1.Study difficult (or boring) subjects first.
If your chemistry problems put you to sleep, get to them first, while you are fresh. Save the subjects you enjoy for later – you’ll be more motivated to do those later on. With that chore out of the way, the rest of the day can be a breeze.
2. Find your best time to study.
Many successful people begin their day around 5 a.m. The day is quiet and peaceful. Other people come awake and alive after dark, and do their best work during the night hours. Find out which time is most productive for you and schedule your day around making that time available to study.
3. Use time between classes and activities.
Using small bits of time to review information can later save you hours. Be prepared to review notes, or have formulas or definitions on index cards ready to go over. That hour between lunch and your next class is a great time to start a reading assignment.
4. Find a regular study area.
By using a particular area to study, you train your mind and body to expect to study when you arrive at your study place. Try to avoid doing other things at your study place (playing games, eating, goofing off) so that your mind does not get mixed messages about what you are supposed to do at your study place.
5. Study where you will be alert.
In bed your body gets the signal “time to sleep” rather than “study time”. For that reason, don’t study where you sleep! Just as you train your body to be alert at your desk, you train your body to slow down near your bed. The library is a great place for learning. The lighting is perfect. The noise level is low. Materials are available. Most people can get more done in a shorter time at the library.
6. Learn to say no.
This is a time saver and a valuable life skill for everyone. Many people feel it is rude to refuse a request, but saying no can be done effectively and courteously. Others want you to succeed as a student. When you tell them that you can’t do what they ask because you are busy educating yourself, most people will understand.
7. Pay attention to your attention, don’t lose focus.
Breaks in concentration are often caused by internal interruptions. Stay on task. If you notice you are thinking of the TV show you just watched instead of the IEA problems in front of you, take a minute to reestablish your concentration.
8. Avoid noise distractions.
Avoid studying in front of the television and turn off the stereo to keep your attention on your work. Many students insist that they study better with background noise, and that may be true, but in most cases quiet is best. Schedule your study times when your living quarters are usually quiet. Quiet hours are a great time to get work done and that ‘is why we have them. Of course, there are always earplugs!
9. Am I being too hard on myself?
Take a minute and listen to the messages that you are giving yourself. Are you scolding yourself too harshly? Lighten up. Allow yourself to feel foolish and get on with the task at hand.
10. Can I do anything today that I would have to do tomorrow?
Ask yourself this question at the end of a long day. Almost always you will have enough energy to do just one more short task. If you get in the habit of working until you are done and then doing one more thing, those end-of-the-day tasks will soon add up. The overall increase in your productivity might surprise you.