Studying is a crucial part of any degree program … and yet, so many things stand in the way of a successful study session. At the end of a long day, your kids will probably need help with their homework or your spouse will want to connect with you. Then there’s that really great show you’ve been meaning to watch on Hulu. Oh wait—the news is on. Can’t miss that. And did you put in some time with Candy Crush today? Before you know it, the day is gone—and so is your opportunity to study.
If this sounds a little too familiar to you, all is not lost. You just need to find the right study groove that works for you—and you might not find it using the kinds of study tips you’re used to. Sure, it helps to have a quiet, distraction-free space where you can really focus. But different study strategies—even if they seem a little off the wall—can help students find great success in their educational pursuits.
Ready to crack the books? Here are five unique study tips that may help you get back on track as you head back to school this fall.
YouTube is a treasure trove of information, whether you want to learn how to make the perfect eyeliner wing, or you want a critical exploration of whether or not the Disney princesses are feminists. But did you also know there’s a corner of YouTube where people study on camera? No; they don’t teach you how to study—they literally vlog themselves studying, sometimes with ambient noise or music in the background to help enhance the atmosphere. One popular study vlogger taped himself studying in a public reading room, complete with random passersby in the background. Next time you’re ready to have your own study session, try playing one of these videos. It’s like having a study buddy to provide inspiration, virtual support, and maybe help you feel a little less alone when you’re diving into your books.
Surely you’ve heard of the term “earworm,” often referencing a song that gets stuck in your head and just won’t budge. Research has shown that music aids in memorization, so why not put that into use during your next study session? If you can make up your own jingle about facts you want to remember or key points that could help you on a test, chances are you’ll be able to recall that jingle—and the facts you associate with it—when you need them most. Plus, songs are easy to memorize. So learning to turn your study subject into lyrics with a familiar melody can help your memorization skills, too. It’s a much better use of your brainpower than constantly recalling that gum commercial jingle. Speaking of …
Hear us out on this one. Studies have found that chewing gum while studying can boost your learning performance because it helps warm your brain by increasing blood flow and improves your focus by keeping it busy. Similarly, another study found that students who studied while aided with a particular scent—in this case, rose-scented sticks—saw an increase in learning success over students who studied scent free. The finding asserted that aroma boosted memory performance, especially when extended through the sleeping cycle. Lastly, listening to study music—and letting that same music play while you sleep—has also been found to improve academic performance. So fire up that atomizer, grab your Extra, and crank some ambient noise!
The Rock works out extremely hard, but even he has cheat days filled with pizza and pancakes. Sure, there’s a reward in being so fit, but getting to have that cheat day is the reward, too. You can use the same system to help you through your study session. For example, reward yourself with a gummy bear (or whatever your favorite candy is) after every few paragraphs or pages you read. Take little writing breaks and give yourself a sweet reward in the form of Written Kitten, which rewards you with a fun cat picture for every 100 words you write. By setting up little treats within short bursts of studying, you’re setting yourself up for success—and making your study session more efficient—because you’re not mentally exhausting yourself (and you’re treating yourself).
Setting the mood doesn’t just apply to your desk arrangement or lighting—it can apply to your studying implements, too. For example, consider having special stationery and pens, notebooks and planners, or even a vision board that helps you visualize your success and supports your study session. Maybe a protective computer case that reflects your personality or a special tumbler for your favorite study sip will help. Setting up your surroundings for a study session can go a long way toward putting you in the right mental state, but that doesn’t mean you should only focus on accessories. You should also make sure your study area is clean, smells fresh, feels inviting, and makes you want to tackle the task at hand. When your study area feels messy or cluttered or doesn’t reflect your needs, you’re less likely to feel inspired or committed to sitting down for a good book-cracking session.
Studying is definitely the key to success at WGU, no matter which degree program you’re enrolled in. And because studying is so important, we want to hear from you.
Whether you’re a current WGU student or you’re new to the fold, we want to hear your top study tips. Got a tried-and-true method for having a stellar study session? Fill out the form below to share your own unique study tips. We’d love to hear what worked for you.