How to Study Effectively

Learning how to study effectively isn’t all about knowing when to highlight and when to take notes. That’s part of it, but a huge part of learning how to study effectively, whether you’re in high school, college, or continuing education courses, is learning to set up your environment so that it’s best for studying.

You’ll never learn how to study effectively if the environment of your mind and body are out of whack or plain distracting you. Part of teaching yourself how to study effectively is figuring out the environment for studying that works best for you. Here are some suggestions on how to set up your physical environment so you can get more out of your studies:

Pay attention to your body

One of the main things that researchers are finding about studying these days is the mind-body connection. The way your body feels when you’re studying has a big effect on how well you’ll actually study! When you’re trying to learn how to study effectively, it’s important to pay attention to your body.

You don’t want to let your body take over your mind during your study sessions, so in order to do this, you need to make sure you take care of your body’s needs. Before you start a study session, have a light meal or snack that will keep you energized. Get plenty of protein and complex carbs in there to keep your mental energy up for a while.

Also, pay attention to how comfortable your body is and how you’re breathing. You want to be comfortable enough that you’re basically ignoring your body but not so comfortable that you’re likely to fall asleep. You also want to train yourself to breathe deeply, which can get more oxygen flowing to your brain and help you concentrate more. Part of learning how to study effectively is learning to be comfortable in your own skin while you’re studying.

Another thing to think about is letting your body stretch out during your study session. If you’re going to be studying for more than an hour, take a ten to fifteen minute break every sixty minutes or so. Stretch out, swing your arms, and walk around. This will keep your body from getting stiff and uncomfortable, and it will also keep blood flowing to your brain so that you can concentrate and study better.

Find the best time and surroundings

Although many college students prefer to study late at night, this isn’t the best option unless you’re a natural night owl. You know what you prefer best, so figure out when you’re most alert, and plan to study then. It’s better this way because when you’re more alert, you’ll know how to study effectively, so that you’ll spend less time, overall, studying material while being able to retain more of it.

It’s also important to enjoy your study surroundings without being distracted by them. Some people need a little background noise to help their brains focus. In this case, classical music can be a good option. You might also find that you know how to study effectively when you’re not surrounded by people who are distracting you. For this reason, it’s a good idea to study in your room with the door shut and locked or to go to the library, where people are less likely to disturb you while you’re studying.

Even though other people might prefer total quiet and a white room when they’re studying, that might not work for you as well. I prefer studying in a comfortable location with plenty of natural light, a comfortable temperature, and music or voices in the background. Coffee shops seem to work particularly well for me. Experiment with a few different places, and then ask yourself which place helps you learn how to study effectively the best.