How to Study Like a Champ

How to Study

Sure, you know the best way to study. Just do the assigned reading, right? Your textbook is a good place to start, but really studying in order to learn – that takes another level of focus and motivation.

Here are some smart ways to get the most out of your study time.

Choose Your Soundtrack

Music is a great way to block unwanted noises, especially if you live near a busy street. But choose wisely! The songs you listen to can affect how well you concentrate. There’s some evidence that low-level ambient sounds like rainfall can improve your focus. You can find these sounds in a quiet coffee shop. Or stream them through an online music service like Pandora or Spotify. Save your all-time favorite tracks for parties and road trips – otherwise you’ll be tempted to bounce and sing along, and that’s not good for doing homework.

Change Is Good

This article in the New York Times reveals some fascinating research into the best conditions for learning. It recommends you change your study habits often. “Instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. So does studying distinct, but related, skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing.” Much like an athlete alternates between skill, strength, and speed training, you could also switch from math to science to reading in rapid succession. Or, rather than devote two hours to reading, you could divide up your time by reading quietly, then watching a video lecture, then reading aloud. These frequent changes will stimulate your brain and improve your memory.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

You can find lots of cool tools to make studying easy. First, try Self Control. It’s the anti-distraction app that lets you set a study time and block certain websites you know will distract you. You can also download Flashcards+ to study on the go. Take a look around, experiment with different apps, and see which tools work best for you.

What other technology do you use to help you study?

Written by: Michael Mussman
Michael Mussman is Editor of Forward Thinking, the Ashford University blog.

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