Study Smarter, Not Harder
As a messy college student, I have undoubtedly used any available surface around me to study. This is not a good thing. As students we run into the need to cram in wherever and whenever we can, but to ensure the best retention, we need to be organized and set a study structure that will boost our productivity.
Get off your bed, and stop doing homework on the dining table. Go to your desk, find a corner in your house and use that as your study space. It has been scientifically proven that we are more productive when we designate an area specifically for work. Our brain is a master at creating connections, so when we’re in bed, we associate that space with sleeping, as we do with our dining tables and eating. When we designate a space for study, our brain switches itself and recognizes that we are in a space to work. One of the best tips I’ve received is to simply put a sticky note on the desk or on the wall that says “this is a study space.” It sounds silly, but it tricks our brains into switching on. After all, we want to study smarter, not harder.
I’ve heard the debate about wether or not we should listen to music while studying back and forth, and it is really inconclusive. Studies show that mimicking the location and environment one will be in when taking an exam yields the best results when it comes to retrieving information–fun fact, if you the same flavor of gum while studying as you do during a test, the effect is the same. There is also proof that listening to certain types of music, classical for example, helps. Personally, I do a combination of classical guitar and Coffivity, which lets you set background noise mimicking a coffee shop or busy school hall.
As a millennial I hate to admit it, but the best practice is to put the phone away. There’s apps out there that will block your phone for a set amount of time, and even lets you preplan breaks. My favorite is Forest, and it got me through my senior year in college. Tablets and laptops can be very important specially when doing research, but science tells us that taking notes by hand is the best practice when it comes to retention.
Study spaces function differently for all of us. I thrive with big headphones, music, in a coffee shop–which I am doing as I write this–but this isn’t for all. Sometimes even with the perfect environment we struggle, and that’s when we come in. With Math Tutoring Professionals we provide the extra help that a perfect study environment can provide.