This is a guest post by Aris Grigoriou, a Student Recruitment Manager for Study Medicine Europe, a medical student recruitment business that secures placement for prospective students of medicine and veterinary studies from all over the world into affordable universities in Europe.
Studying for long lengths of time can be very difficult.
Whether you are a high school student studying to get your high school diploma, a college student studying for your final exams, or a post-graduate student studying to get a higher qualification to advance your career, studying can be challenging.
That is where learning the skills to study more effectively early on can be really beneficial.
Did you know that our brains find it hard to process new information after a 90 minute window?
That is why when studying it is crucial to take regular breaks. The optimum period of time to study for is actually in a 30 minute block, then pausing for a five minute break, before resuming your studies once again.
Do you need to revise three major topics today to keep on schedule with your study plan? Are you finding it difficult to concentrate?
One of the ways to make the most of studying is to incentivize it. Turning studying into a game rather than a job can really help.
For example, if you are an avid television viewer, promise yourself an episode of your favorite show to be watched later that night, per topic you have studied. That way if you cover your initial three topics that you aimed to cover that day, you can watch three episodes of your favorite shows.
Flip flashcards can be very useful as a study aid. Using them effectively and making a game out of them can work by shouting out ‘CORRECT’ each time you get a correct answer. This will boost your self-esteem around how productive you are actually being while also stimulating your brain to pay attention.
Another way to stimulate your brain is to chew gum while you study. The idea behind it is to chew gum again during your exam and it may help jog your memory back to when you were initially revising a particular topic.
What is the science behind this? Well chewing gum is known to increase your heart rate and your blood pressure sending more blood to your brain and improving your memory as a result.
Where you study can be just as important as how you study.
You need to be aware of your physical space and any distractions within that space to optimize your study time.
Designate a specific spot as your study space, this might be at a desk in your bedroom, or sitting at a particular seat in your college library. Turn off all of your mobile devices when studying. SMS messages, phone calls, IMs, emails and social media alerts are highly distracting.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Proper nutrition has an impact on your study, as does sleep.
Eat nutritious foods that have been proven to aid with concentration and memory. Examples of these foods include fish, nuts, seeds and yogurts. If you snack while studying, move away from junk food and choose blueberries instead. They can help with preventing memory loss, as well as assist with your capacity for learning.
If you feel sleepy while studying take a 20 to 30 minute nap to refresh yourself, then get back to your study. Do not nap for longer than 30 minutes as you will have a higher risk of falling into deep sleep. If this happens, you will feel groggy and even more tired when you wake up.
Related: How Napping Increases Productivity
For an illustrated look at the best ways to develop your study skills, have a look at this infographic created by Study Medicine Europe.