[A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
Do you have any particular study habits you enjoy so much? I do. I like spending time alone and also studying in a quiet place in order to help me stay focused.
In Indonesia, we (citizens) are required to take twelve years of formal education, consisting of six years at the elementary level and 3 years each for junior and senior high school. It can also be 16 years if they decide to continue to university with a minimum of four years of education until graduation. This is actually very lagging behind compared to other countries that require their citizens to complete their studies up to a bachelor’s degree.
Every day, students spend 8-9 hours at school and the study activities are spent almost at the class. I’m sure some of the students are bored with the classroom atmosphere or the teaching systems that are less attractive to them. Teachers should hold an outing class. I’m not sure about other countries, but as I grew up, I realized that I didn’t study effectively during those 16 years of education.
Many people look at studying as a necessary task, not an enjoyment or opportunity to learn. Being in the right mindset is important in order to improve your study habits. Sometimes you can’t force yourself to be in the right mindset.
As someone who has spent 16 years in formal education, you need more effective study habits to get better grades or have an interest in learning more. You can start studying smarter with these six proven and effective study habits.
Find a good place to study
Do you have a favorite place to study or work? Mine would be a coffee shop, where can I smell coffee while studying or working.
Finding a good place to study is one of the most important elements of studying well. Look for a quiet place — someplace where you’ll be able to focus and won’t be interrupted by loud sounds.
A public library, a coffee shop, or a quiet corner of your house can all be good places to start.
Employ different study materials
Who will feel bored or sleepy when reading a textbook? Definitely me.
I can quickly finish a thousand-page storybook and still feel energized. Otherwise, if it was a textbook, I would quickly get bored. It’s a different story if I learn from Youtube videos because I’m a visual learner – I enjoy learning from watching or writing down tips from Youtube.
Make use of different materials to help your learning. Do not depend on your textbook only.
If you’re not sure of your learning style, now is a good time to figure it out. If you’re an auditory learner, try listening to podcasts or lectures on the topic. If you’re a visual learner like me, watching from video or making flashcards will likely be helpful.
Check out these proven ways of learning a new language to identify your learning style.
Overloading your brain with all information can cause congestion. So taking breaks are very crucial in between study sessions. Taking breaks will refresh your brain before absorbing new information.
Research shows that working for around 50 minutes, then giving yourself a 15-20 minutes break can lead to optimum productivity. And here are a few ways you can give yourself a break:
- Have a snack
- Clean your desk
- Take a short walk
- Listen to your favorite songs
- Play with your dogs
Checking your phone or social media as a study break has actually been linked to a decrease in performance. In fact, you will lose valuable break time if you’re busy scrolling social media. It’s really not good if you’re planning to create study habits that are beneficial for yourself.
Test and practice tests have been useful tools to help students learn and retain information. Evaluating yourself enables you to gain an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. It will enable you to know which aspect you need to work more on.
Even after being a freelance translator for years, I still need an online or offline dictionary when I find a new word or phrase. In translating documents, I often encounter specific terminology that requires a lot of research. I still always feel like I’m lacking in speaking or listening to English. Even though I’m not very good at interpreting, at least I can understand and translate according to what the speaker meant.
I still have a lot of shortcomings in listening especially if a native speaks quickly and not all words are spoken clearly. That’s why I watch western movies without subtitles or speak directly with English native speakers who visit Bali.
There are several ways you can “test” yourself and gain the same benefits. Try the following methods:
- Create flashcards
- Search for practice questions online
- Write your own questions
Take good care of yourself
Learn from my mistakes. I am not in good shape at the time of writing this article. I had a slight fever and my whole body ached. I need to take better care of my body this rainy season.
This is one of the key study habits that most people don’t manage properly. Eating healthy and getting enough sleep both affect your ability to absorb information. You should drink at least eight glasses of water, have eight hours of sleep, and eat healthy food daily.
At the end of the day, your brain is an organ in your body so take care of it by taking care of yourself. Take care of your mental wellbeing as well. Mental health is important because it helps us deal with stress, allows us to live more meaningfully, and be more productive in our work.
Because many people view studying as a task, it’s human nature to avoid it. However, if you find rewards to help reinforce what you’re doing, you may be surprised by the change you may find in your attitude over time.
If you succeed in your study, achieve your goals, or get a good grade, give yourself a real reward. You can treat yourself to some good dessert, spend an extra 30 minutes playing games, have fun with your family or friends, or get a hot cappuccino from your favorite coffee shop. The point is to find a reward that is small but real.
Telling yourself you’ll get a small reward if you complete the section you wanted to get through can be good motivation to reach your goal. Rewarding yourself with treats has been linked to better self-control and can be helpful in forming study habits.
Studying isn’t just about passing an exam. Studying is an effort to actually learn things, some of which you might actually care about. I also study blogging and I will reward myself with good food whenever I reach my weekly or monthly goals. That’s one of the study habits I formed after launching my blog. How about you? What are your study habits?