How to make the most of your study time
By James Lynch | December 03, 2019
Time is arguably one of the most valuable resources we have, so when it comes to study and spending it as effectively as we can there a few things we can do to ensure we get the most out it.
1. Plan it
Set times aside, you may be a morning person or a night owl like me. Really the key here is experimentation, work out what works for you. Once you have a handle on your preferred times and rhythms consider putting together a timetable that you can stick to and works in with your lifestyle. With these times set aside, you are now able to systematically work through your study.
At this point, I do have to acknowledge it's 2019 and things really can change at the drop of a hat so sticking to a regular timetable and system can be difficult. This is where the deadline comes in.
It’s no secret many of us out there a deadline specialist who looks forward to the adrenaline rush of pulling 2 all-nighters fuelled by strong coffee, Red Bull and chocolate, and you know what there is nothing wrong with that if it works for you! However, this is where the genius comes in, to capitalise on this personal trait, set the deadline a week or at least a few days before your work is actually due, that way not only will you set yourself up to finish on time, but you will finish on time with a few days to spare.
2. Find and create your space
Let’s be honest, you are going to be spending a lot of time in your study space so taking the time to get it set up properly is definitely worth doing. (Admittedly my favorite place is the kitchen table so unfortunately, dinner tends to be eaten on the couch in my household come exam season!).
All that said, when it comes to your study space, deciding on a place that works for you is important. Everyone is different and you need to get to know what works for you. Some people prefer to be away from the commotion of everyday life with peace and quiet whereas others don’t mind being in the mix with Netflix on in the background and the kids making a mess of the lounge room! If at this stage you are not sure, just experiment and see what works for you.
Another great tip for making your study space work is to try playing some music or pick a study playlist on Spotify. However, tread with caution here and avoid playing music directly from your phone, as your phone can be one of the biggest distractions with its constant notifications and alerts! Plus, when your procrastinating you’ll likely want to browse online shopping or check your social accounts and that won’t help you in any way or form. Remove as many distractions as you can.
3. Break and exercise
There’s a good reason the saying “A change is as good as a holiday” is as well-known as it is. Hence taking breaks when ripping into a big study session is crucial. Strategic breaks help us refresh our brains, bodies, and attitudes, and can assist us all in seeing a situation in a new way.
A “break” is a brief pause of work, physical exertion, or activity. You decide to give it a rest with the intention of getting back to your task within a small amount of time. But when you take a break, what part of your brain actually needs that rest?
Time to get our science on!
For “think-work,” it’s the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the thinking part of your brain. When we are completing goal-oriented work that requires concentration the PFC keeps you focused on your goals and tasks. The PFC is also responsible for logical thinking, executive functioning, and using self-control and discipline to override impulses. That’s a lot of responsibility—no wonder it needs a break!
Taking breaks such as exercising; going for a walk or run, meditating, or doing something creative are all great ways of letting yourself reset and get back to those exciting goals you’ve set yourself!
So, give it a rest!
4. Get a 'Study Buddy'
Usually, a good place to start when looking for this person is at home or in the classroom, but if you are doing your study online that becomes a little bit more difficult. Don’t despair if this is you, for a number of its courses Mentor has discussion boards located within the Learning Management Systems (LMS) designed specifically for current students to discuss course material, ask questions and support each other through the study and learning process.
5. Don't forget, we're here to help too...
In addition to general assistance with your studies, the Mentor Education Student Services team offers reasonable adjustment for students with special needs.
For example, if you were unable to type out your answers due to vision impairement we would be able to set up and record a live phone call or Zoom session with one of our team members who could then attach the audio file to your assessment for you.
To access these support services, visit our contact us page for further information.
6. Motivate yourself
Yeah, yeah all this sounds great and it’s all stuff that is pretty obvious!
So far I’ve gone for a walk, emailed my study buddy, rearranged my desk so that its millimetre perfect and put together a state of the art timetable NASA could use to project manage a rocket launch and really I’m no closer to knocking over my assessments.
The key here is to simply start; start small and put it into action. If you have a big assignment in front of you, get it out of your mind you are going to complete it in one night, just get a few words down, then a few more and so on. Before you know it, you’ve created some good momentum, you’ll look at your watch and hours have gone by. Even if you haven’t completed as much as you would have liked, don’t beat yourself up over it, just know you are closer to the finish to what you were a few hours ago.
Now after reading all this if you are still not quite ready to hit the books and wouldn’t mind procrastinating just a little bit more, check out this TED Talks video: Tim Urban | TED2016 - Inside the mind of a master procrastinator.