Tips For Effective Self-Study

It cannot be denied that knowing how to study effectively plays an important role in our learning journey.

Tips For Effective Self-Study

In order to improve the outcome results of our studying processes, we need to have some changes on the way we study by ourselves. In this publication, you will find some useful tips and more information about studying effectively.

How to organize work

Get organized: set up study place and find you best time (Where you study is important), bring everything you need, nothing you don’t.

Pay attention in class as well as know what the expectations are for the classes.

Steer clear of distractions: Here are some suggestions to improve your concentration:

  • Turn off notifications on your phone
  • Put your phone away, or turn it to airplane mode
  • Log out of all instant messaging programs
  • Turn off the Internet access on your computer
  • Use an app like Freedom
  • Close all of your Internet browser windows that aren’t related to the assignment you’re working on
  • Clear the clutter from your study area
  • Aim to think positively when you study: focus your mind on positive outcomes and on how you can use your own individual strengths to achieve them.
  • Avoid catastrophic thinking
  • Avoid absolute thinking
  • Avoid comparing yourself with other

Make sure notes are complete (Outline and rewrite your notes: turn lessons into stories + simplify study notes.

Make a study schedule/plan that you can stick to: set alarms, wall planner, make to-do lists, set time limits (set goals (key questions: what is the problems? How to solved....): mark small challenges to keep high spirits and focus on the day-to-day and find motivations while you study.

Sit at the front of the class. Studies show that students who sit at the front tend to get higher exam scores (Rennels & Chaudhari, 1988). The average scores of students, depending on where they sat in class, are as follows (Giles, 1982):

  • Front rows: 80%
  • Middle rows: 71.6%
  • Back rows: 68.1%

Talk to teachers: ask teachers, supervisor for help, ask questions if you don’t understand.

Study in short bursts: give yourself some time to recover (take breaks and rewards).

Study in a group: collaborate with a partner who you know you work well with.

Keep healthy and balanced: Write down your worries, drink enough water, Exercise at least 3 times a week, sleep at least 8 hours a night and do not pull all-nighter and eat more healthy food.

Do not forget to learn

1. Learn the same information in variety of ways: Read the class notes, read the textbook, look up online resources, create mind maps, teach someone what you’ve learned, do practice problems from a variety of sources.

2. Study multiple subjects each day, rather than focusing on just 1 or 2 subjects but don’t multitask.

3. Review the information periodically. Instead of cramming (move information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory), for example: Review notes from class every evening.

4. Simplify, summarize, and compress the information.

5. Take notes by hand, instead of using your laptop because students who take notes by hand tend to process and reframe the information. In contrast, laptop note-takers tend to write down what the teacher says word-for-word, without first processing the information.

6. Test yourself frequently and connect that you’re learning with something you already know

7. Read key information out loud: Studies have been conducted, which demonstrate that reading information out loud helps students to learn faster than by reading silently (MacLeod CM, 2010 & Ozubko JD, 2010). What’s the reason for this? When you read information out loud, you both see and hear it. On the other hand, when you read information silently, you only see it. It isn’t practical to read every single word of every single set of notes out loud.

8. Focus on the process, not the outcome: (Standford psychologist Carol Dweck’s research shows that successful students concentrate on learning the information, not on trying to get a certain grade: focus on effort, not the end result. Focus on the process, not on achievement. Believe that they can improve- even in their weakness subjects as long as they put in the time and hard work. Embrace challenges. Define success as pushing themselves to learn something new, not as getting straight the best grade). Performance goals vs learning goals:

  • Performance Goal: are about looking intelligent and proving yourself to others.
  • Learning Goal: are mastery and growth.

Time to study?

1. Study during the day: More energy, active during the day and sleeping at night, easier to communicate with your friends or teachers, natural light is better for your eyes.

2. Study at night: Study in peace and quiet, library is near deserted, fewer distractions, increase your creative efficacy.

Text by 
Quynh Pham