Studying at home has many benefits: familiar space, comfortable environment, no pressure. At the same time, with everything studying from home has to offer it is sometimes easy to procrastinate, lose track of time and get distracted, which can prevent students from accomplishing their studying goals.
There will always be numerous productivity killers, but they should not interfere with one’s academic achievements. Learning how to study at home is an ongoing process. For some students, staying productive and motivated at home comes easily, for others it may take more effort and practice. We put together a list of best practices and tips on how to study at home effectively. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all approach to studying and it depends on many factors, including student’s learning type, there are some universal rules that can be applied by most.
1. Get Enough Sleep
It may be tempting to stay up late for many reasons, however, an efficient night’s sleep is essential. It ensures that the brain is well-rested, refreshed and ready to process all of the information learned during the day and absorb new information. It is recommended for students of all ages to get at least eight hours of sleep every school night. Sleep is especially important the night before a test since it makes you more alert and improves memory abilities. It may be better to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to revise the material instead of cramming late at night.
2. Create a designated study area
It is always good to have a permanent work/study space in your home and keep it tidy and well-organized. Don’t sit on the bed or couch to study because that may make you feel lazy and compel you to lie and take a nap. Sit at a study table with a comfortable chair and your back straight. It’s best if your study area is in a quiet room with few distractions. It is also important to keep it clean at all times; every time you have to tidy up your study space do it before you start to study, so you can put more time into studying and completing your assignments.
3. Study at the right time
Again, it all depends on what type of learner and person you are (night owl or lark), but it’s crucial to find out what works the best for your type. Some research proves that there is a time for each type of brain activity:
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM is the best time of the day for test-review, problem-solving, report-writing, and math-oriented work.
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM is best for movement-oriented tasks, like filing away paperwork, doing errands, and practicing music and art.
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM is the best time of day for reading-heavy tasks like studying literature and history.
Now, of course, because some of us tend to be “morning people” and others tend to be “night people” there’s a 2-3 hour variance depending on where you fall on that spectrum.
4. Avoid distraction
Get your daily chores out of the way before starting a study session. It makes it easier to focus on the task at hand and be productive. Also, all your attention will be focused on studying instead of dreading the chores that need to be completed afterward. Browsing the Internet, watching TV or checking social media are some of the biggest productivity killers too. Try to avoid them during studying.
5. Create a schedule
It is important to take breaks just like in school. For every 50 minutes, you study, take a short 10-15 minute break to recharge. You can create a timetable to help organize your time and schedule breaks. It is especially helpful when you have multiple subjects to study. Write your schedule down so you can refer to it often and save enough time for each subject.
6. Active Studying
Whether you study on your own or with someone’s assistance, asking questions before, during and after study time not only gives you direction, but it also helps keep you on track and determine areas for improvement.
Questions to ask before you study:
- What am I going to learn?
- Is it new to me?
- What do I already know about this subject?
Questions to ask yourself during studying:
- Do I understand what I have just read?
- Can I paraphrase it?
- Do I need to take notes, or will I remember the information?
Questions to ask yourself after you study:
- What have I remembered from what I’ve just read?
- What are the takeaways?
- What do I need to review next time?
7. Watch your diet
Not only your body but your brain too needs fuel to work properly. It is hard to focus on studying when your stomach is growling. Save enough time during your day for meal breaks and don’t skip meals. Have healthy nutritious snacks while you study but try to prepare them in advance and eat only at a designated time, so you don’t spend too much time away from your work. More time away means more chances to be distracted! Don’t forget about foods that boost your brain activity (like nuts) and drink enough water during the day.
8. Physical activities
Studying can be overwhelming at times. In studying, just like in everything else, balance is very important. Make sure you balance your studying with physical activities and rest. Try making some time for short physical exercise during studying, and don’t forget about active rest and activities in your free time.
Share your thoughts about what helps you stay productive while studying at home.