Let’s face it – it’s summer and you really don’t want to study at all. But you know you need to. That’s why we’re here to offer up our five best study hacks. What is a “hack” anyway? Well, we’ve shortened it from “lifehack” which Urban Dictionary says is “a tool or technique that makes some aspect of one’s life easier or more efficient.” So without further ado, this is our summer study gift to you.
Only study what you don’t already know
Sounds simple, right? But how many times have you caught yourself reviewing lecture notes or textbook chapters full of information you have already gone over several times and know by memory or prior experience? One efficient way to determine what you already know versus what you still need to work on is to take a pretest. Many textbooks contain reviews after each chapter. If one isn’t available to you, consider creating your own. Once you’ve evaluated what you still need to work on, just study that material and don’t waste valuable studying time with the additional information you’ve already learned.
Understand your learning style (or styles)
You likely already understand that people learn differently. Do you think about concepts in a more visual way and like to draw or do arts and crafts projects? Those are visual-spatial learner tendencies. Are you sensitive to sounds or have you been told you have a natural music ability? You may be a musical learner. No one fits perfectly into any one learning style, and knowing what kind of learning style you have means you can learn different concepts in multiple ways. We like the free quiz you can take offered by edutopia – it is quick to complete and shows you how you fit into each of the major learning styles. This can give you pointers for how to study more effectively for your learning styles, whether by listening to soft music in the background, studying alone or in a group or making your own diagrams and pictures to visualize concepts.
Give yourself a reward
Some people are worse about procrastinating than others, but we all do it. Knowing you need these prerequisites to get into the OTA program or that you need this degree to have a great career is a long-term goal that our human brains just can’t easily grasp. We just generally respond better to short-term rewards, which may explain the all-nighters students end up pulling. Instead of waiting until crunch time and cramming for your next test, why not offer yourself a small reward for blocks of study or when you get through a certain amount of material? Whether your reward is a trip to Starbucks or five (ok, maybe ten) minutes on Pinterest, just choose something that is motivating to you.
And we don’t just mean the exercise you get by carrying around heavy books or your laptop. A lot of research, such as articles from the National Center for Biotechnology Information found here and here, has shown that exercise helps our cognitive abilities. A half-hour jog or brisk walk just may help you absorb your study material better and more quickly. You can even load lectures or audio textbooks onto your mp3 player to review as you exercise.
Study, then sleep
Like it or not, we all need to sleep – just another reason to keep those all-nighters to a minimum. While we sleep, our brains make the connections we need for learning, and sometimes those connections are even better if we learn new material right before we go to sleep. If you don’t believe us, just look it up. You will find studies such as this, this, and this.
Now that you have five study hacks to help you study faster and smarter, learn more about becoming an OTA by contacting us today.