Efficient study habits can make or break your college experience and your GPA. Traditional students have a difficult enough time with study, with a quarter of them reporting they have no training in study skills. If you’re a non-traditional student who goes to school part-time while working full or part-time and raising a family, you likely have even more trouble carving out the study time needed to study effectively. Going back to school as an adult means learning how to cope with all your current day-to-day responsibilities along with developing or rekindling good study habits.
So if you’re a returning college student, whether you’re back at school on-campus or finishing your bachelor’s degree online, we’ve gathered together a list of seven study tips designed for those who live in a distracted state.
1 – Drink eight glasses of water each day
How is this a study tip? Well, studies show that your complex problem-solving abilities and your attention are among the first areas to suffer cognitive decline if you’re dehydrated. That means you can make time to study but it won’t pay off like it should if you and your brain aren’t well-hydrated!
2 – Find a place you can study alone
While you may have done your homework at the kitchen table in high school, finding a quiet place alone is the best way to maximize your study time. This may mean closing yourself in a bedroom, or even a closet or the bathroom! Get creative, but find somewhere you can shut the door and stop all distractions for at least an hour or two.
3 – Take an active 5 – 8 minute break each hour
You may think pounding through a four-hour cram session is the best way to study, but you’d be wrong. Frequent quick breaks can be very important to keep both your mind and body energized. One of the keys is not to get bogged down in a break activity that saps your energy or stresses you further. (Hint: Don’t pick up your phone and look at Instagram.) You should try to get up and walk for a bit—preferably out in the fresh air. Or at least do a few stretches or lunges, something to get your blood flowing and keep your mind open. If physical activity is impossible, consider a brief meditation break instead.
4 – Try a study playlist
The right kind of music can actually help you study better. If you’re not sure what music to check out, look for a pre-made study playlist on your favorite music service or YouTube. Generally, music with no lyrics is recommended. The right music can open your mind and help keep you free from stress when you’re in a serious study session.
5 – Grab a snack
You’ll get sluggish and stop thinking as clearly if your body doesn’t have the proper fuel to study, so consider keeping a snack on hand for your study sessions. A few tree nuts like almonds or walnuts with some dried fruit is a great idea. If you’re in a pinch, consider a protein bar. Think about foods that have good protein content and healthy carbs to keep you feeling full and energized.