A new term has started once again at the University, along with the new year. Perhaps you have decided to come up with a few New Year’s resolutions to try and stick to this year as well. There are so many resolutions to choose from. You could try and lead a healthier lifestyle or try to establish a better sleep schedule. However, a popular New Year’s resolution among students is establishing better study/learning habits
So, what are the benefits of adopting healthier study habits? Well better study habits can lead to better grades in school with consistency and effort. Better study habits can help you to understand the material taught in class more thoroughly allowing for a greater mastery of the material. Additionally, this can help us to both learn and memorize the materials presented in class more effectively. Good study habits can also help to decrease some of the anxiety and low-self-esteem that one may feel regarding upcoming test and or assignments. Lastly, good study habits can save us time and stress later. Instead of cramming at the last minute before an exam or test, we can use our time during the semester to help us avoid cramming.
How should I plan out my study sessions? Firstly, you should try and find a study area. A place with few distractions where you can study. For example, studying in your room, office space, or listening to music to help block out distractions. Secondly, plan out what you want to study during said session when deciding what to study, try using the SMART goals. Make your goals:
T- Time Bound
Lastly, be sure to prioritize your learning. For example, if you have a test in 3 weeks, and a paper due in 5 days, it may be in your best interest to get the paper done first.
What are the different study methods that one can adopt to better their learning? There are two different methods that I want to focus on, the Pomodoro technique and the Interleaving method.
The Pomodoro technique is a way of studying that forces us to take breaks during our study sessions. For example, you study for 25 minutes straight, then take a five-minute break, where you check you phone, grab a snack/or drink, or do a quick stretch. This 25 minute-5-minute pattern is known as a Pomodoro. Essentially, you should complete 4 Pomodoros then take a break for 30 minutes. After this break, the cycle can be repeated as necessary. This method can help you feel less overwhelmed during your studying
The Interleaving Method
The Interleaving method is a method of studying that helps you learn your course materials more effectively. It is best explained with an example. Say you are in a biology class and you have to learn the concept of cellular respiration, photosynthesis and protein structure. Normally, you would probably try learning each concept one at a time. The Interleaving technique suggests that you should actually try learning all three concepts at the same time. For example, you would study one topic in cellular respiration, then learn a bit about protein structure, then learn one topic in photosynthesis. This seems very counterintuitive, but studies(https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-interleaving-effect-mixing-it-up-boosts-learning/ ) have shown that this is how the brain works best (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-interleaving-effect-mixing-it-up-boosts-learning/ )
At the University of Manitoba, we have resources available to students who may need extra help. The Academic Learning center. offers tutoring, workshops, and English as an Additional Language resources. If you are in first year, you can check out the First Year Center. If you are looking for more motivation during this online semester, the Academic Learning Center is also currently holding virtual study halls . Start small and keep going!