I’ve covered various studying topics such as stress, revision tips and productivity, but I’ve never mentioned what I believe you shouldn’t do whilst you’re studying. Obviously, the aim of having a study session is to get as much information into your head as possible. Not doing certain things maximises the information that goes into your head and so I thought I’d share with you some things I recommend you never do when trying to study:
… Study Without Water!
No, never study without water (and I mean WATER). You must keep hydrated in order to keep you brain engaged and focused on what you’re doing. If you want to have another drink as well, such as coffee, you need to make sure you have a cup/bottle of water as well. This is because coffee etc. is not nearly as hydrating as water. Water is clean and fresh and your brain will like you a lot if you drink it!
… Watch something whilst studying!
Whereas it might sound like a great idea to watch the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy whilst revising for your American History exam (two birds one stone, am I right???), it is not. Likely you’ll be too far sucked into the world of Seattle Grace Hospital are more likely to remember the last person Meredith kissed (because who knows who that was!!), than any actual American History. If you’re studying you should focus completely on what you’re meant to be doing, not anything else. Otherwise, what’s the point? You can use watching things as a reward to do after studying! Unless you have to watch a TED talk/webinar etc. I don’t recommend watching anything until you’re done!
… Have too many distractions!
This links with the last point but this time, I’m bringin’ out the big guns! Distractions include: Social Media, Tumblr, Friends who are not studying, noisy siblings, the PlayStation, your phone and more. I know you’re thinking, how do I avoid these? Luckily, I have solutions!
For anything distracting on your computer/phone/tablet, I highly recommend the Forest app. I’ve mentioned it before. On your phone/tablet, you select the amount of time you want to study for and it grows a little tree in your phone. If you leave the app, it dies! On a computer, it’s a similar concept except you type in distracting websites and it kills the tree if you go onto them. If you’re not that disciplined, you could ask someone to take your phone for you whilst you’re studying and you could use a temporary website blocker to block distracting websites (still allowing ou access to websites you may actually need).
For dealing with distracting people around you, I highly recommend a trip to the library. You can study in there almost distraction free. You get a decent amount of space and most libraries offer free computer use/WiFi.
Listening to quiet, not too overpowering, music is fine. It has been shown to help some people study!
… Not take breaks!
It’s very important to take breaks because your brain can’t deal with too much information and you’ll become tired. You should take an at least 30 minute – 1 hour break (minimum) for every 2 hours of studying. You can’t study all the time, you need to relax too.
… Study too late at night!
I don’t know if I’m weird or not, but I love getting up early because I feel much more energised and like I have loads more time to do the things I want to do! That isn’t the point I’m trying to make here, I’m not saying we should ALL get up at the crack of dawn! I believe that you shouldn’t study too far into the evening to the point it interferes with your wake-sleep pattern. Your sleep is just as, if not more, important that your studies and in order to study well, you need adequate sleep. You see, it’s all connected! This isn’t a problem for me as I do things much earlier in the day!
You also shouldn’t cram all night! This isn’t healthy and your brain will not appreciate it and your exam performance may suffer. What you should do is revise/create revision materials of the course of the year/term/module so that you can revise near your exam without it affecting your sleep pattern!
I hope this post is useful for some of you and improves your studying experience!
Thanks for reading – what are you currently studying?