Studying Outside of the Box

     We are in the midst of chaos right now this school year. Teachers are no longer hesitant to give students constant tests and quizzes, and students are no longer relaxing in the lounge but hard at work in the library. At this hectic time of year, students often fall into a study slump where, as much as they study for upcoming assessments, students cannot seem to achieve their desired grade. This slump typically results from a student’s inability to study correctly. However, by switching up their studying routine with unique methods, students can start scoring As without stress.

     Before trying any unconventional study techniques, Katy Brown, Ursuline personal counselor, suggests starting small by breaking down the broad ideas. Brown said, “Take all of your assignments, tests to study for, etc., for the week and literally write out a schedule for each day after school and the weekend.” She explains that by condensing your time, this strategy can condense your workload and settle the overwhelming feeling of a packed schedule.

     After managing your schedule, focus on maximizing your study time by learning the information so that you feel prepared come test day. One proven way to succeed on a test is to illustrate your notes. Drawing forces your brain to process information visually, kinesthetically and semantically, so you feel fully immersed in the test material. Illustrating notes also relieves stress and adds a more enjoyable spin on notetaking.

     As studying is not an activity for having good time, we find ourselves getting bored halfway into our study session and zone out, which means we end up studying without absorbing any information. To combat monotony and disinterest, try lightening up a study session with laughter.

     By watching a funny video or listening to a humorous lecture on the assessment topic, you can increase motivation and focus on the material at hand while enjoying yourself.

     Ron Berk, PhD, a professor at John Hopkins University, uses this method of teaching “to enhance otherwise dull statistical methodology by tapping into students’ multiple intelligences and learning styles in a way that forces them to think in divergent and real-life ways.”

     Once you have split up your schedule, drawn on some of your notes and enjoyed learning new material through a funny video, it is time to take a much needed “brain break.”

     “Make sure that you are taking time to build in breaks for yourself instead of trying to cram everything in the night before in one giant hours-long study session,” said Brown. “Even if it’s taking twenty minutes to watch an episode of ‘The Office’ before moving from your physics homework to your algebra, you will be much more productive than if you tried to do everything in one sitting.”

     One more unique way to maximize your studying is to utilize the gummy bear incentive. This method combines a sweet treat incentive with completing textbook pages by placing a gummy bear on each paragraph of the textbook that you need to read.

     The gummy bears add a reason for you to want to finish the reading. The delicious candy also highlights the most important parts of the reading with positivity because sometimes we need to be rewarded for our work.

     Overall, studying can be overwhelming, difficult and boring, which make it a difficult skill to master. However, the ability to study effectively is one that will carry through high school to college and even beyond, so these tips are just a few ways to enjoy your study sessions and benefit the most from them. Like my middle school teacher always said, “Studying is a skill in which you should work smarter not harder.”

Courtesy of Ursuline Academy

Send us your thoughts!