Study Tips: How To Study Effectively, Without Stressing Yourself Out
Organizing/Planning: Before you start with anything it is always best to think about what, why, when and how. The questions you should always ask yourself before you do anything at all ever. What are you trying to achieve, how important is it, what priority does it have in your life at the moment? What exactly is it you have to know? Best make a summary somewhere where you can tick off things as well as that's really satisfying. Figure out a rough time schedule of when to do what roughly with room for changes so you don't stress out over it.
You start with a huge mountain of information in front of you and it can get really overwhelming and hard to know where to begin. It sometimes seems to be better to get the difficult stuff out of the way in the beginning when you're still motivated but I've experienced otherwise. The most important part is to get the mountain smaller. And that means start with the easy stuff! Whatever seems most interesting to you and you feel like you already know quite well is the stuff you want to check off quickly and work yourself to more difficult. And you will see that as it gets less it won't be that hard anymore to face the hard stuff as you know you've already achieved something.
Reading: As I've found out, and I never expected this but I actually do remember things really well if I just read them. It depends on how you read tough. It is really easy to just look at the words pretending to read and obviously, nothing goes and sticks in your brain. But if you can really focus on the content and reread sentences until you've understood the content, maybe highlight important parts if you can, and look up every word you don't quite understand! Reading out loud and reading to fall asleep are quite efficient methods as well.
Writing: For some people, it is really helpful to copy everything and write it down in their own neat notes with their own structure and design. Again you should be conscious of what you're writing or it won't stick.
Listening: I had a friend in school who found out he could remember things really well from listening to them. So he recorded a voice memo on his phone for all the vocabulary we had and listened to it everywhere. On the bus, walking, or during breaks, to fall asleep. He could relax while doing it and it worked.
Watching: YouTube Videos! There are so many Videos about every topic imaginable! And that's a wonderful source for explanations if that helps you understand. Of course, YouTube is a dangerous place, you can easily get sucked into the black hole of random videos. But you just have to make deals with yourself to watch videos on the topic for half an hour and then watch one or two random videos. For example. How you watch the video is important as well of course, whether you take notes or not. Pause and re-watch to really understand.
Drawing: Some people with a visual memory need some sort of anchor to attach the words to. What helps with that is to draw lots of diagrams or visual images describing a process. Coming up with those already makes you think about the topic so that's a plus. Drawing little doodles and sketches and symbols next to plain text passages is also super helpful because you might be able to think: oh I remember, that was on that page with the cat doodle in the corner, and it might come to you. Colors help a lot too so highlight, color in and decorate away.
For memorizing specifically: Flash Cards are the method that probably everyone knows by now and for a good reason, they definitely are really effective. But there's another method that I've heard of lately that I think is quite helpful. The Attachment Method: It's when you connect something you want to memorate to something you see. You take something (preferably something you will have with you during the test like a pen or your hand) and keep thinking of the information while you're looking at it. So when you're looking at the thing you are going to remember what you need to because it's connected in your brain.
Timing: adjust to where your brain is at the moment, don't force anything. Adjust to the mindset: are you up for reading, memorizing, doing exercises? You won't always be able to do everything equally as easily. So adjust accordingly. The time of day works differently well for everyone as well. I for one work best at night, but obviously, you can't always choose it if you have other things to do.
One of the best methods to get focused is interval studying. For that you set a timer, there are apps for that as well (Focus for example) for however long you think you can concentrate and after that time's up you take a break for a certain time and then you carry on. A brilliant girl I know studies like this all day and trust me she's getting that information in her head! However much it is.
Environment: The environment you chose to study in makes a big difference in your ability to concentrate. Everyone gets affected differently by their surrounding. I Personally know now I can't concentrate when I'm with a friend. I just can't. It's not even that we keep on talking all the time, it's their simple presence that is taking up some of my consciousness. I am neither good at working at home since that's close to my bed and obviously that's never good. So I know I work best in public workspaces like libraries and coffee shops. Again, analyze your concentration and what affects it. A thing I have found really helpful is noise canceling headphones: Not only when there's a lot of noise around you but they create a calmness I really enjoy and get me into the working mode.
Music or silence: This again depends on your study type and mindset. Try out whatever works for you. Maybe classical music helps you concentrate. Or rock, pop, jazz, whatever works for you is absolutely fine. This is a simple process of trial and error. And there is absolutely no right or wrong.
Short-term memory: Always keep a piece of paper around while you're studying, where you roughly write down anything you can't remember for last minute cramming.That way you know what will be helpful to revise right before the test. So you can take it over into the exam room in your short-term memory.