If you said education is primarily about getting straight A’s, many people would disagree with you. But most people want to get good grades and not merely scrape through exams in their online college. That is because scores reflect how academically smart you are.
We all only have 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. Having to combine study with work, friends, family, sleep, commute, eat, and play can be stressful. So, how can we find balance?
As grades matter a lot, it is essential to learn how to learn while juggling life matters. Here are our top 10 ways we highly encourage you to try.
Many studies have concluded that multitasking makes you distracted and less productive. Top students stay focused on one thing at a time. They do not check and reply to messages and tweets, nor binge on Netflix intermittently.
To improve focus, you can:
- Silent notifications on your phone,
- Put your phone, games, and TV in another room
- Keep your study table clean from clutter
Learn the same thing in different ways
Each of us has unique ways of learning. Some methods tend to be more stimulating than others. The more excited our brain gets, the more likely we will understand and retain knowledge. Some of the options we have are to:
- Create a mind map for a topic
- Read the textbook and reference materials
- Discuss with someone what you have learned
- Practice by solving problems.
Revise subjects periodically
Numerous studies have shown the importance of revising your lectures after as early as 30 minutes to retain information learned.
Revising can be as simple as going through your notes, highlighting important points, and jotting down further reading.
A fantastic piece of advice is not to cramp revision to a single session, resulting in information overload and confusion. Instead, space out revision by a few days at a time.
Take hand-written notes
Scientists have proven that when you take notes by hand, you automatically process and reframe the information.
Compare this with taking notes on your laptop or tablet as you would need to perform an additional task of looking for the correct letters. Let alone the distractions like autocorrect and incoming messages while learning.
Simplify the information
Acronyms, flow charts and rewriting information in your own words help you retain knowledge in a way that is understood by you.
Break down information in bite-size pieces to improve comprehension and memory. A great way to promote understanding is your ability to summarize and conclude big chunks of data.
Address your worries
By writing down your worries and fear, you address your concerns, which triggers you to find solutions and prevent you from being distracted by negative thoughts.
This method works well with chronic worriers, as it makes them more proactive.
Discuss with friends
Talking to others about what you have learned allows everyone to share their comprehension of the topic and what they missed.
You can take this further by reframing the topic in a story format with your favorite characters. Your ability to take a dry subject and give it ‘life’ will change how you learn new things.
Take regular breaks & sleep well
Most of us can only stay focused for up to 40 minutes. Taking breaks improves focus, productivity, and retention. So, take a five- or 10-minute break every 40 minutes by stretching, praying, meditating, or even a short walk.
Remember, break time is not social media time as devices do not allow you to relax fully.
Getting enough continuous sleep cannot be understated. Seven to eight hours at night may sound like a luxury to many, but that is the amount required for your body to relax, recharge and rebuild. As a result, your ability to focus and remember will improve drastically.
Drink water & eat well
Staying hydrated on a busy college day can be challenging. Dehydration is bad news for your brain and body. Studies have listed multiple ailments that are caused by dehydration.
The solution? Drink at least eight glasses of water every day. You can start with a glass of water immediately upon waking up and progress through the day. Increase your fluid intake whenever you workout.
You could keep a water bottle with you wherever you go and keep track of your fluid consumption.
Eat more foods rich with choline like eggs (especially the yolk), broccoli, cabbage, lentils, almond, and cauliflower.
Also, note that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are great for brain function like concentration. You will find food like sardines, mackerel, salmon, flaxseed, walnut, and pumpkin seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Work out at least 30 minutes three times a week, and you would have done your brain and body a massive favor!
Exercise can help you reduce stress, sleep better, improve your mood, brain function, and memory.
Therefore, you can combine study techniques with daily life routines to fully optimize your learning experience. The tips above are especially critical for online college students as the convenience of studying from home may dilute the on-campus student life pressure.