Upgrade Your Study Skills — Here’s How

By Ariana Jackson - March 27th, 2018

Perhaps it’s been awhile since you’ve taken classes, or you’re returning to school after years of being in the workforce. If so, you may feel like your study habits could use some improvement. When attending classes, especially in an online environment, it is important to cultivate the skills and find surroundings that are conducive to doing your schoolwork or studying.

Simply Get Started. When you’re afraid to fail or feel that you have many other obligations to attend to, it may be tempting to wait until the last minute to study for an exam. Try your best not to, as it only robs you of valuable time that you can use studying to succeed on exams and in your courses overall. If your tasks feel daunting or intimidating, take just 20 minutes to read some of your class material. When the 20 minutes is up, take a break or continue. Either way, at least you have started to make progress. If you need additional help with your coursework, look to tutoring for that extra push in the right direction. Tutors can provide not only subject-specific help, but they can also give you study tips.

Choose Your Space(s). One of the many advantages of being an online student is that you can study and do coursework anywhere with an internet connection. Meaning, it’s up to you to decide which places best support your ability to focus. Start by experimenting with different environments aside from your usual place, such as your dining room, a cafe, or a library. Take note of which environments feel most comfortable for you and where you are able to best concentrate on your studies. If you plan to study at home, optimize your studying space by tidying up and playing light instrumental music.

Manage Your Time & Minimize Distractions. Time management is an essential aspect of any study routine. Start by determining whether you are a morning person or a night person. After that, it may be a good idea to schedule 30- to 50-minute blocks of time to dedicate to studying during times that are most convenient for you and when you feel most mentally “sharp.” Be sure to prevent burnout by alternating work and rest.

Find a Study Partner or Group. There are many reasons behind why online students are asked to introduce themselves and participate in discussions with classmates. Getting to know your classmates offers benefits such as being able to share study notes. Try reaching out to your classmates, and ask if they want to partner or form a new study group.

Second only to attending classes, studying is the most important contributing factor to your academic success. The information and skills that you learn in your courses will eventually lead to your best use of the skills you acquire for your career.

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