If you’re an overachiever like I used to be, studying probably consumes your life. I never studied “hard” per se, but I always felt like I was doing school work. Living a life like this will minimize the amount of time you have for socializing, which is something that most college students crave over time. If you have been struggling to balance your study life and social life, there are a few simple things you can do to keep everything in check. Here are some tips to help you manage your scholastics and scho-laugh-sticks at the same time.
One of the easiest ways to balance your social life and your study life is to block your time. Set aside certain days for school and certain days for friends. That way you can fully focus on whichever one you are working with at the time. Most people will use the weekdays to study and then use the weekends for partying. You could choose to do something else, as long as your schedule works well with your friends’ schedules. I am known as a robot around work because I effectively block my work time and personal time. I get a lot more done than most people because of that. You just have to figure out a way to do the same in your own life.
If you want to be a success in school, you need to surround yourself with people who are going to respect your studying time. When you have people in your life encouraging you to succeed, you have a much better chance at doing well in all areas of your life. Don’t hang out with people who want you to constantly goof off. They aren’t going to be the ones paying your bills when you get out of school. Once you establish a good group of friends, you should have no trouble studying and socializing as needed.
When you log onto the computer for your online classes, work, or research, you may be tempted to pop onto Facebook to check your wall. In your mind, this is only going to take a few minutes of your time. In all actuality, it will probably take a good half hour or more once you start getting involved with the conversations. I had to shut down some of my social networking accounts because they were such a distraction for me. They prevented me from being efficient at work. You have to limit your internet usage to whatever you are doing at the moment. Don’t mesh the two sides of your life. If you get done with your studying early and you have time left for Farmville, by all means take it. Otherwise, you need to maintain your concentration so you can do well in your courses.
In some cases, you may be able to combine your social life and study life through a study group or some sort of event along those lines. If you have people you like to hang out with in your classes, you could invite them over for a study session and a beer afterward. This is not always easy to do because some people get carried away with the socializing, not necessarily the studying. If you think you can focus though, you should be able to get the best of both words at this point.
Think long and hard about your schedule and situation, and come up with a balance that truly works for you.
The art of memorizing information is a difficult one to master. Most people struggle to learn all of the information they need for a test because they don’t know how to memorize it effectively. If you struggle to retain information after you read it 100 times over, you may be doing something wrong. Rather than giving up as a result of this, you really need to think about improving your memorization skills so that you can take tests with confidence in the future. A little effort could go a long way in the end. Here are some tips that you should be able to use to remember information better in the future.
One Step at a Time
You can’t memorize a huge set of information all at once. It just isn’t going to happen. Instead of trying to shove as much as you can into your mind at one time, you need to break up the information into small chunks to learn one by one. If you have a set of 50 vocabulary words to learn, study 10 of them a day over the course of 5 days. That way your brain only has a little bit of info to process at one time, making easier for it to retain everything for the future. Take on sections, not chapters, if you want to memorize something successfully.
Sleep on It
Your brain processes information while you sleep, so try to study right before you go to bed if you can. That way your mind can gather all of the information you just tried to shove into it and file it away in your long term memory. You may end up with some funky dreams as a result of this, but at least you will be prepared for an upcoming test.
If you can’t study before you go to sleep, try taking a nap after you study. If you can sleep for 90 minutes after you get done trying to memorize a set of information, you should wake up with some sort of memory of the info. Look over the information once again when you get up to refresh your memory, and then you should have it in your head for a little while.
Use It or Lose It
If you don’t make an effort to use the information you are memorizing, you will have a hard time remembering it in the future. If you are learning vocabulary words, try to use them in a sentence. If you are learning about a time in history, refer to it in casual conversation. Just make an effort to work whatever it is you are learning into your daily life. This may seem a little forced, but it will help you connect the information with your real life. Then all you have to do is think about something that is familiar to you in order to remember the facts or words.
Memorization comes easier for some people than it does for others. If you struggle to retain the information you read, you may just need to take more time to learn it. You could also be struggling because you are not learning the information in the right way. If you are a visual learner, you need visual aids. If you are a kind of an audio learner, you need to hear the information, rather than reading it. Making little adjustments like this can have a significant impact on your ability to memorize things in the future. Once you get a hang of the process, you should have no trouble getting through it time after time.
Cramming is far from a good studying technique, but sometimes you don’t have another choice. Perhaps you misread the test date or you had a family emergency come up that prevented you from studying effectively. Maybe a Justin Bieber concert came to town and you had to fight a stampede of 12 year old girls just to get home. Whatever the case may be, there will probably come a time when you will have to cram for an exam. When that time comes, I hope you can put some of the tips below to good use. Here are a few ways you could go about cramming for a test you have to take in the near future.
Study and Snooze
The study and snooze method is best way to maintain the information you cram in before a test. Research suggests that taking a 90 minute nap after a study session can significantly improve a person’s chance of retaining information for a test or quiz. If you study a small chunk of information and then take a nap, you will wake up with that information still fresh in your mind. You may consider doing this all night to get in as much info as possible, but watch out for sleep deprivation. That could actually cause you to do worse on your test because you aren’t awake enough to think clearly. Try to balance the sleep and the studying enough to do well on your upcoming exam.
Prioritize the Information
You aren’t going to be able to cram a semester’s worth of information into one night. It just isn’t going to happen. Rather than focusing on the big picture, focus on the most important points in the class. Your professor probably harped on a few topics more than others, so try to start with those topics first. They are the ones that are most likely to be on the test. You can learn the little information if you have time, but you need to make sure you learn as much as you can in the little time that you have. That way you have the best chance of at least passing the test, and possibly even doing well on it. Try to figure out the most important things in the class and work on those first. Then you can worry about the other stuff if you have time.
Review in the Morning
Eventually you need to get some sleep so you can be well rested for your test in the morning. Before you go to the test though, review your study materials so the information is fresh in your mind. If you slept well right after you studied, you should still have a lot of the facts in your mind. Flip through your flashcards or glance over your textbook, just to get your mind as familiar with the information as possible. Then you will hopefully have a memory of it for your test.
Re-Study after the Test
When you get done with your exam, take the time to go back and review the information you missed. You can wait to do this when the grades are out, or you could do it right at the beginning. The fact is that your college courses are supposed to prepare you for your career. If you don’t pay attention now, you will never be able to succeed later on. Sacrifice a little time re-studying so that the information goes into your mind for good. Then you will be able to recall it when it comes up in the future.