How to Study Effectively at Home
Whatever exams you’re studying for, being able to effectively revise at home is an essential skill. Your school or university may have study sessions which can be very helpful, but studying at home will give you the freedom to work at your own pace and to your own hours.
If you’re studying at home and need some extra tips to focus and work more productively, read on for our advice.
Find Your Learning Style
The first place to start when you’re studying is to find your ideal learning style, so you can work out how to study to suit your preference. The most common learning styles include visual learning, where you’ll use images, mind maps, and colour coding to revise; auditory learning, where you’ll use spoken word to help you revise; and kinesthetic learning, where you’ll revise best with hands-on activities like creating revision cards, making models, or teaching someone else.
It may be that you work best with a combination of the above, or even all three. Find the best way for you to learn, understand, retain information and incorporate relevant activities into your home study.
Utilise Active Studying
When you’ve found your learning style, you should also include active study methods for your revision sessions. This means that rather than just reading a passage of text, or listening to a lecture, you routinely check in with yourself to make sure you’re understanding what you’re learning. You should ask yourself questions to check you’ve understood what you’ve just read or heard, and try to write it down in your own words. Note down any keywords or ideas that you’ve covered and connect it to the wider subject that you’re learning about.
At the end of each study session, you should write down a summary of what you’ve learnt or revised and make a note of what you will need to study or review next time.
Set Up a Dedicated Study Area
It’s vital when studying to set up a dedicated study space in your home. Ideally, you’ll be able to work at a desk with a comfortable, supportive chair. However, if this isn’t available to you, try to work at a dining table instead. You should try to avoid working on the sofa or bed, as this will not only result in you having to study in an uncomfortable posture, but you’ll probably also find it difficult to focus properly.
If you’re working at a kitchen table or something similar where you can’t leave your study tools out permanently, find an easy way of transporting and storing them when not in use, like a storage carry box. This will make it easier for you to keep everything you need to study in one place and means you can get yourself set up quickly at the beginning of each study session.
If you have space for a permanent study area at your own desk, make sure to keep it organised and tidy. Clutter will be distracting and make it hard to focus on your work. Use letter trays and a desk organiser to keep your papers and stationery in the right place and easily accessible whilst you study.
Create a Timetable that Suits You
The benefit of studying at home is that you can work during the hours when you’re most productive. Do you work best in the morning or evening? Would you prefer to get any chores out the way first, so you can focus on studying and then relax afterwards? Whatever works best for you, create a timetable for those hours and stick to it. Make sure to factor in time to take regular breaks to give you a chance to reset and process what you’ve learnt.
Keeping to a routine will help you to stay productive. Even if you’ll be dedicating the whole day to studying, get out of bed at a decent time so you can have breakfast and get dressed for the day. This will help signal to your brain that it’s time to work, rather than trying to study in your pjs.
It can be helpful to display your revision timetable somewhere prominent, as a reminder for when you need to be studying. Putting your timetable onto a glass whiteboard in your bedroom or near your study area will help you to stay on task and also remind you when you need to take a break. You can plan out your day hour by hour and also include a weekly or monthly calendar so you can tick off days as you get closer to your exam or assignment due date.
Use the Right Study Tools
Think about what you need to study effectively. Do you need revision cards? Do you want different notebooks for studying different subjects – in which case, do you need different coloured notebooks so you can differentiate easily? Do you need somewhere to file your papers, like a ring binder? Do you work best with pen and paper, or do you prefer to work on a computer?
Before you even start studying, you should think about what you might need. Having the right equipment will mean you can study much more efficiently and effectively. Consider your learning style and what you need to revise the way that works best for you. If you don’t have the right tools for what you need, you could find it a challenge to understand and retain the information.
Take Care of Your Body
It’s important to take care of your body and physical health whilst you study. It can be all too easy to fixate on studying and forget to take care of yourself, but without the right rest and fuel, you won’t be able to focus and work to your best ability.
Try to eat nutritious meals and snacks, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Snacks that are too high in sugar, like chocolate bars, could cause you to crash and lose energy, so try to stick to healthier foods. Make sure to stock up before you start studying, so you don’t have to waste time preparing food or going shopping when you’re in the midst of a revision session.
You should also try to get a good night’s sleep every night, to give your brain a chance to reset and refresh. This will allow you to not only process the information you have learnt that day, but also to wake up ready to take on more the following day. Pulling all-nighters will likely mean that you don’t retain the information you study – so try to get a full eight hours of sleep every night.
You should also make time in your study timetable for exercise and activity. It’s important to give yourself a break from working so you don’t overdo it and burn out. Try to get outside in the fresh air by going for a walk or a run. Getting your body moving will help you to feel refreshed and reenergised when it comes time to study again.
When studying, do what you can to minimise distractions. If you don’t need your phone when you’re working, put it away or turn notifications off so you won’t be tempted to pick it up. There are some apps you can download that will help you to keep focused, such as Forest, an app that will grow trees during the time that you stay focused on your work, so you can grow your own forest the longer you study for.
You should always try to focus on one task at a time. If you have chores or errands to run during the day, make sure to set separate times for them in your study timetable. Don’t watch TV or listen to a podcast whilst you’re trying to study. If you like background noise whilst you work, put on some instrumental music as this will help you focus better.
Make Time for Social Connections
You should make sure to include time for social connections with your friends, family, and classmates whilst you study. You might find it helpful to work with a study buddy, either virtually or in person, for study motivation and support. They can help to provide encouragement and also can help you to work through a subject or idea that you are struggling to understand.
You should also factor in time to spend with people when you don’t study, too. It’s important for your mental wellbeing to keep up with your social relationships, and you will also need time away from studying to allow your mind to reset. It might be that you go out to meet someone for lunch, or just have a phone call on one of your breaks for a chat.
Leitz has a range of study tools that can help you to stay focused and work efficiently and productively.
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