Every serious student knows that school requires at least as much work as a full-time job. The flexibility of being a college student can be an advantage, but it can also hurt your academic performance when you don’t have a set time and place to work (as you probably would with a job). A few steps to help make school more like a job and your study time more productive.
Create a work/study schedule
In college, classes are often spaced throughout the day with breaks in between. Combined with part time jobs and extracurricular activities, it can be hard to find a block of uninterrupted time to study. One solution is to break assignments and study materials into many small sections that can be covered in short periods of time. A few weeks into the semester, you’ll have an idea of which classes will require more time and you can create a more detailed study schedule. You can find several calendars and scheduling tools online, such as ToDoIst.com or Google calendar. Scheduling tip: Reviewing your notes right after class helps retention and can make studying easier closer to test time.
Designate a work space
It’s tempting to study in front of the TV, but you’re study time will be more efficient and effective if you’re focused. To create a space that signals you’re in work mode, find a quiet area with enough space for your study materials and no distractions. The ideal study space will have a desk or table, a comfortable (but not too comfortable) chair, sufficient lighting, and some privacy. If you have roommates or a noisy dorm, go to your school’s library or the local public library. Another consideration is a white noise machine or a study music playlist for your mp3 player. Since you’ll probably use your computer while working, consider installing LeechBlock or similar plug-in that limits your time on certain sites.
You’ll likely be juggling several classes and assignments at any given time, so decide which tasks are most important before you begin work. Estimate the time needed for each task by timing yourself on a similar task and adding a little extra time to be safe. Just like with a job, you’ll sometimes have to work longer hours than you’d planned.
Finding motivation to study can be difficult, especially when the test date is far away. Creating a structured work environment, adhering to a set schedule and prioritizing will reduce stress and increase your GPA. When you enter your work/study space at the designated time, it will be like going to work. Unfortunately, you still won’t be getting paid, but you’ll graduate with more self-discipline than many other students.
This post was contributed by Andrea Moore, founder of CollegeCareerlife.net!
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