6 Study Skills to Finish the Semester Strong
Posted by Nicole El Chami on April 20, 2022
After four years of studying at Binghamton, I’ve tried every study tip under the sun: flashcards, study guides, you name it. Through it all, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what study methods you use; success is primarily dependent upon the time, energy and organization you put into your work. Below are my favorite tips to help you finish your paper or prepare for your exam and end the semester on a high note.
Find your favorite study spot
In my four years at Binghamton I found myself a new go-to study spot every semester — who doesn’t love a change of scenery? If you’re starting to get sick of the always popular, second floor of Bartle, try feeling out another study spot on campus! I personally enjoy the Union Undergrounds, Science Library, John Arthur Cafe and the unexpectedly quiet study corners in the Classroom Wing! If you’re looking to venture just a little bit further, try studying at the ITC! If none of those spots interest you, you can check out a list of study spaces here!
Focusing is hard, especially with countless distractions constantly at our fingertips. Whether it's Instagram or TikTok, one quick study break can easily turn into hours of scrolling. Ironically enough, there’s an app that can help with that. My housemate vigorously studying for the MCAT introduced the app to me after it helped her cut down her phone usage while studying.
Flora is an app that effectively decreases levels of procrastination by locking you out of other applications for any amount of time you set for yourself. After you start your focus duration in the app, a tree begins to grow; if you leave the app for social media or games, your tree will die. Each time you successfully complete a full focus duration, you’re rewarded by adding a tree to your garden, so start focusing with Flora and get to gardening!
Get enough sleep
Some people are early birds, while others are night owls. Maybe your roommate awakens to the sound of birds chirping while you fall asleep to them; as long as one of you doesn’t wake the other, everything works out! If you’re getting a consecutive seven to nine hours of sleep a night, do work at whatever time you feel your brain is most efficient. For some, beginning their studying before the sun rises makes them feel most productive, while others prefer to study into the night. Studies have shown there is no clear benefit to either choice, but all studies have concluded that getting enough sleep is the most important habit to power your mind!
We’ve all felt the Bartle burnout. You get to the library at 3 p.m. to start studying and before you know it, you’ve been staring at the walls for just over 10 hours without an end in sight. Sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but your brain still needs a break! Taking a break to walk around campus, grab a coffee or get dinner with a friend is nearly as important as studying itself. Breaks like these help you avoid feeling burnt out, and give your mind time to relax, which can boost your focus when you do return to your work.
Ask for help!
When I was a first-year student, nothing intimidated me more than making an appointment for office hours, but there’s nothing to be afraid of! Whether it’s your TA or your professor who hosts office hours, they are there to help you! Take advantage of that. If your class has a TA, don’t hesitate to email them any questions you may have surrounding the class, your assignments or exams. If you need a little extra help, look into the University's Tutoring Services, and other learning resources found here!
If all else fails, don’t forget about your peers! Ask your classmates for help -- if you have questions it’s likely your peers have them too, so try to work things out together. I’ve also found it extremely helpful to ask if any of my older friends have taken a course I’m struggling in; you’d be surprised with the amount of advice they can offer. The bottom line is, ask for help. It can’t hurt.
Make it fun
I know, studying is not fun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it more enjoyable! When I have a big test coming up or a long paper to write, I make sure to buy new and colorful post-it notes, pens and highlighters to motivate myself. Not only does having new supplies motivate me, but there’s science behind it! Color coordination not only aids in memorization, but it can make studying less mundane if you aren’t looking at a notebook full of scribbled black ink.
Nicole El Chami is a senior majoring in English and she interns in the Office of Marketing and Communications at Binghamton University. She is excited to begin graduate school in the fall, where she will be working towards her career goal of becoming an English teacher. In her free time she loves making new playlists and going on walks with her dog.
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