Lets face it – studying for an exam in this day and age is terribly difficult. We have a multitude of technologies at our disposal designed to distract us. A prime example of this is TV and the Internet, which has shortened our attention spans so much that you have probably already clicked away from this page. If you haven't, I'd like to share with you some helpful tips I utilised when I was studying. Even when I procrastinated for weeks on end and only had a few days to cram into my brain a semester's amount of work, the following tips (sourced from people I know and through experimenting) helped me tremendously.

Things You Will Need

Time yourself when you study – I always have a stopwatch with me when I need to get something done quickly. This relates to Parkinson's Law, which states that a task will swell in complexity the more time you allocate to it. This is why I give myself exactly 45 minutes to cover the basics of every chapter. Studying this way ensures you will only cover the important points and use your time more effectively. Don't worry if you miss something – you can always come back and go over it again. The aim here is to learn as much possible in the allocated amount of time.

Study in an isolated place away from distraction – This means nowhere near a TV or any other technology that will force you to procrastinate further. Pick a room (or library) that contains just a solid desk with good lighting. Don't choose your bedroom because you're most likely to want to have a nap half way through, turn on the television or start surfing the internet on your laptop. Don't do it near the kitchen because you'll be tempted to make food. Bring enough food with you to your venue of study to last you through your session.

Use the Cornell Note Taking Method – The Cornell Method focuses on using one A4 page for each chapter or revision topic and dividing the page into two columns one for sub topics and the second column to elaborate on each point. This will give you a structured study template to work from. Then when it comes to the time where you have to review your notes, they are in a logical structured order.

Use music to concentrate – A Stanford study has stated that music (especially Classical) makes the brain pay attention. Whilst studying, I find that music lets me shut out the outside world and concentrate on the task at hand. As people's taste in music will vary to a large degree, I'd suggest finding a genre that will help you study effectively rather than distract you.

As we currently live in a society with a proliferation of options and distractions, the need for simplicity and isolation when studying is now that much more important. I hope the tips above have helped you for your quest to study effectively. Please feel free to add any comments below on any techniques that have worked personally for you.

Tips & Warnings