OK, so you’ve taken on a new course. Good on you! This course will change and enhance your life in more ways than you can think. But, how do you get through the course without splitting up with your partner, kicking your dog, and feeling downright useless?
Don’t panic ? It’s normal. Most students feel like this – especially at the start – but even at pressure times, like when assessments are due. So, you’re not the only one facing up to this challenge. Others have got through, and here are their Top 10 Study Habits;
- Get a Timetable. It needs to span out over the duration of your course. Put it somewhere handy so you can check it whenever you need to. Work out what needs to be done and when then write this down. Also, write down on this Timetable other things in your life that will take you away from studying; e.g., on holidays, work demands, family stuff, social stuff, sporting things, etc.
- Set up a place for study. It might be in your bedroom, or the living room, the library, or on the train. It doesn’t matter where it is, but it does matter that you have a regular spot. This will get your brain to think, ‘oh, I’m in the (insert study spot here). It must be study time’.
- Clear your study spot. Try to pack everything away so you can clear your mind of distractions. You don’t have to make it like a Dental surgery but know that every little thing that you can see while studying is a potential distraction-bomb waiting to go off… and, believe me, they’ll go off!
- Clear your mind. This one’s a bit trickier. When you enter your study spot, try to leave your emotional baggage at the door. That is, anything that is on your mind is checked while your studying; work, relationships, Netflix, etc. You can always come back to it but, for the time you’re studying, your mind is free to concentrate.
- Turn off the phone. As hard as this is, it’s another distraction that will get in your way. Even if you say ‘I’m just using it for music’ … it’s a distraction … and you know it is … so, put it away. It’ll also stop random calls & messages coming in distracting you.
- Have everything you need on hand. If you need ‘old school’ books, paper, pens, etc., then get these asap and sit down. Better still, have them tucked away in your study spot so it’s easy to access. Bottom line is, don’t use ‘oh, I’ve just got to get (whatever) as an excuse to be distracted for too long.
- How long will you study? Super students will say ‘I’m off to study for one hour’, which is a great way to ease the stress of studying. Others might even find it easier to say ‘I’m off to study for 20 mins’ and do that twice a day… with a 10 min break in between to check the phone, etc. Or, I’ll study while I’m on the bus to work. But, lock in a study time. Schedule it regularly. You’ll get a lot done, without even realising it.
- Be sure to eat well. It’s hard to concentrate on an empty tummy, right? But, eating too much yummy, shitty food can make you tired. So, find a good balance between quantity and quality. Maybe dangle the reward of dessert at the end of study time…?
- Sit well. Make sure you’re sitting – or standing – comfortably, so your legs don’t fall asleep, etc. It’s a good idea to move around a bit during your study time, so the blood keeps flowing! Just try not to let ‘sitting pains’ become a reason why you don’t want to study.
- Study with others. Getting in a study group, or just meeting up somewhere, can help make all these previous points fall into place. Hopefully, you’ll motivate each other! Or, even if it’s on a chat room, keep in touch with others. You’re sharing a common interest, so they’ll be interested in you as much as you are with them.
- Shuffle things around. When things get busy outside of study, then you can just do the minimum of study so you can do the other thing. But, it works in reverse, so be flexible enough to shuffle things around to manage demands in your life.
- Ask for help! Pretty much all students will need some help at some stage during their course. It’s a smart thing to do. It tells your Trainer that you’re keen, and they look on that favourably. Anyway, it’s their job to help students, so take advantage of this! And, it’ll help your understanding of the course matter, or scheduling, etc.