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Going Back to School: Tips for Effective Study Strategies

Posted by Sandy Hopkins on 9/6/2016 to Articles

As the new school year begins, now is the time to set yourself (or your student) up for success. Here are a few study tips to help make 2016 your most successful and productive year yet. 

Diminish distractions from your study environment.  Do you frequently study at the kitchen table where family members or roommates are constantly coming and going and disrupting your concentration? Even if you live alone, the kitchen table may not be the right place to study if that means you’re looking at that pile of dirty dishes that needs to be done or your overwhelmed by the ever growing grocery list hanging on your refrigerator. 

Is there loud music playing in the background? For some that might help foster a positive studying environment, but for many, that sort of noise can interfere with your ability to focus on the task at hand. The reality is that what is distracting to one person may not be distracting to someone else, so it’s best if you can identify what distractors and then minimize them.  That might mean changing your study location, investing in a set of noise canceling headphones or turning your phone to silent and placing it in the other room.  It might take a little practice to figure out exactly what your distractions are, but once you pinpoint them, you’re well on your way to improving your study habits.

If you have the luxury of a little extra space at home, designate a space specifically for studying. And only studying.  In other words, don’t study at the kitchen table where you also eat your meals.  Don’t study in the bed where you sleep. And don’t study on the couch where you kick your feet up to watch television.  You don’t necessarily need a whole separate room (though that is ideal), but even just a corner of a room that you have set aside for studying can help your brain know when it’s time to focus and when it’s time to relax.

For example, if you have a spare corner in your bedroom, you can setup a study area that might include a traditional desk, a more comfortable reading chair – such as a bean bag chair or Comfy Sack – as well as some task lighting.  Comfy Sacks are an especially great choice because they come in a wide variety of colors, so you can find something that is not only comfortable, but also look looks good.  Additionally, you can add personal touches such as candles, a Bluetooth speaker or a white noise machine that will allow you to create the perfect environment for your specific studying needs. 

Don’t let old (bad) habits get the best of your study routine this year.  Set yourself up for success from the start this school year, and you’ll quickly see how a few changes to your routine can yield significant improvements in your academic achievements.  

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