Effective, Enjoyable Studying

You've got to be kidding, right (says you)?

How can anyone make studying enjoyable? Effective, maybe..but enjoyable?

I get it..as much as people might find it hard to believe, I hate studying just as much as the next person, and so, I tend to cram. In fact, here's an idea of my study plan:

Learn something-->test coming up-->know I should be doing something-->procrastinate-->slight panic now and again-->procrastinate-->cram night before(I am amazing at cramming though!)-->do grand

So yeah, I may be ok in the end..but God how I'd love to avoid all that unnecessary stress, and actually live up to what my teachers used to say sometimes ('Doing well, but not reaching her full potential'..or the likes of that).

And ever since I started my course in college this year, I have actually been doing a little better. Having a good influence to actually make me use the library for something other than borrowing books - study - I actually spread my work out a lot better than I normally would have done. As the saying goes..

"A needle in time saves nine"

Let's avoid this, ok? Literally put the phone away or at least turn the WiFi off!

But now I want to give you some quick and easy tips to make your studying, and life (because, come on, you probably will spend a lot of time studying/knowing that you should be studying) that little bit smoother:

  • Study in the library - it's a lot harder to procrastinate in a 'study/quiet' environment
  • Listen to music while you study if it doesn't distract you - I find classical music (no words) makes studying a lot more enjoyable. But if I'm really trying to understand something/finish something up quickly, I'll turn it the radio off (Lyric FM for anyone from Ireland! Sometimes I'll look up piano/cello/general string music on YouTube, or even movie soundtracks). 
  • Move around! (Take a break every 30mins-1hour, even just wiggle your toes!  Make a cup of tea, stretch, do some quick exercises, dance to a song, have a quick chat with someone..just move from where you are for 5 minutes!) It's a long time to be sedentary, and it can't be healthy! It also really helps if you break up your study, to retain what you've just learned. Maybe even move around your house, changing setting for different parts of your study (bedroom, kitchen, quiet room, garden if it's sunny, test yourself with a family member, sit on the counter, on the floor, stretch while studying! There are so many possibilities, just make sure that they suit what you're  doing and not distracting you).
  • Really make an effort to understand what it is you're studying (even with grammar-are there any patterns? This will save time in the future). I find that actually understanding something properly makes it almost effortless to understand, especially if you revise before a test (just to make sure you remember terms etc.). This can be done by understanding it in a simpler way first, and then going into detail, by relating it to it's real-life form, and talking to someone about it. Use Google, YouTube, your teacher, books, pictures, a friend to learn from- they may all have different ways of explaining it, and you may just need to find the right one, or use a couple to create your own understanding.
  • If you're studying something important that you doubt you will remember, chew some gum, and chew the same gum when you are required to remember it again (e.g in an exam). Or make some sort of association to help you remember!
  • Make your study fun  in any way possible. If you can connect it to your life, a story, or the world around you, it'll be so much easier to remember. Or if you can make it interactive, that would also help (physically do something..say if you're studying Biology, if you're learning anatomy, touch each of your body parts as your learn them, or around where you think your organs might be. Or if you can do a quick experiment, do! I find that if something goes wrong during an experiment, I will always remember it!) Maybe watch an educational YouTube video,  or play a game online, or take a quiz connected to  it.  If studying a language, use it! Even if it's just with a friend in the same class- you'll probably both be on a similar level and will struggle the same, but also have the craic while attempting to speak in a foreign tongue.
  • If possible, make a  song/ funny story about what you're learning.(But be time-wise)
  • Once you feel that you know what you've  learned, test yourself, or ask someone to test you. Then teach someone- this will really test you, and highlight what you should focus in on.
  • Use what you've learned! If possible, bring it into conversations, or write about it. If you do that little bit more, by researching it (and knowing a little more than you're supposed to), not only will it make it more interesting and relateable, but you'll understand it (and therefore remember it) a whole lot better.

I've attatched some useful links below to get you on your way..let me know if any of my tips helped, or if you have any of your own!

Leaving and Junior Cert Biology: http://www.mrcbiology.com/

Spanish interactive t.v programme (Mi Vida Loca): http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca/ep01/