How to Make Studying Effective and Fun
Everyone knows that studying is an integral part of going back to school and being successful. But we all know that it can sometimes be both a chore and a bore. Many people give themselves excuses not to study and figure out plenty of ways to procrastinate, due to their waning attention spans. Doctors and researchers have used that knowledge to help companies create ways to learn in effective yet fun ways that hold attention and make people forget they’re studying. Think about incorporating some of the ideas below the next time you hear that nagging “why do I have to study?” voice.
Studying isn’t the most exciting thing you can do with your time. We all know that. But somehow, we always find time to turn on the tube, hang out with friends or play a game or two. Use this tactic to make yourself smarter and to hone your skills. Companies are following suit by creating brain-training games that sharpen skills ranging from reading comprehension to writing more concisely to spelling and math skills. Games like Elevate, Lumosity and Fitbrains are at the top of the list of most popular and written-about training apps, but when it comes down to studying for YOUR big exam or for a topic that doesn’t come as easily to you, turn subject matter learning into fun. For example, instead of trying to cram a bunch of accounting topics in your head by reading and highlighting a textbook, go back to kindergarten and make a matching game out of it: two columns—topics to be studied in the left hand column and their definitions or concepts on the right.
There are many kinds of learning preferences. Some people learn better by doing, which would be called kinesthetic learning while some people are auditory learners – people who learn by listening. Using audio books or textbooks on devices like iPads and iPhones can possibly increase efficient use of time and to help absorb information. In essence, listening may act as a “lecture-on-the-go,” where you can hear key concepts or definitions while going about your daily activities. You may be able to glean pertinent information in a passive way, so learning may not feel like such a chore.
Don’t neglect your studies to hang out with friends, but there are opportunities to learn in a social manner. Dinner and drinks may be what you’re really craving, but dinner, drinks and studying are what you really need to do. Form study groups with other classmates, but not just any classmates – the ones you admire; the ones who seem to know the subject material you don’t. If Annie is a math whiz but math is your worst subject, invite Annie over to break down concepts. The other good thing about social learning is that it’s reciprocal: Annie may be teaching you concepts, but she is also solidifying the knowledge herself since she has to explain it to you. And in turn, you can help Annie with your best subject.
If you’re an active person, it might pain you to think about staying in (or even going outside) to study. The best remedy for cabin fever? Getting out into the world and doing something. But running a mile or going to the gym don’t have to be all that you do. You can use the time to call upon study aids while being active. Working out has many benefits on learning. One of them is being able to reverse the effect of stress, which you will undoubtedly feel when you’re in school. It also increases levels of the brain chemicals that, essentially, help to lift your mood like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, and can reduce symptoms of depression as effectively as antidepressants. Those are all great benefits, but exercising and physicality also help to improve learning since the brain has to go to extra lengths to think about coordination. Other benefits? The workout will build confidence due to all of the brain-boosting feelings you’re sure to get, which may, in turn, translate to confidence in the classroom.
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