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5 Tips to Improve Your Study Habits

5 Tips to Improve Your Study Habits
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Whether you’re having trouble because your subject is difficult, time consuming or – let’s be honest – boring we have some tips here that can help you improve your studying habits. Keep reading for 5 ways you can study smarter from Kristopher Quaioit over at Bright Brain Learning:

Feel like you’re working hard but still can’t reach your study goals? Here are some quick tips to help you make the most out of study time.

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1. Study with a partner or in groups, and peer teach.

Rather than living in a cave with your nose in the books all day, grab a friend from your class and study with them. Group studying helps you to engage and process the information more deeply. Of course, it means more than just carpooling to the library and studying with your headphones on. Have fun with it. Play charades guessing the characters of The Great Gatsby. Draw a picture of your modern interpretation of the Boston Tea Party. Race to solve an algebra problem first and discuss it afterwards. You can also divide the class topics and take turns teaching them as creatively as you like. Sometimes the best way to learn something is to teach it, even if you haven’t mastered it yet. Actively engaging the information with someone else not only helps you to learn, but makes studying more enjoyable. Just avoid turning your sessions into social hour.

2. Step into your teacher’s shoes.

Ask yourself “If I am the teacher, what would I put on the test?” You have probably experienced a few of your teacher’s tests and quizzes by now. Learn from them for the next test. The structure is usually the same, and teachers have specific types of information that they want you to learn. Remember, teachers don’t expect you to memorize every single detail, just the ones they feel is important. It’s your job to figure out what that is. And not everything is important. Don’t be that student who turns a stack of notes into a highlighter coloring book. If in doubt, by all means, ask your teacher.

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3. Paint bigger pictures.

Find ways to connect what you are learning to real life or to other related concepts. It’s harder to remember each piece of a puzzle individually than it is to recall the completed picture. Find ways to relate pieces of information to each other and cluster them.Try this exercise: memorize these numbers in order.6…….2…….9…….1…….3…….8…….4…….0…….5

Now try to memorize these numbers 629….138….405

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The bottom is easier right? It is the same order of numbers, but put into the context of bigger numbers. Creating context gives information meaning and also turns learning into an experience rather than simple absorption.

4. Feed your brain.

A hungry brain is an ineffective one. Those Snickers commercials were not kidding. Your brain needs the proper nutrients to keep it going. Because of this, what you eat and drink also play a huge role in how sharp your brain is. Healthy foods provide nutrients to your brain cells to keep them energized; junk foods increase fatigue and tend to lead to the infamous food coma. So ditch the bag of fried potato chips for a healthy snack bar and a yogurt.Don’t forget the H20. Hydration is equally important. Your brain cells need water to function properly and increase their efficiency. Staying hydrated is known to combat anxiety and increase short-term and long-term memory function.

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No need to break your piggy bank to buy that bottle of high-end water. You can turn any bottle of H20 into “Smart Water” by simply drinking it.

5. Take breaks.

Your brain is like a muscle. It needs exercise to make it stronger, but it can also tire if you overwork it. Imagine that each minute of studying is a push-up and you have to complete 100. If you try to do them all at once, you’ll fatigue to the point where you can’t continue. Essentially you burn out and, despite how hard you try to push, you can’t get your chest off the ground. Your brain is no different. You can try to pound the information in after studying non-stop for an hour, but learn little. On the contrary, if you divide the 100 push-ups into 10 sets, taking a 2-minute break in between, completing 100 is not that bad. If you divide studying into 15-30 minute blocks with quick breaks in between, your brain will feel refreshed, grateful and ready for the next challenge you throw at it.

 5 Tips to Study Smarter | Bright Brain Learning

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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