Think of things ahead of time. Time management isn’t just important for studying and doing well in school, but for succeeding at anything in life. Thinking of deadlines, tests, and other events well in advance and planning around them effectively will save you several headaches in the long run.
This might mean notebooks, folders, binders, highlighters– or just some sticky notes and a clean desk. Being organized is a seriously important study habit. Keep things in order and distinguishable from one another, know where they are, and save yourself some time and energy. Sometimes being organized can even mean rewriting or making multiple copies of your notes.
Marathon, Don’t Sprint (Or Cram)
Effective studying means not cramming the night before. Studies have shown again and again that much of the real learning we do happens when we sleep, where our brain encodes information from the short-term to long-term memory. This mean you want to avoid staying up all night trying to cram for that exam at all cost, and instead space your studying out over the course of days or weeks if possible.
As the saying goes, time is precious. Learning how to figure out where you need to focus is crucial. This applies to the subjects you’re studying, meaning the areas you’re weaker in than others, but especially how you spend your time. Perhaps this means delaying that basketball game or movie, or even social events, in order to prepare for that crucial exam coming up.
Take Good (and efficient) Notes
Trying to write down what your teacher or professor says word for word is simply inefficient. It leaves you not fully paying attention to what they are saying and lagging behind, trying to catch up as you scribble furiously. Learn to pick out the most important pieces of information–take note of the crucial things you think you need to remember. Not only does this streamline your notes and provide an efficient source of information of the subject matter presented that day, but it limits your time spent writing and frees up your brain to really pay attention to what your instructor is saying.
Skim & Reread
As I’ve already mentioned, time is important. Textbooks can be extremely dense and wordy, and sometimes you only need to pick out the important information and ideas. Depending on your workload and the amount of material to study, reading every single word may not be the most efficient use of your time. But when the time does allow, start skimming through chapters before reading them–taking note of the headings, subheadings, and especially any bold words included. Doing this beforehand can help you retain more of what you read when going through the material more slowly.
Learn to Get Help
Everyone needs help at times, especially when studying. Part of getting help entails finding out what kind of help is available to you. This could be services provided by your school, your town, or a teacher or friend. Sometimes, you should get help even when you don’t think you need it. It can be surprising to find out what improvements you may need after letting another person look over your work or challenge you with a different problem.