photo by Andrew Okwuosah

by Andrew Okwuosah, Digital Editor

For students, studying is something that has to be done. There’s only one problem: Few people (if anyone) actually takes the time to go through how to perform this crucial act.

This is where this article comes into play. Here are five ways to study more effectively.

Ask for targeted help

Instead of simply saying to a teacher “I don’t get it!,” work back to see what you actually don’t understand. Not only does this give teachers the indication of actual effort being put into the concept, but it allows the teacher to give you focused help on just the concept you truly understand.

Whether this happens during class or during tutoring sessions, it’ll get everyone moving onto the next thing at least a few minutes faster.

Gamify it!

photo by Andrew Okwuosah

It’s almost proven fact that for someone to actually do something, it has to at least be semi-interesting. While it’s not exactly easy to get excited about the Pythagorean theorem, making study sessions a game of sorts will at least help spice things up.

Apps like Todoist (pictured above) and HabitRPG feature point-based systems that reward for completing tasks, and punish for missing a deadline.

This increases willpower by actually placing a further level of accountability to get things done and actually want to be productive.

Use ‘Spaced Repetition’ for learning facts fast

photo by Andrew Okwuosah

Spaced Repetition is perfect for trying to remember facts (like Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.) It’s basically the same concept that’s been used for decades of drilling the information into the brain with a twist.

Instead of just mindlessly drilling things in, focus in on the facts and concepts that aren’t sticking to those brain cells. Let the facts and concepts that have already stuck go for a while and stop studying those to focus on ones that aren’t there yet.

This forces the brain to work harder to remember information, thus allowing them to stick easier.

Using a tool like Anki (pictured above) allows custom card decks to be created, and allows for the use of shared card decks from the app’s community database.

Plan Ahead

photo by Andrew Okwuosah

Having a focus for studying gives a point of motivation when the urge of reading another BuzzFeed listicle comes up.

Writing all the tasks you need to do down on a whiteboard or in a to-do app like Todoist allows the mind to be cleared of having to remember what needs to be done, and shift its focus on actually getting stuff done.

Pomodoro It

photo by Andrew Okwuosah

The Pomodoro technique is one of the most commonly referred to productivity techniques on the planet.

Basically, a timer is set for a set amount of time (traditionally 25 minutes) with a break for a proportional amount of time (traditional 5 minutes). This can be done with apps like TimeDoser or by simply using any other timer.

Aside from focusing on the task of hand, it also helps to have a sheet of paper on hand to jot down distractions as they pop up. Having these distractions on paper allows for these potential tasks to be addressed during breaks. However, there’s also the ability to hone in on distractions. For example, if the phone goes off with a new Instagram notification, it can be put in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode or if BuzzFeed’s bogging down the homework juices, it can be blocked for an hour or two with extensions like StayFocused.

Just Do It

Ultimately, no study method is going to lead to success if a book is never picked up and studying doesn’t happen. Regardless of any social method there is, it’s not going to mean anything if nothing is done, so get up and go something.