The holidays are a time to relax and unwind, giving you a chance to refresh your mind before the start of the new academic year. If you want to step it up in January and really crush those grades, here are ten essential New Year’s resolutions to incorporate into your study habits.
How to ‘Study Smarter’ in 2022
No more cramming. Make sure you space your work out so you can have shorter and more consistent study sessions over time, rather than a long and stressful all-nighter just before a test or exam.
Commit to a schedule. A set study schedule will lead to better performance than studying at random. Plan your study schedule at the beginning of each week; write it down in a calendar, spreadsheet or journal, and stick to it.
Switch off your phone. Keep your phone off while you study, or set it to airplane mode. This will prevent disruptions and distractions while you work.
Spruce up your study space. Creating the right environment for your studies will make it easier to stick to your new habits. Before the school year starts, take some time to clean and de-clutter your study area. Look for ways to make your space more comfortable – this includes good lighting and a supportive chair. Remove any potential distractions from the area too.
Stay hydrated. Always keep a glass or bottle of water handy while you study. Dehydration can affect your brain function, attention span, short-term memory and mood. Drinking enough water will help your cells, tissues and organs – including your brain – to function more effectively.1
Use a ‘study plan checklist’. Set goals for each study session, so you can track your progress and notice where you might need to focus more. Make a list of your goals for a study session or assignment before you start, and mark off each item as you go. For example:
Review my notes from class
Read chapters 4 and 5 in the textbook
Answer practice questions 1 to 10
Check my answers
Join a study group. Working with a partner or a small group can help you to understand concepts and give you a better insight into what you’re studying.2 It helps to keep you on track and prevents procrastination while improving teamwork and problem-solving skills.2 It also gives you a chance to share your knowledge with others. If you’re not part of a study group, make this the year that you join one (either online or in person).
Start with the most difficult work first. If there’s a subject or section that you find particularly difficult, start with that first, because you’ll need the most mental energy to tackle it. After finishing the toughest challenge, you’ll feel accomplished and find it easier to focus on the rest of your work.
Ask for help. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for support. Make a note of any questions you have in class or while studying. Talk to your teacher, lecturer or tutor about the points you’re unsure of or struggling with.
Remember to rest. You can’t study effectively if you’re exhausted and burned out. Make sure you pace yourself, take regular breaks, and stick to a healthy sleep schedule.