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How To Get Good Grades While Studying Less

How To Get Good Grades While Studying Less

Wouldn’t it be awesome to know you could get better grades without having to rack your brains and put your life on hold?

I teach some of the most competitive students. They are all jostling to get into med school and you should see the extreme measures they take. They study till they drop… literally. That’s not what university life is supposed to be like. The key to freeing up your time is to learn to study effectively, not study more. As the semesters go by, you should be getting better grades but studying less. That’s the true measure of academic success. Here are 8 simple things you can do to achieve this seemingly impossible task.

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1. Sleep well

Sleep is sacred. Maintain your alertness by sleeping well — not more than 8 hours a day, but not less than 7. This is bound to improve both your body and brain health and energy levels.

Another cool trick is combining tea or coffee with a power nap during the day. Just sip your preference of coffee or tea, then doze off for no more than twenty minutes. You’ll wake with double the energy boost as the effects of the caffeine kick in at precisely the moment you wake up.

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2. Discover how you learn best

People generally learn in one of three ways and tend to prefer one — through visuals, sound, or touch. You need to figure out which one works best for you. According to the discoverers of neurolinguist programming, your words tell you which one you may lean towards. Listen to yourself in the coming days and notice statements like: “I see what you’re saying…” or “I hear you” or “I can’t get a grasp on that.” Once you discover which one of the modes of learning best suits you, adapt your studying techniques to your preference.

3. Teach to learn better

Another great way to study more effectively is to actually teach others what you are studying. Do this and you are proverbially hitting two birds with one stone — spending time with friends and helping them on the one hand, while you also learn the subject far more effectively. Teaching is a great reinforcer of concepts and helps solidify your memory.

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4. Study only when you’re productive

Students succumb to the pressure of exams so much and so often that they think they need to burn the next 48 hours, studying on afterburners. Studying too much, at all times, is extremely counter-productive. Set apart times of the day when you are at your best mentally for the task. We waste those hours too often on meaningless tasks — aided greatly by our addiction to the internet. This requires no small amount of self-discipline, but it’s well worth it when you realize you can learn so much in short periods of time.

5. Study many things at once

Many students make the mistake of studying for one subject at a time. They finish one exam and then move on to the next subject. This is one of the most destructive study habits out there. Face the fact that your exams come one after the other and start studying for all of them a little earlier, but in 20- or 30-minute intervals. After a short break, switch subjects. It decreases the level of boredom, keeps your mind challenged, and maintains your levels of motivation.

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6. Meditate

Find a place to sit where you’ll feel comfortable closing your eyes. Become mindful of your surroundings, your breathing, your heart rate, the sun, the din of the day, the whole thing. Hey, you’re alive! This is a great exercise that very often resets your attitude and keeps you sharp and focused.

7. Don’t sacrifice your social life to study

I’m not saying you have to party your way through college on overdrive with destructive habits, sleeping late and waking up totaled at 1 pm every day. But a healthy social life — friends and family that build you up — is great for your success. Make sure you cultivate your relationships while still giving studying the priority and attention it deserves. Many give up one for the other at their own peril.

8. Feed your mind

There’s no way to circumvent nature’s laws. You reap what you sow, and that can be said also for your mind. Be curious always. Love learning. Listen more than you speak. Seek wisdom and choose to cultivate intelligence. While it may sound a little fluffy, practice positive thinking and gratefulness. A happy mind learns far better than a negative, bitter, and cynical mind.

Featured photo credit: Yuri Samollov via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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