Rachael Severino is a school senior at Sachem North High School in Sachem School District. She has penned short
| When beginning a new school year, it is common to promise ones self to strict study schedules, organized backpacks, and flawless work ethics. For some, this is perfectly plausible, for others, these ideas are just that, ideas; something dreamt up, but soon forgotten. Despite the reputation of being unattainable or simply impossible, solid and decent study habits should never be dismissed as such. Whether you are a high school or college student, having study skills will save you.
To begin, create a very specific atmosphere for when you are studying. If you need music when studying, make a playlist specific for that class or subject matter to help you get into the proper headspace. Drink the same drink (coffee, tea, juice) every time you sit down to review. Have a candle to always light during revision. Repeating these behaviors when you are trying to study should help you recall information with speed and efficiency.
Consider creating a study schedule. You must carve out time to work. Know what days are your busiest (work, activities) and try to avoid piling on anything else. Instead, sit down on quieter days.
Before your study session, make sure you are equipped with the proper tools to keep your brain operating at 100%. Have a water, even if you love to drink coffee when working. The water will keep you hydrated and focused. Provide yourself an apple or granola bar to keep yourself awake and alert.
Now on to the actual studying.
For starters, vocabulary. Any time there is vocabulary you are responsible for knowing, make flash cards. You can buy cheap index cards from Staples, cut out pieces of paper, or download an app like Quizlet to help you not only memorize but actually learn key words.
Second, you must learn to read more effectively. When studying for a big test, you will likely be taking in a lot of information. To maximize your time, look for the goal of what you are reading. Seek out the thesis of the paper you are reviewing and make note of it. Throughout, you should look for examples and facts that will back up and reinforce the thesis. Read critically; make notes in the margins. These notes need not be brilliant, but should be there nonetheless. Leave behind your thoughts and questions, in the end, your thoughts should be expanded upon and your questions answered.
Next is in-class note taking. Many instructors will have an objective written on the board for every lesson, write that down and follow along with what they discuss or present. Take home the notes you took in class. In a separate notebook, copy down the notes again. Make the new copy organized and done with a neat hand. The act of rewriting and reworking will help hammer in the information.
Studying, when done right, can only help you. Do not stress yourself into oblivion, take breaks when you need them and keep yourself in good health while working. Set realistic goals this September and work to achieve them, as that is all anyone can ever do.