quizzes, essays, projects, and myriad deadlines for different things, effective study habits are critical for keeping stress at bay during college. Having these great study habits can make things easier and alleviate some of the stress looming overhead. If you are in need of a bit of an improvement, or just want to get some new ideas, keep reading for the top five study habits that you should be practicing.

1. Make and use flashcards.

Flashcards are designed to promote active memory recall of information. By using flashcards with a question or term on one side and the answer or definition on the other, you will force your brain to recall the necessary information. Even if you struggle a bit with a card, you will still be actively reviewing the necessary material.

One of the other reasons why flashcards are effective is that they utilize spaced repetition learning techniques. Spaced repetition has been proven time and time again to be one of the most effective ways of building up memory and increasing recall of information. By studying the information again and again, at spaced intervals, you will be able to recall the information faster and far more easily.

2. Revise, revise, revise!

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    Many students put off studying until just before the exam, with the more diligent students giving themselves a week or two prior to a test. While this may sound effective and like a good manner of planning, it’s actually an ineffective method of preparing and studying. It’s best to revise the information a little bit every day, so that you are not overwhelmed when a test (or pop quiz!) comes around.

    One method of revising is to make a mind-map. This is a bit like a flowchart, in that you start with one core concept in the center, and then branch off into connected sections. This will help you to connect everything together and associate the terms with one another. When it comes time to take the exam, you will be better prepared and the key terms will jump out at you.

    Read aloud to yourself and, as silly as it may seem, pretend you are teaching a student. Read your notes aloud, pretend you are lecturing. Do this over and over, until you no longer have to look at your notes. Once you have accomplished that, do it again.

    Take one of the main concepts and turn it into a little story. Make sure you are able to explain this concept, no matter how complex it actually is, to someone who has never heard of it before. For example, if you are studying the industrial revolution, write a story that is written in such a way that it would explain that concept and events to someone who has never heard of it before. While this may sound silly and tedious, it’s an incredibly effective means of going over the information and looking at it in a new light. This, in turn, creates new associations and gives your brain a visual representation of the information, thereby making it easier to remember and recall.

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    Finally, come up with a keywords list. Take each of the main concepts for the subject you are studying, and reduce it into a ONE-word sub-topic. Study this list and memorize it. Incorporate it into the above methods, especially when using your flashcards. When it comes time for the exam, write down your list of keywords the moment you have that test in front of you. This will ensure you easily remember each topic and sub-topic, as well as providing a frame of reference if you get a blank during the test.

    3. Watch related lectures and videos.

    light apple books desk large

      One of the most effective—and the most fun—methods of studying is to watch related lectures and videos in order to supplement the material. Watch documentaries or videos on YouTube and educational websites. You may be surprised at how much you can learn from videos, and just how much information is available online.

      On a related note, you may also be able to download or stream podcasts that cover a large range of topics. Depending on what you are studying, you may find this to be very useful and entertaining.

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      4. Create practice tests based off previous tests.

      You should save all of the graded papers, quizzes, tests, assignments, and handouts that your teacher hands back to you. This will not only show you how well you did, but it will also highlight what you need to work on and where your strengths lie in that particular subject. You will also be able to learn the format of the tests, the structure of the questions, and whether or not to predict the inclusion of tricky True/False questions.

      Use these graded tests to create a new practice test. Include the questions you got correct, for some variety, but mainly focus on the questions you answered incorrectly. By focusing solely on these parts of the required material, you will turn your weaknesses around and even out the dents in your recall. Come test time, you will be far less stressed and feel more prepared.

      5. Re-write your notes.

      Studies have shown that writing information out by hand increases your ability to recall the material. This makes the recall go hand-in-hand with muscle memory, and you will be able to picture your written notes when you are taking the exam.

      One of the best ways to do this is to prepare for each class far ahead of time. Before the lecture begins, stake out your spot and go back over the assigned reading, your notes from the last class, and any homework you completed the night before. Right before the lecture starts, scan through the notes from the previous lecture as a means of gaining a sense of context that you will be able to build the new material on. This way, you will be able to focus on the lecture in order to get the information you will not be able to just look up in the book later on after the class has ended.

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      When you take the notes, write the information in your words rather than just blindly writing down what the professor says. This will help you to better grasp and retain the information. After class, re-write your notes in a more organized manner. This will help you to go over the information, as well as to ensure you have a sold set of notes for studying later on. As you go through the notes, summarize each section. This will sum it all up in your own vernacular, and show that you truly do understand the concepts. It will also show where any gaps in your understanding of the material may be.

      coffee desk notes studying

        Using outline formats with bullets, indentations, and numbering in order to make the hierarchical relationship between different points even more obvious will further solidify the information in your mind. Leaving space between the lines will also makes your notes easier to scan and study later on.

        The Cornell method is also extremely effective, especially if you do the summary at the end of the page. Fold your paper to have a large section on the right, and a smaller section on the left. On the right, jot down the pertinent information, points, or definitions during class. On the left, write questions for the information on the right, as you would read on a test. The left section is also the place for terms that are defined by the information on the right. At the very bottom of each page, add a summary of the above information. Later, when you go to study the notes, you can cover up the right column and make your notes a great means of preparing for exams.

        These are the five most effective study habits, and something all successful students do. Make sure you are on top of your game by following these study methods!

        Featured photo credit: pexels via static.pexels.com

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        Alexia Bullard

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        Last Updated on September 18, 2020

        How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

        How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

        Time is a great leveler isn’t it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Even if you’re self-assured, the day may never feel quite long enough.

        Why is it that some people can be so much more productive and achieve so much more in a typical day, while others struggle to achieve anything apart from feeling time crunched and overwhelmed?

        Everyone I know and work with wants to make the best use of their time. They want to learn how to be more self-assured, happier, and work less—all while growing in their career.

        How effectively we use our time—and how we actually work in our business—can make a huge difference to the amount we accomplish in a day or week. It can also make us more focused and more confident.

        Do you want to have more thinking and creative time? Do you want to spend more time working on your business rather than working at or in your business? In this article, we’ll show you how.

        Get More Done by Gaining Confidence

        What if you had a strategy for making the best use of your time that brings you more joy and allows you to focus on the biggest activities and opportunities in your business? You may find the following outline below to be helpful:

        1. Create an Exciting Vision

        If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?

        You want to be more productive and spend more time getting the right stuff done. Well, you need to create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.

        What does this future look like? How will you feel when you get there?

        Creating a new vision, especially one that is a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion. It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.

        Create a vision board to feel more self-assured.

          Commitment to this vision, and accomplishing continual daily progress depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, feel self-assured, and see something bigger ahead.

          Also, when you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.

          Make a vision map to get you started on the path to better productivity. This doesn’t have to be fully actualized, but you should know at least what direction you are heading.

          2. Build a Strategic Plan

          Once you have your future vision mapped out, the next step is to build a strategic plan to get you there.

          Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame. Any timeframe over 3 years may feel like a long way away.

          You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.

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          The first step is to decide on some specific goals for the next 12 months. Don’t list too many or you may begin to feel overwhelmed.

          The magic number for me and my clients is usually five annual goals.

          These are big goals that will create massive change in your business and life and bridge your current situation to your bigger future; accomplishing these goals one by one will help to increase your confidence on a daily basis.

          3. Get on Goal Planning

          Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: A, B, C, and D.

          Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now? Write these things down in Column A. This might be a couple of things, five things, ten things, whatever feels right to you.

          Then ask yourself: What things are happening right now that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.

          This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working. You may list people that are bringing you down or projects that you don’t want to work on any more. Maybe you’ll include a service offering that’s going nowhere. It could be the people you’re working with, or it could be your pricing.

          Now, let’s look at your personal strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.

          These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.

          Column D is for your biggest opportunities. Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers? Is there a new innovation you could bring to market? Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.

          Once you’ve analyzed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.

          4. Set Outcomes to Build Confidence

          You now have your goals, and you’ll feel self-assured and raring to go. They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel self-assured and motivated.

          But how do you ensure that you stay on the correct course to achieve these goals?

          Managing and juggling day-to-day projects can get in the way. Dealing with problems can get in the way. Staying on top of orders, managing cash flow, and handling day-to-day stuff can move your ship off course.

          You want to be productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day and week runs smoothly.

          One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals, put some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.

          Let’s say you want to get 10 more speaking jobs in the next 90 days, and you know that you typically convert 50% of opportunities.

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          Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new pieces of work. You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.

          It’s smart to overshoot, so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear plan to work through because with every win, your confidence will grow.

          5. Completely Commit to Your Success

          If you are not truly committed to achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.

          Motivation can only take you so far. It is the intentional commitment[1] and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.

          Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something. There must have been a reason you actually achieved what you set out to achieve. What motivated you?

          Were you fully invested? Why did it matter? Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?

          How did it feel when you achieved it? What difference did it make?

          When have you felt truly self-assured? When you are committed to something, then you are propelled into action. Your mindset is focused, and your body follows; you want to get it done.

          And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.

          6. Focus on Your Strengths

          To feel self-assured and build up the confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals, we need to focus on our strengths.

          What are you best at? What are your unique skills? You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.

          Multiply your strengths. These areas are where you add the biggest value. They often bring you the biggest amount of joy, and you feel more and more confident when you are using your unique skills.

          If you think there is a specific capability you need to learn or be better at, spend more focused time in that area.

          Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services. But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!

          Spending more time adding value in the areas where you excel can create breakthrough results and boost confidence.

          7. Embrace the Present

          Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment[2].

          Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect day looks like?

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          We all have the opportunity to create rather than react, to decide what we do with our day. All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.

          Sometimes, doing it now is more important than doing it perfectly. There are hidden opportunities in every moment. We need to make sure we don’t miss them if we want to feel self-assured.

          8. Calm the Whirlwind

          The day-to-day life in business and life can be hard, which leads us to feel less self-assured.

          Your mind may be full to bursting with all of the things you feel you have to do. The phrase “I don’t have time” has almost become an instant reaction by so many people when new opportunities are presented.

          There is a whirlwind happening inside our minds.

          Appointments, notifications, tasks, phone calls, errands, cash flow, staffing issues, networking, marketing all can clutter up our timeline. The sheer volume of things we feel we should do creates procrastination, stopping us from pursuing the projects and people that matter.

          Many of us feel we have to do everything within our business.

          Rather than simplifying things and doing less, we do more. We work longer, which creates a lack of energy and focus. Because of this, we lose clarity on our biggest opportunities. If you feel this way, take some well-deserved time off.

          Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of your time is being spent moving your ideas forward?

          In the next 90 days, if you could delegate or outsource more daily tasks and spend more time focusing on where you add the biggest value, what difference would it make?

          Calm the whirlwind by slowing down and doing less.

          Focus on areas that you add the biggest amount of value. By doing this, your energy levels will increase, your confidence will grow and you will have more success.

          9. Take More Time off

          This may seem counterintuitive, but taking more time off to recharge and refocus can pay huge dividends.

          If you are constantly fighting fires and caught up in the myriad of different activities that you have to do each day, then how can you move your business forward?

          You may be being pulled in difference directions without any focused time on your biggest projects. If that’s the case, then it’s almost impossible to gain any real momentum in moving your business forward and hitting your goals.

          The best way to get off that treadmill is to take more creative time out of the business.

          Could you realistically take one day off per month to work on your business? If you could, what would you do with this time?

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          Just imagine no distractions, only focused time on the strategic development and growth of your business.

          Every day off per month could have a different focus: New product innovation; Thinking about your biggest clients; Improving operations.

          Add to this a quarterly review to check in with your goals progress, and this could have a dramatic effect on where you spend your valuable time.

          10. Celebrate Wins

          Sometimes you just want to get through the day, right?

          You have so much to do. There are so many things on your task list that you just complete what you can and then start another day. But what would happen if, at the end of each day, you took some time out to look at what you’ve accomplished?

          Celebrating success keeps you motivated and helps you become more self-assured. It is not just another day. It’s a day that included things that should be celebrated.

          If you’re struggling to feel motivated, try celebrating a couple of wins each day.

          Celebrating success combined with the gratitude you have for achieving those wins will boost your confidence and inspire you for the next day.

          11. Give Yourself More Space

          When was the last time you gave yourself time to think?

          Within the hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to give yourself a little bit of space and time to just think[3].

          Imagine giving yourself just an hour a day to just let your mind wander or think about a specific thing.

          If you think about it, we can all free up an hour a day for something without really losing any efficiency or really impacting our business.

          In fact, that hour could be transformational for your business and life.

          A new idea for a product could form, or an idea for adding value to your existing clients could materialize. Perhaps you could do a check in to your ideal future and your goals. You could decide that you want to take your business in a new direction.

          Try this: Just sit alone for an hour with a notebook and let it be your creative thinking time. See what happens.

          Final Thoughts

          Ultimately, being self-assured happens when you have a clear direction.

          This, coupled with having clear goals and working in your unique skill-set, gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and get more of the right things done.

          The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money. By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will inevitably increase your confidence; at this point, your ideal future can be anything you want it to be.

          More on How to Be Self-Assured

          Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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