Creating a study routine can be challenging. However, buckling down and following this routine for an entire semester can be even more challenging. This is why it is so easy for students to slip out of their review regimens.
Here are five easy ways to revamp your study routine, whether you are preparing for a new semester or trying to amp up your efforts in a current one:
1. Set small goals
It is all too easy to cast your thoughts ahead to the future and to believe that you do not possess the discipline to adhere to a study schedule for an entire semester--perhaps you have even struggled with this in the past. But could you follow a routine for one day or one week? Set micro goals frequently, and take each week as it comes, and you may find that it is simple to continue your good study habits.
2. Continuously review material
Cramming the evening before a test is never an advisable study tactic. Avoiding that list-minute review session begins on the first day of class, so make it your duty to master a new chapter or two of your textbook (or other reading material) each week, while also still reviewing the content from previous weeks.
For example, during week one of the semester, you would read and master Chapter 1. In week two, you would first review your notes for Chapter 1, and then master Chapter 2. This way, you are continuously reviewing class content every week. By the time you reach week four or five of the semester, material from week one will feel automatic.
3. Avoid assuming that you will learn class content later
This advice is especially valuable for math courses. When some students do not understand a concept, they assume that they will somehow learn it before an exam. Oftentimes, this assumption does not hold true.
Ensure you understand every concept from a lecture or unit before you start studying the next. Consider scheduling extra time with your professor or teacher to ask questions and receive assistance. If you do not, you may soon struggle to comprehend a range of material that builds on that single concept.
4. Record your class sessions
In an ideal world, you would pay close attention to every single second of every single class lecture, and you would take exquisite notes. But this is not realistic. You have likely daydreamed for several minutes in a class, or been otherwise distracted--and it will probably happen again.
When you are studying handwritten or typed notes, and cannot fully recall the material, you will not be able to physically return to the lecture. But if you recorded your lectures (with permission), you could listen to that portion of the class session again. You can even listen to your lectures while you are commuting to school or visiting the gym. This may seem like extra work, but when it is time to review, your study sessions may be much shorter.
5. Remember that your study routine will not be ruined by one subpar week
Occasionally, students find that they cannot follow their study routines one week for a variety of reasons--an illness or an unexpected class project, for example. Subpar weeks happen, but you can still jump back into your routine after one.
Especially if you use the approach of continuously reviewing material, you do not need to punish yourself by trying to cram your entire missed week of content into a single day. Instead, devise a strategic approach for making up the work. For instance, perhaps you ultimately spread the missed material out over one or two weeks of review.