Article by Justin Rich — Even though it’s summertime and the last thing on your mind right now is schoolwork, it’s never too early to start coming up with a game plan for how to kill it academically next semester. Don’t worry – this isn’t a huge, sprawling piece that’s going to take a day to read. You’ll be done in ten minutes, tops. There are many study tips and tricks that may work for you, but here are four that you should consider. And after implementing these four easy and awesome study tips we’re about to cover, you’re going to save yourself hours and hours next semester. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Tip #1) Be Realistic With Yourself
Be realistic about the time it will take to complete your degree. If you are going for a nursing degree, for example, you will have to finish the required coursework before moving on to your practicum. Each of these elements will take time out of your day, although you can limit the time requirements by getting your degree online.
Those who already have a nursing degree might also want to work towards a Master of Science in Nursing, which brings more responsibility in the workplace and, therefore, a higher level of income. Once you have a Master’s degree, you can expect to receive promotions, in addition to job opportunities at other health-related organizations.
In many cases, this advanced degree allows you to specialize in nursing administration or nursing education, so that you will only focus on the aspects of the program that you will actually use on the job. Getting an online education will give you more free time because you will not have to attend a traditional class, making it a great alternative for those who want to have time to do other things while completing school. Keep in mind, however, that you will still have to work on your courses nearly every day until they are completed. Check this site to find out more about this Master’s degree.
A lot of your success in college depends on where you’re focusing your energy and how you’re applying yourself. Of course, you want to spend the right amount of time on schoolwork or your online mba degree, but that’s a lot easier said than done when there’s parties to go to and “Call of Duty” to be played. So, be realistic with yourself from here on out.
Here’s the first question you can ask yourself. Are you realistically going to skip spending time with your friends, going to parties, watching movies, etc., to instead do something (studying) that you could ultimately care less about? No. Of course, at the same time, you definitely do need to make time in your schedule to get the boring stuff done on the academic end of things. But, instead of shutting out the fun stuff for an entire week every time there’s midterms, try to give every aspect of your life the same priority. Just make sure that there’s ample time for everything. When scheduling out your day, make time for two hours to play video games or to go out shopping, along with the two hours you need to study. If you do this for yourself, chances are you won’t dread studying as much.
Tip # 2) Make the Shift to Saving Time
In a lot of cases, studying isn’t as complicated as a lot of us think. We spend more time thinking about studying than actually doing the work itself, and that wastes a whole lot of time. 9 times out of 10, people who are “always studying and don’t have time for anything else” are just wasting too much time doing poor-quality studying. To save yourself time and to maximize your grades, you need to focus on spending shorter intervals of time doing good-quality studying. If you want to make the shift toward less time and better quality study sessions, you first need to observe exactly where you’ve been spending your study time.
To give you guys an example that doesn’t involve school, let’s say I was trying to figure out why I waste so much time during the day. Every day, before I know it, it’s 7 PM, and I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. So, for a couple of days, I observed where I was actually wasting time, and made adjustments from there. I realized I spent about three hours a day doing mindless things like updating my Netflix queue and reading about movies on the internet. I never realized I was spending a big chunk of my day doing that because it’s just something I do during “down time.” Now that I’ve realized this, I can just skip the Netflix browsing entirely (or keep it to a minimum and put a time limit on it) and I’ve got myself an extra three hours per day.
So, for school, when you actually do sit down to do work, are there any things that you’re currently doing that just seem like a waste of time? Are those group trips to the library with your friends really worth it? Do you ever actually get any work done? Or are you trying to study while you’re watching TV in your dorm room, and you realize that having the TV on slows your productivity down? Whatever it is, figure it out, and then find a way to reduce it.
Tip #3) Find a New Place to Study
Studying time should ideally be done in shorter, very-focused sessions so you don’t burn yourself out. Now that you’ve cleared up why you’re wasting so much time, look for new places where you can work uninterrupted. Maybe it’s a solo trip to the library with your phone turned off that makes you feel like you can really get down to business, or maybe it’s driving away from campus and doing the studying in your parked car that does the trick. All of this is going to depend on you.
You want to go somewhere where you feel like you can breathe. You want to feel free to let yourself be uninterrupted. A lot of times, whether it’s our friends that are constantly around us, or worrying that our parents are going to call on the phone, we feel like we can’t let ourselves be 100% focused because there’s always someone coming around the corner that wants to hang out with us or needs something from us. If you can put yourself in an isolated situation where you’re no longer worried about these commitments, then you’re on the right track, and you’ll be able to improve the quality of your studying tremendously.
Tip #4) Get Out of the “I’m Too Lazy” Routine Every Time
Even when you find a quiet place away from all of the madness to get to work, there’s one thing you still can’t escape – your own overactive mind. Let’s face it – when you’re studying a boring subject, you don’t want to be studying, so your mind will come up with whatever it can to hold you back from actually focusing and getting to work. The good news is, once you get into a groove and start doing the work, you’ll find less self-resistance. But, before that happens, you need to give yourself that extra push to get there.
It’s kind of like going to the gym. Have you ever been in one of those moods where you want to go the gym, but no matter what you do, you just can’t get yourself off the couch to physically go? I’m sure you have. But, at the same time, have you ever regretted working out after you’re done? Probably not. Once you get to the gym, it feels good when you’re in the zone. It’s the mind game you’re playing with yourself in your head that causes the issue in the first place.
So, to fix this, give yourself five minutes. Tell yourself, “OK, I’m going to focus for five full minutes and actually start this. If I still don’t feel like studying after that, then I’ll re-assess the situation. But, until then, I’m going to get five minutes of solid work done.” The funny thing is, after the five minutes are up, it’s going to be more work to shift back to lazy-mode and pick up studying at a later point in time than it would be to continue with your train of thought and keep studying. The momentum has successfully shifted in your favor. Watch it happen next time. You just won the battle!
Tip #5) Start a blog
You’ll be amazed how fun it can be to start up a blog. Before you now it you’ll get blog comments and people may even begin to subscribe by email. Plus, once you discover how to blog for money it will all become worth it and you’ll have a bit of extra cash in your pockets when you and the buds go out on the town.
Justin Rich is the author of the new book Cutting Corners: A Complete College Handbook For Getting A’s The Easy Way, which walks college students through helpful and unorthodox methods for writing papers, studying for tests, the test-taking process, dealing with annoying group projects, and everything else you can think of in school.