Learning to study smart is one of the most important skills we all need to learn. Because it doesn’t matter whether you are in junior primary, high school or you already find yourself in your first year of university or doing a PhD, there are always ways to improve your academic performance by finding study strategies that work for you.
So why should we develop study skills?
Study smarter, not harder! By actively developing good study skills and learning strategies, you will keep your motivation high and achieve your goals more easily and more efficiently.
• Learning study skills will not only help you in school or university, but they will also help you succeed in life.
• Good study skills can increase your confidence, competence, and self-esteem. They can also reduce anxiety about tests and deadlines.
• By developing effective study skills, you may be able to cut down on the numbers of hours spent studying, leaving more time for other things in your life.
• Good study skills can improve your ability to learn and retain knowledge.
• Students who use effective study skills may feel their work and effort is more worthwhile.
Before You Study
Look at the Big Picture
Ask yourself these questions: How many exams do I have to study for? What are the dates of these exams? How much time do I think I should dedicate to each subject? What is my grade going into the exam, and what is the exam worth towards my final grade?
With the limited time that we have and especially with the short fourth term, it may seem like there is always a paper due or an exam coming up. Prioritize and plan out what needs to be done first, what needs your best effort, and what can wait.
Schedule what and when you want to study. An agenda is one of the best tools you can use to organize school life. Remember to keep in mind your prayer times and some extra time for Thikr and Dua.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Cramming is not the most effective way to study. When you start to study weeks in advance, you have more time to reach your academic goals. You also have time to ask questions about everything you do not fully understand.
Set Up a Study Area
Find an area where you can spread out your notes, your stationary, and your books. Try to find somewhere that is well-lit, comfortable, and where there is little distraction.
When You Study
Make Your Own Notes
Having beautiful notes and a perfectly highlighted textbook doesn’t matter if you do not understand the information. Don’t be afraid to get messy when scrawling out ideas on paper and connecting them in your head.
Put It in Your Own Words
Paraphrasing is a great technique to help you really understand material. Try reading over a page or paragraph of information, covering it up, then repeating the information in your own words.
Find someone who does not understand the material and teach it to them. Doing this can help you understand concepts in less time than studying by yourself.
Should I Study by Myself or in a Group?
At different points in your learning process you may find that you benefit more from studying on your own than in a group, or vice versa. The key is to know where you are getting the most from your efforts and are the least distracted.
What Material Should I Start With?
Start with the most challenging sections and move on from there. Spend only a little time quickly reviewing the material you know well.
Exams are among the most important and stressful parts of university life. Exam anxiety is a common and normal reaction. It can become problematic, however, when it is intense, persists over time, or interferes with academic performance.