Whether you plan your study sessions by the minute or find yourself pulling all-nighters the day before a deadline, we all have an individual study style.
Whatever your approach is, there are ways to supercharge your productivity. Here are our top five tips to make each study session more effective.
1. Find a good study space
Where you study is important. If you study in front of the TV or are constantly distracted by your mobile phone, you won’t find the flow you need to study efficiently.
If you’re at home, try to find a quiet space away from distractions. Or even get out of the house and visit your local library or a cosy café where you can focus. Swinburne Online Coach Vivian also suggests that you change up the venue if things aren’t working.
“Sometimes the act of changing up your study space can really clear your mind and help you refocus,” she says.
2. Break your study into small chunks
One of the most effective ways to improve your study is to study less! The Pomodoro Technique encourages you to study in short bursts, and is a really effective way of keeping you on track. Every 25 minutes you take a five minute break, which helps you to complete projects quickly without overthinking them.
If 25 minutes seems too short, you might like to try starting with 45 minutes and then a 15 minute break – make the technique work for you.
3. Tap into your motivation
When you have busy periods your stress levels can rise and it's easy to lose sight of why you began studying. Swinburne Online Teaching Coach Luke likes to remind his students to tap into their motivation.
“When you're doing an assessment you should look for ways you can link the topic to your areas of interest. When you are working on something that stimulates your interest you'll quickly discover that assessments move from ‘work that needs to be done’ to really interesting and fun,” he says.
4. Try teaching someone else what you’re learning
Nothing cements something in your brain like teaching it to someone else. As Annie Murphy Paul explains in her article The Protégé Effect, there’s now science to back this up: “students enlisted to tutor others, researchers have found, work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively.”
If you’re studying online, ask a friend or family member if they’ll make some time to meet with you. Or look for a study buddy or study group where you can teach each other what you’re learning.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Balancing study, work, family and other commitments doesn’t leave a lot of time for quiet. However, it’s when we’re at our busiest that taking a few moments to re-set is most important. Research proves that a regular mindfulness practice has many benefits including lowering stress and anxiety, improving sleep, boosting concentration and turbocharging your memory.
You don’t need to be a meditation guru to benefit from mindfulness. In his famous TED Talk ‘All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes’, Andy Puddicombe speaks about the transformative power of refreshing your mind for just ten minutes a day.
Even if you don’t have ten minutes, simply taking a minute or two to focus on your breath will help you find some calm.