5 Tips That Supercharge Your Study Routine
No matter if you are studying for school, university, or doing an online course, the following tips can help you study more efficiently.
The rise of online courses and online learning, in general, makes it more important than ever to have a good study routine.
The online education market is estimated to almost double in size until 2025 compared to 2019, as you can read here.
Online education has many benefits. Finally, you can study on your own terms and create the learning environment that you need. This is a great chance to finally find out your own unique way of learning and how you can study in a way that best suits you.
On the other hand, if there is no actual teacher in the room with you, you have to rely on your own motivation and study skills to learn and remember things.
I have always loved learning and going to school. But being the first in my family to go to university, I had to rely on myself and find my own way through all those endless lectures, reading assignments, exams, and tests.
No one really told me how to study, but I somehow managed to find helpful tips along the way that I want to share with you in this article.
Studying and knowing how to study are two different things. And both are more important than ever.
No matter if you are a study fan like myself, or forced to study for an exam, keep on reading.
If you are ready to study, here are my tips.
1) Don’t try to understand everything the first time you hear it.
Maybe you have not been to school or university for a while. We’re all stuck at home anyways and Youtube and other platforms are filled with online courses of every sort.
No matter what you try to learn, remember that you do not have to understand everything the moment you hear or read for the first time.
You are the student taking the class and the teacher is the one teaching the class. And there is a reason for that. They have studied their topic, they have practiced their craft for years.
Trying to keep up with every word and understanding every aspect after hearing it for the first time is going to be frustrating.
Complex subjects are complex for a reason. Your brain has to think about it and work with the new information. If you follow the instructor’s or teacher’s words and are not able to remember and understand everything right away, that is okay. This is actually how it should be. Just go on.
If it wasn’t that way, you would already be able to teach the subject yourself or the class would be way too easy for you.
In my opinion, no one is ever done learning, and that is also true for learning “how to learn”.
No matter how frustrating it is at first. Get going, it is okay to not get it right away.
2) Stop checking in your mind whether or not you remembered everything.
Have you ever followed an online course and after a couple of minutes of watch time you tried to recall the information from a previous clip? Well, that is not helpful at all.
It is impossible, and not even necessary, to remember and recall a huge amount of information. When you just start with a new course or class, trust the teacher, follow along, but do not try to remember all the information at once.
And by the information I mean: definitions, formulas, rules, sayings, construction steps, etc.
This does not mean, you shouldn't be engaged. Sure, concentration and focus are key. But the point is not to stress out about everything that was said five minutes earlier.
3) Copy the teacher, make notes, write down as much as you can.
Our brains learn through several “channels”. One is through listening to an explanation or watching someone do a certain task. Other channels for our brain are reading, writing, using our hands, using other senses like smell, or using body memory.
In short, use all your senses to learn. Watch what happens, write down notes, listen to the teacher’s words, or explain it to someone else.
For exercise classes or other crafts where you use your hands, remember the following.
If you repeat a certain movement many times, then your body remembers the movement without you actually forcing it into happening.
Skills like playing the piano, painting, dancing choreography, programming, typing, and writing, are all skills that need some sort of body memory.
But a similar thing happens with your brain when you write down something with your hand repeatedly. The more often you write down a piece of specific information, a formula, a theory, etc., the more likely you are going to remember it. This applies for example to math equations, legal context, physics, chemistry, historic events, and all sorts of theoretical knowledge.
So, if you follow an online course or have to take online classes due to Covid, try to write down more. Not every word, but all the core information. Just listening is not enough, at least not for long classes and courses.
While writing this, another advantage of writing down things came to my mind. When you are writing down the essentials of a class, you have to already dissect the learned things in a way that you can prioritize and decide whether or not something is worth being written down or not.
This means you are forced to already process the information and create an overview in your mind.
4) Make notes of your notes.
If you go over your notes again on another day, e.g., when studying for a test, try to work with your notes.
Erase stuff that is no longer important to you, use colors to group things together, take a pencil, or write new notes on the side. There is no limit to your imagination here.
First, it helps you remember things better. But, secondly, it enables you to understand the structure and logic behind a topic.
This way you can dissect complex subjects and really get behind the idea of something. This will 100% make you understand and remember whatever you’re trying to learn way better.
It does not matter if you make your notes pretty or use pen and paper, iPad, or just a tissue. Use the power of structuring to understand and remember the essence of whatever you learn.
Tip: This will also make you a great teacher. Recalling information is easy, but understanding the structure of a theory in depth will give you the capability to teach it yourself.
5) Sleep over it.
We consolidate memories in our sleep. Here is one article that supports this claim.
I can recall many times in which I learned something new, I was bad at it at first and the next time I tried it, I was already better. And all this solely because I had a good night's sleep between the two sessions.
It might seem counterintuitive to do nothing to get better at something. But sleeping well really helps.
It is no secret that having enough sleep is crucial for your body to function, and that also implies your brain.
You can also use your sleeping patterns to learn more about yourself. Are you someone that can study more efficiently in the evening or the morning?
I for myself find that I am most productive in the morning. I get up and start a task right after my morning routine. This way I can finish certain tasks way faster than when I try the same thing in the afternoon. The same goes for studying for me.
These were my five tips. I hope you could take away something from it. Keep up the good work!
All in all, I highly encourage you to keep on learning new skills, even if it is tough in the beginning.
It is normal and natural to NOT understand something when you first start.
Maybe the first couple of lessons are easy, but there will be parts of your new skill that are difficult at some point. And that is how it is supposed to be.
It gets better with time. And learning can actually be a lot of fun.