Let’s Talk Study Habits

Picture: pretty trees taken by me

As we round off learning month (see the rest of learning month here), and as finals season looms around the corner (sorry for the reminder), it’s important to talk about studying and study habits. I manage to put routine and productivity into my studying, making it a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable. Burnout is very real and becomes even worse as exam season rolls around, and while sadly exam season is unavoidable, you can do things that ease it like developing positive study habits and routines. Let’s talk about it…

I develop a study routine that does a few things at once. First, it creates control. Having a scheduled routine creates time. You can lay out the hours of your day, block out time to study for Class X and Class Y while also scheduling breaks in between to make time to read, take a bath, cook yourself a meal, go on a walk, or anything that makes you feel anything other than stress. The best way to be productive is to give yourself breaks. That may sound counterproductive, but Forbes did a study all about it. In workplaces, employees were found to be much more productive and much happier because they took breaks. These breaks allowed them to embrace healthy habits and take advantage of the time to do a few things they enjoy. This made them feel recharged and energized and therefore brought them to feel more motivated to do work. The same logic applies to studying. Taking study breaks (totally different from procrastinating) allows you to recharge your brain battery to continue studying and continue maintaining your sanity amongst your workload.

I like to spend my study sessions in blocks and spend a wider period of time studying than a longer period of time. What I mean by this, especially during finals season, is to start preparing at the 2-week mark before finals hits. This allows me to prevent burnout from overworking but also allows more retention. I use Notion to create and store templates with reading notes, study guides, and anything and everything that will help me study, including a schedule for what I study each day. The second you get a study guide, divide it into however many sections you have in days leading up to the exam, for example, if I get the study guide 5 days before the exam, I will divide it into five days to fill it out and study in bite-sized chunks. Of course, some classes depending on difficulty will take up more time than others, which is something you need to gauge based on your schedule.

While timing and scheduling are important to the act of studying, there are other factors that play a role that goes beyond studying content. Everyone learns differently, so I’m not focusing on specific study tips but habits that you can take on. These habits will make studying more enjoyable and allow you to do it with ease.

For example, I get in the habit of creating a space I actually enjoy studying in. Sometimes, especially with final season, my best studying comes from a place I didn’t typically study in the rest of the school year. The same space no matter how perfect it is can get boring and harder to focus in, therefore studying in a different room, a different part of your house, a different floor at the library, or a different cafe for even just an hour will add some excitement to your studying. I even use this time to create a study space that is really aesthetically pleasing, like yummy smells, pretty supplies, and delicious snacks. Do whatever you can to make the experience enjoyable. There is no rule saying studying has to be boring and unexciting, so make it exciting and fill your sessions with things that bring you joy, it’s much more motivating that way. There is no harm in romanticizing all parts of your life, even the not-so-exciting ones.

I get in the habit of turning my mindset into a finals mindset at the two-week mark I mentioned previously. This means, the weekend before I do everything humanly possible to reset and take care of myself before I get swept away in the madness. It’s important to do even the little habits that make your life better. For me, this means doing skincare, scrolling through Pinterest to gather motivation, baking sweets, prepping snacks for the week, and all of that jazz. It’s important to remember you’re a human too and deserve to have breaks and relaxation.

I hope this post gave you comfort in prepping for finals. I hope you feel ready to tackle your next exams and don’t forget to stay vibin!

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