Tips on how to study

Nice spot, but switch it up on occasion

I’m always interested in study tips and techniques, so I checked out this University of St. Thomas student reporter’s take on a recent New York Times article about studying and the brain.

TommyMedia discussed the piece and asked folks from the school to add their own tips, which I’ve condensed:

  • Change study locations. Research shows that studying in the same place all the time is not as effective as moving around.
  • Study in small chunks. Do at least a little every day. Avoid cramming. It may help in the short term, but your mind forgets it more quickly than you think.
  • Study with other people. (I see this as good if you can discipline and motivate each other, but a distraction if your study buddies are too talkative.)

  • Make a connection to the class. Very important if you find the subject dry. It might be a matter of talking to the professor more or finding someone in class to study with. I always tried to figure out how I could use the information in my own life — on the job, when I read the newspaper or even as chatter at a cocktail party.
  • Study your least-favorite classes first. If you leave them till last, you’re more likely to be burned out, and your motivation will be low.
  • Change study habits early in college. The freshman year of college is when the greatest changes can occur.
  • Get tested. If your academic help center offers study assessments — such as the one offered by St. Thomas’ Academic Support Center — take one. Read up on ways to improve your study techniques.

As center Director David Moore told TommieMedia:

“We always tell people don’t just study one way. We want you to be active in the way you study,” he said. “Write things down, say things out loud, study with someone else, make some visual things, make note cards…Try something different instead of just looking in your book and reviewing your notes.”

  • I find that when I study on my couch, it's far less effective than studying at my desk or the kitchen table. Something about the comfy couch and easy access to the TV…