From having to memorise mammoth-sized amounts of content to figuring out how to stop procrastinating, being a student isn’t easy. Regardless of whether you’re a part-time fine arts student or a full-time law student, staying on top of your studies is essential for success. Online resource sites such as Doksi are a great way to further your knowledge.
Here are 5 tips for acing your studies:
1. Get motivated – set SMART goals
Being able to conceptually understand why studying is valuable will help motivate you to study. If you’re simply studying because you don’t know what else to do, it is unlikely that you will have the motivation to work. Reframing the situation can help. Setting yourself goals is an effective and engaging way to stay motivated as goal achieving is rewarding and fun (hence why video games give you quests to complete – they’re addictive!).
SMART goals are:
- Specific: Vague goals such as “I want to be a creative” might sound nice, but in practice they might not get you very far. Try to turn your vague goals into concrete ones, such as “I want to be a paid photographer within two years”. This will allow you to set smaller goals which will help you obtain your larger goal.
- Measurable: This means breaking your goal into measurable components. This will allow you to see the physical manifestations of your goal come to life. For example, becoming a paid photographer may include forms of evidence such as possessing a camera, taking photos at events, having a portfolio and getting paid for your photos.
- Attainable: Ensure that your goal is realistic. This means having a think about whether you can financially afford your goal and/or have the talent or time needed to reach it. Becoming a paid photographer may require money for a camera and time to study and practice.
- Relevant: A relevant goal is one that is actually of interest to you. If you don’t really want to be a paid photographer, or a lawyer, or whatever it is that you’re studying to be, reassess your goals. Get a goal that suits your personality.
- Timely: You don’t want vague goals that might happen in ten or twenty years – you need to set a deadline so that you actually achieve your goals! Deadlines create action, so create a realistic timeline and get started.
2. Create a study schedule
At the beginning of semester, read through your course outlines and determine what content you will be required to learn. Courses will often give you guidelines on how many hours per week you should be studying. Create a study schedule around your work and life and make sure that you stick to it. Being disciplined will pay off in the long-run.
3. Take notes and review them regularly
While it’s tempting to just cruise along and wait until the week before exams to start taking notes, you’ll be much better off writing from day one of semester. Start using a note-taking system such as the Cornell system. Take notes of everything you learn and categorise them into relevant topics. After you’ve done this, re-read your notes once every week or two to improve recall.
4. Engage with the material
Unfortunately, simply taking notes and re-reading them isn’t always enough to fully understand the material. Approaching the content from unique and novel ways can help make the information more familiar, thus improving memory and recall.
This means reading related texts to further your knowledge, answering questions and solving problems related to the content, and discussing the content with others.
5. Use online resources
The internet is your friend. Study doesn’t have to be boring – there is a wealth of entertaining educational material online, from funny videos to simple worksheets.
Engage with the course content by reading articles and research reports and doing worksheet exercises. Make sure you don’t get distracted by social media by sticking to your study schedule and using a site blocklisting app.
Use these tips to help you beat procrastination once and for all. There’s no need to struggle through your studies; motivate yourself with goals and stay disciplined and you’ll smash it.