How to Study Smarter, not Harder!


Studying is absolutely necessary if you plan on succeeding in any educational environment! However, many of us never got a formal education on HOW to study! In fact, studying well and efficiently is an art all on its own!

Many of us study so hard and curse the process the whole time, but it doesn't have to be like that! There are ways and best practices to follow to study smarter and not harder! These tips are so helpful you might (gasp) enjoy studying!

The very first tip to start studying smarter, not harder, is to space out your studying! Cramming is often a default for many of us because procrastination did its damage and now we are stuck with far more studying than we can handle in a very short period of time. However, this is so counterproductive! Our brains can only absorb so much at once so you end up wasting a lot of time and forgetting information almost as soon as you review it! Instead of falling into this cycle, space out your studying and set times/days you will dedicate to subjects or topics you're working on. This way, you'll have so much more mental capacity to absorb information effectively so you can recall it when it's important to do so!

The second tip to study smarter is to pretend you're the teacher. Try to understand a subject or topic so well that you can explain it and teach it to someone else! Now, you don't actually have to teach anyone here but feeling comfortable enough to do so is what we're aiming at! A good practice to get to this level of knowledge on a topic would be to go over flashcards, write down notes, or create a study guide as if you were the professor. These will help you realize your proficiency quickly and give you a different perspective on your knowledge levels!

The third tip, although it was mentioned before in a previous article, is absolutely worth noting again! Multitasking actually KILLS productivity! You might think that you're studying smarter by trying to tackle more than one subject at once or overlapping sessions but it's seriously inefficient. This may mean multitasking with other distractions like TV or social media while studying, too. There have been so many studies published about the toxic idea of "power-multitasking" and showing how much it actually hurts your ability to retain information or get any work done at all!

The fourth tip to stop studying so hard is to realize that just reading material is not enough to retain it and study efficiently. Yes, this does mean that you do have to do slightly more work by taking notes or writing down important things but it really pays off in the end. Skimming through textbooks and counting that as studying is simply not enough and will leave you scrambling at the end to try and magically retain information since you didn't stimulate your brain enough while simply reading. It's been proven that writing things down several times and repeating them out loud has much higher retention rates than simply reading. Do the work ahead of time and save yourself the headache later!

The fifth and final tip is to accept that mistakes and wrong answers are welcomed! When you're studying it's easy to see your mistakes as failures and that you're clearly not studying "hard" enough. This is actually the opposite! By getting wrong answers and evaluating them, you are studying so much smarter by finding those gaps and holes in your knowledge ahead of an important test or project! Many of us have that "perfectionist" mentality that can be a major handicap when simply trying to learn! By finding these areas in need of improvement far in advance, we're saving ourselves the trouble later and thus studying smarter, not harder!

Studying doesn't have to be a dreaded task! There are so many ways to optimize the experience so it can be full of genuine learning and productive memorization! Most importantly, we still have to respect our limits and realize when we're at our end in terms of content absorption and not try to force/cram when it would just be a waste of time. Study smarter, not harder!


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