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8 Ways To Help You Study

Going back to school, college, or university after a long breakaway is hard at the best of times, let alone with the extended duration of the lock-down due to Covid-19. After a long time out of education, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things. So we’ve put together 8 helpful tips to get you back into studying and to stay organised.

1. Use Print And Paper To Improve Performance

It is all too easy to get distracted by the internet with its never-ending resources of entertainment and information. But how much of it do you actually remember? 84% of people surveyed say they retain information better when they are reading in print.(1) Using a physical printed document to flick through and source information utilises two of our key senses, sight and touch. This keeps us more engaged as we battle through the amount of information we are trying to digest.

Writing down your notes on paper helps the information sink in. Instead of just copying and pasting information, taking the time to write the information you need means you are spending more time thinking about it. As it does take time, it means you are actively thinking about what is important and will be more likely to remember or recall information in the future.

2. Studying In Silence Can Be Deafening.

Some people like to work in silence and it works well for them. But not everyone is the same. Listening to music whilst studying is a personal preference, but many experts agree that playing certain types of music, such as instrumental soundtracks, can help students engage parts of their brain that help them to pay attention and make connections. Listening to music may also improve your mood and change your outlook on studying.(2)

3. Active Studying

Active Studying is simply asking yourself questions before, during and after studying. This can help give your study session a direction, keep you on track and reflect on how to improve for your next one.(3) Don’t forget to write out your questions and answers to see if you have achieved what you’ve asked.

A couple of questions you can ask yourself before studying:
• What am I about to learn?
• What do I already know about this subject?

Some questions to ask yourself whilst you study:
• Do I understand what I have just read?
• Is this information relevant and if so, how is it relevant?
• Can I simplify it to understand the basic principle?
• Are there any key words or ideas that I need to write down? Why are these words and ideas important?

The questions to ask yourself after your study session:
• What have I learned from this study session?
• What do I need to review or work on next time?

4. Remain Calm And Relax

This one is somewhat obvious, but easily overlooked.

Your mental state when it comes to studying can be a big hindrance if you are stressed or distracted. Make sure you can relax when you need to. Taking small study breaks or taking a few deep breaths will help you study by lowering your stress levels. Find out what helps you to relax when studying, like music, incense, herbal teas, etc. and utilise it to increase your productivity.
In your study break you could read a book, draw or colour in a picture. Reading is known to make people feel more relaxed whilst still engaging your brain. 79% of people are most relaxed when reading in print.(1)

5. Take The Practice Tests.

Whether this is for an actual test like GCSE’s, SAT’s or A-Levels, try and find existing test papers of old exams. It can help you become familiar with how the information may be presented on the real test day and give you an insight on the instructors testing style if they are the same.(2) Likewise, if you are writing an essay or dissertation, give yourself enough time to create a draft essay for you and your peers to critique. Reading a body of text will help you to identify if your subject topics are linking correctly and what may need changing or improving.

With current events making public studying even more difficult and the potential for another lock-down looming, studying from home has become a temporary way of life. But studying at home doesn’t make it any easier.

6. Create A Timetable And Stick To It!

When studying from home, your routine can quickly go out the window. Distractions at home that you would not ordinarily get from being at school, college or university can divert you from studying. Therefore, create a timetable and stick to it. Use the Love Paper weekly planner to get started. Creating a timetable helps to organize your time and is especially useful when you have multiple subjects to study. Write your schedule down on paper so you can remember it and refer to it often. Set yourself reasonable time slots for studying each day and designate your breaks accordingly.(3)

7. Put Down The Phone!

One of the main problems of studying at home is the ease and freedom of using electronic devices like your phone, without anyone telling you off. It’s far too easy to become distracted by text messages and social media less than 2 seconds away. Having self-discipline is needed if you are going to curb the habit of checking your phone. You might want to give your phone to a family member or keep it out of reach whilst you study. When the phone is away, create a To-Do List for the day, so you know what needs to be completed before you can use your phone again.

Did you know that 45% of people believe that they spend too much time on their electronic devices and a further 48% are concerned the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health.(4)

8. Have A Designated Study Area, But Don’t Be Afraid To Change Up The Scenery.

Having a designated study area when studying at home can help to boost productivity and keep you organised. Whether it’s the kitchen table or the desk in your bedroom, create an area to study that is a designated study zone. Try not to work on your bed as that can reduce productivity and make you feel restless when you do decide to go to sleep, as your workspace and relaxation space are the same.

If you’re stuck in a rut or are not able to concentrate in your designated study area, a change of scenery can impact learning and concentration abilities in a positive way. Going to a different room to study, to a local coffee shop (if it’s open) or even studying outdoors can increase both your concentration and retention levels.(2)

With all these great tips, you should have a head start when it comes to studying, whether that be at your school, college, university or even your home. The Love Paper Studying resources contains a Monthly Goals sheet, a Weekly Planner, a Goals For The Week sheet and a To-Do List to help keep you focused and organised.

1. Two Sides Consumer Survey, 2015
2. The Best Colleges
3. Oxford Learning
4. Two Sides Busting The Myths Report, 2019