Written by Amy Wang (PEACE Advisor)
With midterms coming up, it’s time to buckle down and do some studying. But with the internet, friends, hobbies, and other extracurriculars, there are often endless distractions that seem much more enticing than that textbook. So how do you get yourself in study mode? Here are several tips that help me get serious about focusing:
1. Choose a quiet study spot: Location matters a lot! There’s a big difference between trying to go over your lecture notes in the middle of the living room with the TV on and actually sitting down in a cafe or library or your own peaceful room. Everyone has different preferences as to what type of environment is most conducive to focusing, but make sure you’re being honest with yourself when you tell yourself you’re really trying to study. Pulling out your notebook while half-watching Netflix might give you the idea that you’re trying to study, but a rule that I try to live by is to either focus 100% of my energy on studying, or not study at all. When you’re only half-studying (but let’s be honest, it’s probably less than half), you can trick yourself into believing that you’ve put in a true effort for that day. Yet at the end of the day, you’ve neither fully learned anything nor fully enjoyed that Friends marathon! Studying may not be super exciting, but ridding yourself of other distractions helps you focus and get into the groove of things. Plus, you can always reward yourself by taking a short break every one or two hours to unwind and recharge.
2. Download the Chrome extension “StayFocusd”: Sometimes, our own willpower isn’t enough to stay away from opening a new Facebook or Reddit tab. In those situations, I enable the StayFocusd extension, which blocks any website(s) for a time period of your choosing. By forcing yourself to not get distracted by the internet, you’ll come to accept your fate: IT’S STUDY TIME!
3. Create a realistic study schedule: Having concrete goals for each day will help you stay on track. Instead of saying you’re going to study physics on Saturday, tell yourself you’re going to finish going over five lectures and two problem sets (or something like that). That way, you can pace yourself and get a better idea of how much time you need to go over all the material you want to tackle.
Those are just three simple tips that make a huge difference when I’m trying to study. Hopefully they help you too during this midterm season. Best of luck; you’re going to ace those exams!!