21 Tips and Tricks to Improve Study Performance
- Don’t skip classes or be late 1
- Do all homework, always on time 1
- It reinforces
- Do it to the point of full comprehension
- Review lecture immediately after class, even if just for 5 minutes 1
- This helps encode information into long-term memory
- Review past materials throughout the term 2
- Work out examples in your own words
- Rewrite key definitions and ideas
- Make connections between concepts
- Do practice problems - if none were assigned, find some!
- Opposite of cramming 1
- Prepare for Class 1
- Read ahead a little, to familiarize yourself
- Sit in the ‘T’ of class (the middle column and front row of desks) 1
- Fewer distractions up front
- Helps build an important connection with your professor/teacher
- Start Homework THE DAY it is assigned 1
- Helps encode information into long-term memory
- Allows you come prepared to the next class meeting with questions
- Learn from your graded classwork 3
- Problems done incorrectly must be fully understood
- They will be on the final
- Mix-up study content 1
- If you get stuck, switch to a different subject/assignment
- Your brain keeps working on the problem subconsciously
- Can give you a fresh perspective when you return
- Make your goal to learn, not get grades 1
- Focus on asking yourself questions as you do problems 2
- Why are you applying a particular line of reasoning?
- What other similar problems have you done?
- How does this particular problem fit into the overarching objectives of the course?
- For example, if the professor is using 4-5 different colors on the whiteboard, you should be too! Buy some colored pens or highlighters.
- If the professor lectures off power points, you can print them out before class and take notes ON them during class.
- For classes that draw lots of tables/diagrams/pictures, graph paper really comes in handy.
- If the professor is going faster than you can take notes, Read ahead and take your own notes - leave room to add notes from the lecture
- Explore different methods, figure out what works best for each class
- Take turns with a classmate explaining your work to one another
- If you can thoroughly explain a problem to someone else, then there is a good chance you actually understand what is going on.
- Trying to explain a hard problem you are stuck on to somebody else, even if that person is not in your class, helps your brain come up with the solution 3
- Ask questions of yourself, your classmates, and your professor, in that order
- Not just questions like "Is this going to be on the exam?" But questions like "what would happen if...?"
- Answering questions yourself is best because you know your mind better than anyone else and can make the appropriate connections to your current body of knowledge.
- Do the most important assignments first
- If there is a tie, do the hardest / least fun homework assignment first
- Save the small/easy stuff for after
- Pareto 80/20 Rule: Most people spend 80% of their time on little tasks and 20% of their time on major tasks
- Assign your longer, most important tasks to your biggest time blocks
- Assign short tasks to small time blocks
- Try and knock things off your to-do list any chance you get
- Keep a book or some homework on you in case you come across extra time
- Have courage to protect your priorities
- Multi-tasking is the ENEMY!
- Ask yourself, “What is the most effective use of my time right now?”
- Keep study area clear of clutter or anything else that can draw your attention away
- Learn to say “No”
- Saying “yes” to one thing, is saying “no” to another
- Don’t let the desire to win approval or acceptance of others get in the way of what is really important.
- Example: if you’re a ‘morning person’, plan to do your most important work in the mornings.
- During this time – stay completely off your phone and all social media
- Focus on the task at hand
- Every day, go to bed knowing what your goals are for the next day
- Hold yourself accountable for reaching those goals
- Know the value of diet, exercise, alone time, spiritual time, family time, down time, and social time in seeking a balanced life.
- Recommended at least 7-8 hours/night
- Effects of sleep deprivation: 4
- Lower stress threshold, impaired memory, trouble concentrating, decreased optimism and sociability, impaired creativity and innovation
- Long term sleep deprivation can cause high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke and obesity
1 Gary R. Martin, Ph. D
Assistant Dean in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, University of the Pacific.
Source: Lecture notes taken in Dr. Martin’s ENGR 010 Course, Dean’s Seminar, Fall 2012.
2 John Mayberry, Ph. D
Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department at University of the Pacific.
Source: Email Interview
3 James P., AS
Undergraduate at University of Pacific
Source: Personal experience
4 Christy Matta, MA
Trainer, consultant and writer