Whether in middle school, high school, or college, midterms are a pain. These 5 tips should hopefully help you break down studying into manageable bit-sized chunks.
1) Make a Study Plan
2) Make a Study Guide
3) Find Good Quality Study Locations
5) Don't neglect quality sleep
Hectic times call for meticulous planning! Whether you are in the midst of midterms or finals or just have a particularly heinous week, creating a detailed calendar can help lower your stress and make sure you get your work done.
Here are my tips to creating a realistic study schedule.
1) Overestimate the time each task will take
While it may be tempting to schedule activities, classes, and appointments back to back to back, this isn't realistic. It takes time to walk to new locations. A physics assignment that you think will take one hour could take two. A writing assignment that should take 30 minutes could take an hour. Study schedules go awry very quickly when your allotted time for a task runs out, and you are left with work still to do. Take the time you think a task will take you (let's say 1 hour) and add half that time to your estimate (in this case, 30 minutes) to create your estimated amount of time an assignment should take. So now, you will block off 90 minutes in your study schedule for that assignment. If you still don't finish, program in an hour sometime during the day to catch up on uncompleted work. The important part here is to not get too caught up on one task that you forget about the rest of the work you still need to do. If you have extra time, take a break, or start working on your next task.
2) Be flexible
Unplanned events are bound to interrupt your flawless study schedule. After you finish dealing with the unplanned, quickly correct your schedule and modify. Don't let one event completely derail you. Still leave room for breaks!
3) Allow for generous breaks
The Atlantic has a super interesting article that suggests that the ideal work-break time consists of 52 minutes working and then a 17 minute break. In my experience, this works rather well. Give or take a few minutes, schedule in an hour for chemistry. Then schedule in a specific break you want to take. Time to call a friend on the phone. Time to make a snack. Time to go get a coffee. Time to watch half a tv episode. Give your brain time to rest!
4) Go digital
For me, it's easier to be flexible and make adjustments on a digital calendar where you can move around events with the click of a button. No erasing or whiteout necessary! There's also no worry of losing your study schedule and calendar. It's always there! Just make sure you bring a charger with you.
7) Be very specific
The first picture of a calendar has a giant X through it. Why? Not only does it not leave room for breaks and isn't color coded, but it doesn't describe the task you are trying to accomplish. Instead of "Stats," write the specific assignment. I would write "Stats: Problem Set 1 #1-4." This way, I have something concrete to work towards. I am also breaking up all of my Stats work into a manageable, bite-sized chunk.
8) Prioritize smart
Assignments that are due in two weeks should (hopefully!) find some time in your study schedule; however, sometimes that's unrealistic. The tasks that are due tomorrow, should be the tasks you put first in your schedule. If need be, schedule in a short and easy-to-accomplish task first to help you gain some momentum, but don't let too much of the day go by without programming in time to do the most urgent tasks. Long-term assignments should come after.
9) Minimize distractions
Study schedules don't work if you are talking to friends in the library, Facebook stalking a friend, or listening to music with lyrics. Find a quiet place to concentrate on your work, and give yourself the chance to actually stick with your schedule.
10) Add in exercise, meals, and sleep
Most importantly, don't neglect self-care in your study schedule. Even if you can't make it to the gym, schedule in a 20 minute walk. I love to walk on the big hill outside of my library at school. It takes me 20 minutes to walk up and down it 3 times. When I come back to the library, I feel like I had the opportunity to clear my mind and refocus (walking is an awesome break idea!) Additionally, in between tasks, don't forget to eat. Your brain doesn't function at full capacity if you aren't eating and fueling your body. Finally, try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and eat three meals a day. You'll focus better. I promise.
Was this helpful? Comment below, and let me know what you think!
Sometimes life gets really overwhelming. Listed below are some of my favorite websites that allow me to take a deep breath, relax, and calm down. Some of these websites are meditative while others are silly, cute fun. In any case, I hope you can find at least one new resource for peace of mind when you feel stressed.
I love this website (you can download the app on your phone as well!) Calm allows you to pick a relaxing sound from 25 options. You can also be led through a guided meditation for 2, 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes. This is the perfect website to clear your mind and unplug for a few minutes. The calming sounds can also be used as background study music.
Music really helps calm me down, so naturally, I also love Google Play Music, previously Songza. Google Play Music creates custom playlists that are perfectly curated for your every mood. You can listen to Pop Breakup Ballads or Fun Throwbacks. You can pick a playlist based on your mood or current activity. You could be Coding, Working Out, Falling in Love, Pregaming, or Working/Study (Instrumental Music), and Google Play Music has an excellent playlist waiting just for you.
If you have 10 seconds, Calming Manatee can give you a quick pick-me-up. You summon a manatee that says something nice to you like "Your friends love you," or "Hey, you got this!" Super precious.
Happsters is one of my favorite Instagram pages. Each post has an inspirational quote to help you get through the day. Some of my recent favorites include "You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously" (Sophia Bush) and "If you aren't obsessed with your life, change it." Love it.
The Fluffington Post has very cute animal photos with a focus on cats and dogs. These pictures are guaranteed to make you smile. Presidential mouses and Snapchat Cat? YES PLEASE.
This is an online game (also available as an app) where you help a giraffe kiss other giraffes by using your mouse to make the giraffe's head longer or shorter. I love the little giraffe love hearts that pop up when they kiss. Smush smush.
This might just be a me thing, but I love seeing organized, color coded things. I love photos of perfectly organized closets with an amazing shoe collection on one side of the closet and then a stunning purse collection in display cases. I also love the more practical organizational hacks that pop up when I am viewing this Pinterest search. It gives me momentary respite.
This is another sickly-sweet animal website. The baby tigers are so delicious, and the babies with pugs make me weep.
This Instagram page is pretty new, but there are few things I love more than Drake and cake, so naturally, this page is super appealing to me. I feel instantly happier looking at a cake that says "very important very pretentious." It gives me my daily dose of sass.
Disclaimer: the popup that asks for your name scared me the first time! You can choose to give the website a fake name, but they only use your name so that when your compliments pop up, they can personalize them. For example, "Kate you are fabulous" or "K-Money you are fabulous." Your choice.