Six Fun Ways To Study
Now, now, don’t tune us out just yet. We’re talking about making study time easier to digest. We’ll stop short of saying that it’s possible to make studying your preferred recreational activity, but we do believe that you can create a study environment and enact certain routines that make it something you look forward to instead of something to despise. How? Well, quite frankly, it’s not easy, because our first instinct is usually to crack open the book and wish we were doing something else. To pull this off, you’ll have to get into a special mindset, and that’s where these tips can help.
One: Flash Cards
Maybe we’re just not right in the head, but condensing information into flash card form has always been a fun and interesting way to study. It gets you away from the huge wall of text and the 10-pound textbooks. In much the same way that people hold on to paper books as opposed to eBooks, you may find yourself having a better time with motivation if you’re able to set aside the computer, purchase a nice brick of index cards and start creating flash cards in short, digestible chunks. Even if you are of the digital age and prefer pixels to paper, you can still get in on the flash card fun, thanks to a website called StudyBlue.com. StudyBlue allows you to create free online flash cards that you can use in their mobile app to test yourself on key skills. Either way, try it out.
Two: Long, Smooth Underline
The “Long, Smooth Underline” is a reading technique that keeps your eyes adjusted to a line of text where you “read” all the words at once instead of just one at a time. Take your four fingers and place the tips on the page just under the line of text. Move them straight down the page, taking your eyes along for the ride. You’ll end up reading and absorbing information much more quickly than you would if reading the old-fashioned way. And again, if you’d rather deal in electronic text, then you can do the same thing with a computer screen, or you can purchase any number of speed-reading apps from the Apple or Google Play stores. Most of these apps work in similar fashion by highlighting sections of text instead of each individual word. You set the time that you have to read a certain passage, and then it’s up to you to follow the roaming highlight while grasping the meaning conveyed by each unit of words. Pretty soon, you’ll get in the habit and won’t need the electronic help for reading and comprehending.
Three: Live By The Planner
Now that we own a tablet/computer/smartphone that all speak to one another where you can sync and view the most current update on any device, planners are a lot more fun. You may still prefer to kill trees and cows. If so, that’s fine. This is still one of the most fun ways to study. (Sorry, PETA.) What’s so great about it? You get to set things up with your own organizational system. You’re the boss, the manager — and your study tasks are the employees that have to do everything you say. Seriously, the act of planning triggers the creative side of your brain as you work to set a schedule and manage tasks in a way that is most conducive to the learning outcome. I always liked to imagine I was a baseball general manager getting my team in the best possible shape to win the pennant. You can do something similar through the act of planning. Just give yourself permission to have fun with it!
Four: Stock Up
Buy some cool-looking school supplies. Something cute or funny or representative of your favorite book/movie/band. Psychologically, having a great set of ink pens or a set of 1D folders or something with the Hulk on the front of it — any of these things can get your mind in the right place to tackle the not-so-fun tasks with the right amount of gusto.
Five: Find The Right Beat
It takes a certain style of music to put you in the best possible place for studying, and it’s not necessarily the type of music that you would prefer if going to a concert or listening to the radio in your car. Classical music is often cited as being great to study by, and now that we live in the age of Pandora and iTunes Radio, you can listen to all of it that you want for free. We also like Jazz because, like Classical, it’s often without lyrics, so there’s not much to distract. And when Jazz does have lyrics, they’re usually secondary to the music, so it’s not THAT big of a distraction. Find one that works for you, but remember: if you’re jamming and singing along more than you are studying, then you’ve probably got the wrong type.
Six: Make Your Own Video
Yes, we know it may sound a little crazy and non-study related, but shooting your own YouTube video and putting it out there on the web for outside feedback is a great way of curating the content that you know, thinking about what you have to say, and realizing where your limitations still lie. When you put one of these together, it also further ingrains the use of technology into your study repertoire. Plus, it’s fun playing star and director, even if you never show the final product to anyone else. However, we recommend that you do because it’s a great way to network with other students, make friends, help others, and learn something yourself.
We know it’s tough finding fun ways to study, but when you open your mind to the possibility that you can have a good time and learn something, you’ll be in a better position to make that your new reality and learn something along the way.
[Image via OnlineDegreePrograms.com]