My name is Brandy and I am a recent graduate of the D’Arcy Lane Institute.  While I am an individual who tends to gravitate towards academic surroundings, I have certainly experienced my share of stress and sleepless nights while worrying about quizzes and exams. The following is a list of six simple study tips that helped me remain more focused during my time as a student.

1. Get enough sleep!  Those all night study sessions are not helping you in the long run. It is well known that sleep deprivation impairs your ability to concentrate, learn new skills and reduces your ability to think critically. This indicates that proper sleep habits are crucial to learning, so be sure to get plenty of restful sleep. For more information on the effects of sleep deprivation follow the link to a great resource from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

2. Keep yourself organized:  A good way to begin is to clear your study area of clutter and distractions. Be sure to schedule regular sessions of studying throughout your week. Have a clear goal for each study session, what you want to review, what materials you need and what you would like to achieve during that time. Being organized will not only save you time, but also help you keep on track.

3. Get some exercise: It is very easy to become overwhelmed while in a program that requires a large amount of self study. Often students can feel like they have little time for anything other than studying.  It is important to take a break. Go for a walk, a short run or perhaps play a game of your favorite sport. Not only will this help to clear your mind, it also provides your body with the physical activity it needs leaving you feeling energized and more alert.

4. Try something new:  It’s no secret we all learn differently. If you find yourself having difficulties try a new method of studying.  While copying notes to cue cards for self testing may work for your peers, it may not yield results for yourself. This is okay. In my experience schooling can often become a journey to discover how you learn best. Experiment with different studying methods until you discover what works best for you!

5. Focus on understanding the material, not memorizing it:  Often students will spend a lot of time memorizing notes and then regurgitating the material on the next test. This may yield a nice mark on your exam, but most often this information seems to disappear from memory after the testing is done.  Study by practicing and applying the information you are learning. Give the information a larger context then simply another item on a list of things to memorize. This will help you gain a larger understanding and perspective of the material and therefore help you better learn and retain the information.

6. Have a Massage!  Having a massage can help to reduce stress and muscle tension associated with long study hours and the often poor posture that accommodates it. Most people find they also get a good night’s sleep following a relaxation massage.  For more information on how a massage can help you study read 3 Ways a Massage Can Help You Get Better Grades.

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