MId-Semester Motivation

So at this time of year, it’s hard to find motivation to study. Yet, we all must do so. So here are eleven tips on how to accomplish that:

1. Figure out what time of day works best for you and study then. Are you most alert at night or in the morning?If you’re a night owl, then you won’t want to wake up at 6 a.m. to cram for a physics test. On the flip side, if you like mornings better, then you’d better stick with that. Otherwise, you’ll be sitting in front of your computer at 2 a.m. staring off into space. Papers don’t get written that way, and certainly not good ones.

2. Eat something. It is hard to learn on an empty stomach. There’s a reason the term “brain food” exists. Obviously, don’t just consume coffee, Monsters, and candy bars. It may be tempting but is not a good long term plan. The only thing that strategy will do is make your body wonder what it did wrong to deserve such punishment. Try to include a couple of food groups in your snacking. That way, you’ll balance the nutrients in your body and keep your blood sugar levels up.

3. Stay hydrated. If you don’t, you’re just making studying more difficult. It is hard enough as is… When you’re dehydrated, it’s hard to stay focused. Also, a lack of water can impair both short-term and long-term memory.

4. Change up your study location. Simply alternating the room where you study helps your brain with information retention. The brain associates what you’re studying with where you are. So if you limit yourself to only working in a dorm study room, then your brain will be limited as well. Your brain will link your biology terms to the room’s green walls. Then, when you’re sitting down to take the test in a room with white walls, your brain will draw a complete blank. Alternating your study spots forces your brain to make multiple associations, giving you more ways to recall the information later.

5. Switch up the subject. Don’t study all of the vocabulary for your Spanish test at once. The brain retains things better when you mix up what you’re studying. It would be like preparing for a track meet and doing nothing but speed drills the entire time. Talk about  tedious. Besides, your body needs strength and stretching workouts, too.

6. Don’t cram all day. Psychologists refer to this method as the Spacing Effect. Look over your math equations on Tuesday morning. Then, wait until Wednesday before studying them again. If you study something and then wait long enough to forget most of it, then your brain has to work harder to recall it later. Forgetting is actually a friend of learning. In fact, forgetting and learning are best buds. Having to relearn material helps reinforce it in your mind and improves your memory, making the studying more effective.

7. Take a break. When you find yourself reading the same paragraph over and over, take a break and come back when your mind’s fresh. Just make sure it isn’t all break.

8. Exercise. It doesn’t have to be something particularly strenuous, but anything helps. Exercising improves circulation, which increases oxygen to the brain. The more oxygen your brain receives, the more effective you’ll be at mental activities, like studying. So during a study break, take a walk, do some pushups or practice some dance moves.

9. Get rid of distractions. A major culprit is the Internet, which includes (but clearly isn’t limited to) Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger and email. Then there are other electronics such as your cell phone, iPod, television and video games. Also, people who are physically present in your study space are distracting. If your roommate’s having a  party in your room, get out of the room. Take what you need and relocate.

10. Sleep.  For starters, a lack of sleep can make a person feel awful. Philosophy exams are hard enough without adding that extra challenge. Also, sleep helps learning and memory, which is obviously important for a college student. So try to avoid the all-night study sessions. Sleep is better.

11. Manage your time and deadlines. Make sure to know and write out any and all future exams, test, essays, projects; all major assignments especially those that are of high percentage towards your grade.Meet with your professor’s one on one to discuss where you can improve your grade and know where you are in their class.




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