One of the most important techniques when learning how to get the most out of your study time, is to study efficiently when you have had enough rest. Rest appears to be highly over rated in society today but researchers have documented proof that adequate rest will improve the ability of the brain to function, retain and retrieve data and information necessary to students.
Another factor is studying at a time of the day when brain cells are most active and able to retain more information. Many students enjoy staying up late and sleeping late in the morning but researchers have been able to document the efficiency of setting your daily schedule to a clock – getting seven hours of sleep a night, setting the alarm to arise early in the morning, eating a good breakfast and sticking with a good meal schedule. All of these factors play into the way in which the brain will function every single day.
With full concentration on the study materials, studying at a good time of the day and getting adequate rest, students now come to the study table well ahead the ability of their peers to perform.
Developing study techniques that work really requires that the student has some good knowledge about the past techniques that did not work for them and how those might be eliminated or changed to be more productive.
Most students are interested in improving their techniques and habits to improve their grades and decrease the amount of time it takes them to achieve their goal. Students must learn what motivates them and how they learn effectively by trying different techniques and strategies. However, all students benefit from getting enough sleep, setting structured study time and fully concentrating on the information.
There are no magic techniques that will help, no pill to take and no study guide that will do the work for students. But, by learning the techniques and strategies that work best in their current situation, students are able to develop strategies that improve their ability to enter the work force, deal with stress on the job and balance work and family responsibilities. These are life skills that follow students for the remainder of their lives.
The skills that must be developed, honed and finished are:
1. Learning the value of a schedule
2. How to make every hour count
3. How to study for lecture courses vs. objective classes (such as math)
4. How to schedule your own time to improve your effectiveness but remain flexible
5. Develop strategies for specific classes that work for you.
Learning how to schedule your time and work within your time limits is something that is learned over time, with trial and error. Remember that you must be cognizant of your abilities to stick within your schedule and, if unable, must elicit the help of other students, helpers or professors to maintain your schedule.
One strategy that has been proven scientifically to help sharpen your study skills is the SQ3R program – Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review. During the survey stage the student gets an overall picture of what will be studied before getting into any detail
Many students recognize the effectiveness of using questions to guide their study habits. The questions you ask should emphasize the what, why, how, when, who and where of what is being studied. Ask these questions as the material is being read and reviewed. They help to focus the mind on the pertinent information that should be learned.
Reading should be an active process, not just running eyes over text, but mentally answering questions and integrating the information into your conscious memory.
And last, review the information that was covered. Reread any ideas that are not clear, go over notes, and be sure that you understand what you have read. This is a good time to go over notes from class and clarify any questions with fellow students that you do not understand.