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It’s Exam Szn again!!!
I know that all of you are thinking about getting your studying on, staying focused and never giving up! I’ll applaud you for that and I support you all the way. But, I also know that you have that lingering thought of procrastinating and there’s that little minion inside of you completely ready to procrastinate, loaft or effectively putting your time elsewhere instead of getting what you need to get done now a.k.a. “study” (however you want to put). There’s always apart of you that will not be ‘bout’ studying. There’s a lot of studies talking about conserve your free will, strengthen your freewill. But honestly, nobody’s got time for that, and if you’re reading this chances are that, it’s not going too well.
How I Get My Study On
So in this blog post, I’m going to tell you the 5 techniques that helped me study and eventually pass my undergrad (key word is passed because i’m a professional loafter).
1. Brain Dump
So first thing first, my thought process behind ‘focus’ is, my mind is always running a mile a minute and in order for me to study or focus on anything I need to dump my brain. I first heard it from David Allen, then Tony Robbins, and pretty much every other motivational speaker is to braindump. Clear your mental ram. Get rid of everything that is going on in your head: Write down notes, write down events and jot tasks and make them actionable so you don’t need to think about it while you study.
Doing this lets your brain let things go because it knows you can pick it back up at a later time. I record these usually on paper. But when i don’t have a pen and paper on hand I use something called Wunderlist. This is a great app because it syncs across pretty much any platform you can think of: android, ios, windows, mac. And you can easily organize your tasks into any category. So clear you brain with this tool.
2. Pomodoro Technique
Next, once you’ve emptied your brain you can finally get to do what you need to do. It’s a simple technique that is centred around two simple things. 100% focus for a duration of time, 100% focus on break for a short duration of time. Then repeat. Breaks are essential to your learning and as we get older it seems like we forget about it. (Think about how recesses, lunch break, snack breaks etc. from elementary school). We’re not machines and complete 100% focus for an 8 hours + bender doesn’t exist, so simply having a timer to count your productivity time and break time is actually a pretty useful reminder to keep you on track.
Note: this is not the law. 25min work and 5 min break is just the overall suggested time but you can adjust the intervals to whatever works best for you. This is the suggested ratio and you just gotta experiment around it to findout what works best for you
3. Spaced Repetition System
So I’ve never understood cue cards, and always thought that it would be not applicable to an engineering degree. But man once I tried SRS it changed my life. Spaced Repetition system is an algorithm that uses cue cards to help jog your memory right before you might forget things and then rating yourself based on your answer. In simpler words, it helps make remember things easier. I can go more in depth about this topic another time but,I highly recommend trying Anki when you need to practice something. Use the questions as cues, test yourself then compare. I used it to remember equations, practice questions, but you can use it what it was made for, memorizing characters, pictures, features, etc.Anki is a great tool since it’s a web based application and is available across pretty much any platform.
4. Cornell Model
This is a technique that i found out about a little too late but also a life changer. I have the shortest attention span. And if i do pay enough attention to grab the information, i tend to forget how everything connects together. So this is a note taking method that has stuck with me and I think I’ll be using for quite awhile. The fundamentals is split into 3 things; notes, questions, and summary. It’s a great way to take notes because it flows with my thought process. I take notes in the main section as you normally would but then you mark the questions that you have on the left. Answer when notes are completed. Then summarize the sheet on what you’ve learned
5. Remove Distractions
Lastly just get rid of temptation. Simply getting rid of the apps and websites that distract you the most will help you stay focused and study. And I know blocking specific sites won’t prevent you from procrastinating, but know it’s still effective. It makes procrastination take a little more effort, by making you put in work to find another site to procrastinate on. The best all encompassing application blocking program is Cold Turkey because it’ll block your regular sites (ie. Facebook, Reddit, YouTube and anything else you find distracting) as well as the apps that you waste your time on (ie. League of Legends, Sims, Steam, etc.) however you need to paid version to block the applications. So, because I’m frugal af I have a couple free alternatives that can help you get through it.
- Clear your mental RAM by doing a Brain Dump | Wunderlist
- Take Breaks (I use the Pomodoro Technique) | Tomighty
- Study with flash cards using the Spaced Repetition System | Anki
- Take notes using the Cornell Method | OneNote
- Remove ALL Distractions | SelfControl