Published:  05:06 AM, 27 December 2019

Study smarter not harder

Study smarter not harder

Have you ever wondered how in the world some students always seem to get top grades while others persistently struggle? What is it exactly that these students do differently that makes them so smart? How do they study? Do they have a special study routine that accelerates their results? Just maybe they study smarter not harder, and that makes all the difference.

What if we could remove the veil and explore the process they use to get top grades? Maybe you could then copy this process of steps and integrate it into your own study routine. You could then study smarter not harder and accelerate your ability to become an effective learner.

Create an ideal study environmentAn effective study routine doesn't begin with how you study, it rather begins with where you study. The study environment you choose influences your ability to focus, to concentrate, to remember, and to persist through difficulties. A study environment that is cluttered, noisy, disruptive and uninspiring will hinder you at every step.

On the other hand, a study environment that is comfortable, organized, quiet and aesthetically pleasing will help you stay focused, motivated and inspired. Your environment therefore becomes the first key towards helping you study smarter not harder.

Set smart study goalsIn order to study smarter not harder you need to have some very clear goals in mind. Goals will of course provide direction for your study session. Their prime objective is to keep you focused on the right things and motivated to take massive action. When setting goals think of the acronym SMART. Make your goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed.

This effectively translates into the following four steps: 1) Specify exactly what you want to achieve. 2) Describe the specific actions you will take. 3) Set a realistic time frame for accomplishing these actions. 4) Outline how you will measure your progress.

Get into an ideal learning stateBefore you even begin to study, it's important to take the time to get into an ideal learning state. An ideal learning state will of course allow you to stay focused for longer. It does this because it is fueled by anticipation, motivation and desire. Now of course, the process of setting SMART goals made up the first part of this equation.

The second part of this equation requires that you get very clear about two things. First you must specify why learning this material is important, and secondly you must outline how you will benefit as a result. Answering these two questions will prime your brain for the upcoming study session.

Make learning relevantIn order to get the most from every study session, it's absolutely critical that you make what you're learning relevant and readily applicable to your life and circumstances.

To do this you must take two things under consideration. First, have a think about the knowledge you will acquire by learning this material. Secondly, consider the skills that you could potentially develop as a result of that knowledge.

The key here is to clarify exactly how this material you're learning can be applied to your situation. Doing this will immediately spark your motivation and put you into a more optimal state-of-mind.

Question everythingHaving thoroughly primed your brain for the study session, it's now time to start learning the material. And this is precisely where you need to begin to study smarter not harder.

The one key difference that separates the smartest students from the rest comes down to the questions they consistently ask themselves while learning. A smart student is driven by an insatiable curiosity to want to know more. Given this, they enter each study session with three things on their mind. 1) To clarify what it is they already know. 2) To uncover what they don't know. 3) To figure out what questions they need answered.

Take regular study breaksSome students believe that the more hours they put into their studies, the more they will learn. However, this is often not the case. To study smarter not harder actually means putting in less in order to learn more. However, this must be done in the right way, and this is of course where study breaks come into the picture.

Taking 5 minute study breaks every 25 minutes actually helps promote better assimilation of information. This works because your brain needs time to integrate and make sense of the information it is learning. It needs time to process and make relevant associations to help you understand things at a deeper level.

The writer is a life coach

---Adam Sicinski

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