Have Fun While Studying
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- Use music. Put some music that doesn't have lyrics or words. Listen to it while you study. You might find that you can do anything while doing this, especially if it's music that you find very inspiring. Skip this step if you are easily distracted by music.
- Keep snacks close. Get together some healthy snacks to nibble on as you study. Try not to have ones with lots of calories as you're not moving much while studying. Allowing yourself a little nibble every now and then helps the study time to pass more pleasantly. Also, it is often effective if you use snacks as a form of treat for yourself every time you complete a part of the work.
- Create an excellent study area. This is really important. You must feel like you "own" your little study space, whether it be a corner, a den or a whole room. Even if space is tight, you can arrange with family that a certain space is yours for study at certain hours, no matter what. Decorate your spot with favorite things like postcards, knick-knacks, figurines, notes from friends etc. Even temporary spaces can be decorated with bits and pieces you keep in a portable box. But, try not to make your study area too distracting. The less clutter in your study area, the better.
- Provide good lighting and a comfortable chair which is at the right height for the desk. Nothing makes study more difficult than feeling uncomfortable as you sit and not being able to read the work properly.
- Ensure adequate ventilation. Nothing sends a person to sleep faster than lack of air. Get fresh air into your room regularly - even in winter! Make sure it circulates, even if this means using a fan in winter to blow around warm air; this is better than stale, stagnant air.
- Have good temperature levels. Being too hot or too cold will make studying hard and you'll be tempted to crawl off to somewhere more comfortable. Turn the heating on or the cooling if you can. If you can't, then improvise and do what most students have always done to heat and cool: open or close windows & doors; use a red heat lamp at your feet (uses a lot less electricity); use a blanket; remove or put on extra layers; drink hot or cold drinks; put on a fan etc.
- Get groovy stationery & desk gear. Your supplies can encourage you to study - a pen that feels just right in your hand, paper that is so soft the pen glides over it, a bookstand that stops your book from slumping over, a row of colored highlighters begging to be used and a scented eraser that smells delicious. Think of the things that you enjoy having around you at study time and make these your little props for amusing yourself with during the study. Don't let them distract you from the study though!
- Schedule time for study, time for play. Don't look at study as a never-ending process. Give it its timeslot and devote yourself to it during this times and then reward yourself with the things you really feel like doing afterwards. Use the study time effectively, don't doodle, feel sorry for yourself or call up friends. That just stretches out the pain and increases your lack of interest. Assign the tasks to be done, do them and then forget about it and go and do the other stuff that you feel like doing.
- Look at your study from a different perspective. Maybe it's study in an area you really dislike or you just don't care about. Try to think outside the actual pages before you and put the topic into a wider perspective. Think of the sorts of careers people have using this study topic; think of how everyday problems are solved using the techniques that the study is requiring of you. This can help to enliven otherwise dull matter and can also impress a teacher if you show how this knowledge applies elsewhere in some way. It demonstrates application to the topic in spite of your reservations. And hopefully, it also helps to chase away the boredom of it.
- Realize that study is about more than the topic before you. Sure, it might not grab you the same way that a basketball game outdoors would or a TV show you're missing because of the study. All the same, you're learning coping skills. You're learning how to prioritize, how to be patient and how to deal with something you don't like or feel disinterested in. Perhaps it doesn't feel like it at the time but these are some of life's most important skills because you'll come up against the temptation to fall into boredom many times - during work, a meeting, ceremonies, even parties! You're also learning about the general way the world works and where you might best slot into it yourself. How can you be sure you do or don't want to do things in life unless you know about them first?
- Get a pet to encourage you! If you have a household friend, such as a cat or a fish, you can have them around you as you study. Purring cats provide a great source of rhythmical comfort that can ease the studying time and a fish swimming around and around can do wonders for reminding you that it's worth studying so that you can become a bigger fish in a sea of many.
- Take breaks. Frequent, short breaks are better for you and your thinking processes than infrequent, long breaks. Set an alarm on your computer or on a clock to go off every half hour and go for a stretch, get a coffee or milkshake, see what the weather's like outside. No matter how old you are, try to make your material into a game. It works so well. If you have a younger brother or sister, let them help you. Make up a song or a rap about your material. You would be surprised by how much it helps.
- If you are doing word problems in math, change the problem to make it more interesting or even a bit silly. For example: Beth has 5 apples. If she goes to the apple orchard and picks 5 times the amount of apples she already has, but drops 3 on the way home how many apples she have now? Isn't that a boring problem? You CAN make it more interesting...For example: Mr. Gidget has 5 bubbles. He goes to the magical bubble island and his friend Mr. Gadget gives him 5 times the amount of bubbles he already has. If Mr. Gidget drops 3 of the bubbles into a pit filled with needles, how many bubbles does he have? Isn't that better? If you use funny names, objects you like, or made-up places, the problem is 10 times more interesting, making it more likely that you will solve it.
- If you like music, create a short song about the general points of what you're studying. If you don't have time to make a song, search YouTube. Chances are is there will be some sort of relevant song. You might want to start with the Animaniacs. If you just sing their songs to yourself it can help you to ace that test! Be sure to print out the lyrics to the songs and make it a point to sing the song at least once a night so you'll remember it.
- Make flash cards. The best site on the internet to make flashcards on is Quizlet. When making your flashcards, always do the term in capital letters and the definition in lowercase letters. Using different handwriting, colors, and decorating your flashcards will help you remember them. Be sure that you actually USE your flashcards. Just making them won't do anything for you at all.
- Go over your notes and draw pictures. For example, If one of your notes is "Ohio produces more cheese than Wisconsin", draw some cheese and a picture of Ohio smiling and Wisconsin frowning. This works really well if you are a visual learner.
- If you are reading your textbook, use funny accents or weird voices. It is also good if you record yourself and listen to the recording at least once every night.
- Use mnemonic devices. For example, the 5 great lakes = HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior) However, make them creative so that you can easily remember them. A creative one that I have heard for remembering the eight levels of classification is Dumb King Philip Came Over From Greece Sneezing (Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species)
- Make small posters that you can hang up around you room or around your house. Decorate them and draw pictures. On the night before the test or quiz, present and explain them to your family.
- If you need to study for a spelling test, eat alphabet cereal in the morning! Have a parent or sibling read a word from your list to you. If you spell the word correctly with the cereal, you can eat it!
- Grab a friend that is goofy but can be serious and create a skit. This works especially well for social studies (you can re-enact the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, for example) and Language Arts (Enact the ending or one of the key points to whatever book you're reading. Be sure that you say exactly what the characters in the book say, even if it sounds cheesy)
- Pretend you're a teacher and create a test or quiz that you can take yourself or make your older sibling(s) and/or parent(s) take. Have a parent or older sibling that didn't take the test grade it. If you feel confident, you can grade it yourself.
- If you have to take a test on some boring book in English class, try replacing the characters in the story with characters from video games, TV shows, or characters from any other forms of media if you can. This makes the material a LOT more interesting.
- Try a change of scenery Pack up your textbook, notes and binder and try heading to your local coffee shop or library. Bonus: someone there may be able to help you with your homework!
- Just relax; Why not try getting a massage. It really works!!!
- Just try your best, don't overstress yourself and you'll do well.
- The more fun, the more worthwhile! Play math games online or play a writing game on paper!
- Things not to do during a study break:
- Check e-mails - you'll end up answering them instead.
- Check on brothers, sisters, parents etc. - you'll end up chatting and getting waylaid.
- Phoning friends - you'll chat for ages.
- Play games (video, ball, board, miniatures etc.) - you'll just get involved in them and forget to return.
- Switching on the TV - you'll end up watching it.
- If you're having a really hard time settling into a study routine, speak with someone at school or university about it who is trained in study skills; they will have a lot of tricks to help you. Also look around your study space and assess it for distractions - is there too much noise, too much clutter, too many people wandering through without warning, inadequate light, cooking smells etc? Try to find the problems that distract you and either eliminate or reduce them.
- If you are finding a subject boring because you are struggling with it, seek help from a tutor, older brother or sister, a parent, a friend or anyone you can trust to help you to learn it more easily. At college/university level, you may need to assess deeply if you have made the right choice or whether it would be better to change subjects or even courses. Don't despair - there is always help.
- Visit the library if your study is boring because you miss the presence of people around you. The general hubbub of others in the background can be a great sense of reassurance and motivation to some students. Plus, you can grab those old-fashioned things called books straight off the shelves and add your new-found knowledge to your studies!
- Healthy study snacks include raisins, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate pieces, dried cranberries, small crackers, cheese pieces, home-made cookies (in moderation!), Jello, fruit, vegetables sticks such as celery/carrot, hummus dip, homemade popcorn etc. Occasional lapses for times of severe stress (i.e., exams & essay due dates): small amounts of chocolate bars, store bought cookies, chips & slices of cake. All in moderation, of course, and regular, healthy meals must be maintained for the sake of your health.
- Every 20 minutes, take a 10 minute break.
- If you have an Exam, Don't forget to start revising plenty of time before the exam for it can lead to boredom and stress if you begin to revise 1 or 2 days before that exam.
- For music: you can get too much into it and pay more attention to the rhythm than the study. Turn it off if this is happening to you. Not everyone can tolerate music or noise while they study.
- Don't overeat to reduce stress and get adequate sleep during times of cramming, swotting etc. No need to make yourself ill - it's another of life's lessons about taking everything in your stride and coping well.
- Don't get down over study hurdles. Everyone has mental blocks, gets fed up and needs for time-out from any activity, even for a period of time. Be gentle on yourself, take a break and get yourself back together again before you give up on your studies. Also, seek assistance if you have special learning disabilities; there are excellent, trained assistants in many schools and universities on call to help out. Have faith - they're there to help you, not to tell you that you can't do it.
- Don't ever promise yourself you'll just watch one show, just listen to one song, just check one email, or "just do one" anything. You'll end up losing track of time and get hooked into the TV, Ipod, emails, or whatever it is.
- Note that if you have heavy, continuing stress, it could be time to talk to a doctor.
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