The Write Way<br />Study Tips for the Procrastinators, Overloaded & Scatterbrained<br />By Cal Chapman<br />
FYI:<br />It’s most likely NOT the fault of your teacher if you’re not understanding a concept. Usually, it’s a failure to concentrate on the information presented in class or provided in the textbook. If it is the teacher, commit to learning independently – books are there to be read, not to use as a foot rest.<br />
Crunch Time<br />You wake up. Despite having slept a good eight hours last night, you’re still tired. You have a big test in a few days. You don’t want to get up and study. The very thought makes you want to chuck your alarm clock out the window. Yet you’re able to perk up just fine when your buddy knocks on the door, wanting to play Call of Duty or go to the mall.<br />This little problem is what I like to call the mental preemptive maze. Studying IS exhausting. You’ve conditioned your brain so much, that it gets tired just thinking about studying now, even if you’re not truly tired. The trick to escaping this maze is to just start studying. Don’t allow yourself to ponder about the reasons why not. Don’t put it off. Just hit the books, or start writing, even if it’s nonsense. You’ll find yourself becoming alert quickly.<br />
“Reality Failure”<br />Shit happens. We all know this. At some point or other, life is going to throw curve balls at you, and according to good ol’ Murphy’s Law, it’ll probably be during a time when you already have a lot on your plate.<br />Your best bet for juggling your studies on top of these moments: learn to prioritize. What subject can you afford to study the least? Which sucky circumstances can be let go, and which ones need to be dealt with? If you answer these questions every time you get bombarded with simultaneous incidents, you’ll become a pro at handling the stressful situations with ease.<br />
I Forgot!<br />One day, a test will sneak up on you or a paper will be due, and you won’t be prepared. Maybe you forgot to write the deadline down, or maybe you just weren’t paying attention. Either way, the Big Day is tomorrow, and you’d trade one of your game controllers to be able to simply absorb the information you need through osmosis. Barring a miraculous breakthrough in science, that ain’thappenin’. Here are some handy-dandy suggestions for last-minute cram sessions:<br />Flash cards need to become your new best friend – great way of learning to summarize information<br />Don’t underestimate mnemonics. Sometimes putting the topic to music or a rhyme or alliterization is more effective than weeks of serious study.<br />
Absolutely do NOT eat carbohydrates when cramming or pulling all-nighters. They WILL make you drowsy. Eat protein. ALL protein. Steak, beef, any dark meat. It’s more effective than 6 cups of coffee, and will not give you a caffeine migraine.<br />Don’t try to memorize all the information you think will appear on the test. It’s impossible on short notice. Rather, avidly pay attention to the most important info, and once you have it mastered, devote whatever time you have left to the little things.<br />If you can, look at copies of old tests, or take practice tests online. Google is your friend. Often, the material is reused.<br />Above all – DO NOT PANIC! This will not help you. This falls back on the “learn to prioritize” principle: learn what you can in what limited amount of time you have.<br />
Procrastina-<br />It’s Thursday. The sun is bright, not a cloud in the sky. Class was cancelled for the day and you don’t have another ‘til next Monday. Your friends invited you to go to the beach for a 4-day weekend. But…you do have midterms in a week.<br />Take it from another who suffers from CSPD (College Student Procrastination Disorder): putting off studying is not a good idea, ever. There will always be another sunny day, videogames and movies to see, books to read. You only get one shot at college, really. Unless you have more money than Bill Gates. Study now, play later. My tried and true method for the fellow procrastinator:<br />
<ul><li>Write up a to-do list. I don’t care if you think lists are stupid, or you don’t WANT to. Do it. Everything you need to do, not just for the day. Then circle, or underline or whatever, the things you believe you need to do soonest. Then identify which of those you think you can do TODAY.
Start the first one. If it’s a long task, after 10 minutes, get up and stretch, or go for a walk. Whatever you do, get out of the room you’re working in for at least 5 minutes. Then come back.
Try to make it fun. If you’re writing something, pretend you’re writing it to your best friend, explaining your topic enthusiastically. If you’re reading, sing the words to the tune of a popular song.
Reward yourself. If you’ve worked consistently for 20 minutes without losing your focus, have a tasty snack, or take a short break.
You will have numerous distractions thrown at you. Don’t give in to even one. They’re like a demented, reversed version of the Energizer Bunny – they’ll keep on coming and coming. The second you give in to one, you’ll find yourself rationalizing the next ones too.
When you’ve finished the first item on the list, celebrate! Take a medium-length break to do whatever you want. Then tackle the next thing.
Continue on in this vein. Trick yourself sometimes – say, “Just one more, then I’ll take a break”, then do another after.
Finally, set a time limit for the day. Pretend it’s like a work day – you stop at 5 pm. If your brain knows you have a stopping point, it’ll work all the harder to reach it.</li></li></ul><li>Basically…<br />How well you study and your grades are your own responsibility. No one can make you improve either – it has to be YOUR choice. The thing is, this is one of the simplest issues to fix. The biggest hurdle is always the first step.<br />Be smart, choose to study.<br />
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