Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Back to school part I: study tips

Hi guys! Since I'm in the middle of my retakes at university, I thought it would be a good idea to give you some study tips. Soon I will upload a back-to-school-look and makeup-look as well. 

Make a planning and stick to it!

I know this is probably the first tip people give you, but that's because it's extremely important, especially at university. I myself study Dutch and English linguistics and literature. Throughout the whole year, we've had almost no tests, no tasks, just nothing. The point is, if we don't study during the year, we will NEVER be able to get everything done before the exams. I have to read a lot of books and have to study a lot of the theory by myself. When making a planning, it's important you add breaks to it and also add extra moments which I call Buffer-moments. During those moments you can take a break OR finish off the work that you haven't done yet but should have. Make sure your planning is realistic; first make a try-planning before the year starts in which you plan out how you will spend your day.
 After a couple weeks, take a week in which you write down every 30 minutes what you're doing to figure out if your planning actually works. Maybe studying those words only takes up 30 minutes instead of an hour, or maybe making those exercises actually takes far more time than you first expected. Or maybe, you can't focus really well in the morning and shouldn't study in the morning or  should try studying a different subject with more exercises, where more thinking has to be done, where you have to read more,.... 
Now you can make your actual planning which will actually fit your life.


An important tip that probably saved my exams more than once. Everyone seems to have their own way of summarising, so get creative and find a way that suits your brain best! I will mostly summarise by writing down all the titles and will then add names, dates and definitions. I'm a person that's really bad at learning things by heart, so most of the time I will look at the title for extra information but will never learn it by heart. 
For all you other people out there who might also suck at learning things by heart, here comes my very important tip! Analyse whatever your subject is (history is best for this) in different categories instead of learning it as one big thing. Add every little piece of information to a different category. Now read all the theory you have to study BUT actually study the categories. I know this method takes time, but it will work every single time because you're actually trying to understand the theory instead of just learning it by heart. 

I can't focus ... AAAHHH

We all have it sometimes; you're trying to study for that really important test but today your brain decided to act like sh*t. Sadly, sometimes, there's simply nothing you can do about it., but I have some little tips that might ease the pain just enough. The two previous tips about planning and summarizing should already help a great deal. Don't plan to study a subject you hate or a difficult subject on moments you can't focus. Instead, do a subject you like or make exercises that force you to think. 
When studying a long text and you just can't seem to focus, summarize it by using the 'category-technique'. Another way of summarizing is by reading a little part of the text and straight after that making a mini-summary of it. 
If you can't seem to focus for any longer than 30 minutes, then only focus for 30 minutes. Normally I can study up to 4 hours straight without a break but now, in the middle of my retakes, I'm just not that motivated. What I do is I study with full focus for 30 minutes and then I take a break for 10 minutes. Use the alarm on your phone to indicate when the break is over and use a really loud and annoying sound. 
When your mind is clouded with thoughts about all things but studying, take a little note book in which you write down where you're thinking about every time you start drifting away. That way, you won't forget it and can think about it later.

I hope these tips will help you! Enjoy your day (or what's left of it ;) )

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