Let’s Talk About Studying, Baby!
Do you find that quite often you’re unable to study for unknown reasons? Always distracted? Struggle to prioritise? Then look no further as History to the Public has heeded your call. As students ourselves we have literally ‘been there, done that’. In fact we’re still there, and we’re still doing it!
Students have terrible attention spans – thank the internet and mobile devices. I once counted how many times I checked my phone during a 2 hour study period. Guess how many times? I checked it no less than 12 times. That’s once every 10 minutes! While I do not doubt that the cumulative time that I spent on my phone was less than 15 minutes the continuous stopping meant that my workflow was hindered repeatedly. The solution? PUT YOUR PHONE ON AIRPLANE MODE.
One of my colleagues, Gaelle, refuses to work without a plan. Everything she does is planned. And this shows in her work. Take a minute to browse some of her articles – you’ll see that they are some of the most polished and well-thought out pieces we have here at History to the Public. There is a reason for this – she allows her brain the time to develop her arguments by laying them out in front of her. You’d be surprised but if you give yourself ample to prepare an assignment it means you can formulate coherent arguments.
One of the things I personally realised last year was that unfamiliarity breeds fear. It also breeds ignorance. One of the hardest parts of writing an essay/dissertation/phd thesis (delete as appropriate) is starting it. Nobody knows exactly what their work will look like before putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard), not even your professor who has had numerous published books and is the leading authority in his chosen field. Trust us. If you ask any of the contributors at History to the Public you’ll discover that none of our first drafts hardly ever have any similarities with our final product. In fact go ahead and ask your professor how many revisions it took them to get that chapter perfect before they were happy with it.
If you do anything this academic year I hope that it is following these ten study tips. They have been crafted using information from students and how they interact with studying:
- Learn your own routine. Whether you prefer a certain a room, particular pens, or any ritual, you’d be surprised at what can help you study better.
- Get somebody who knows absolutely nothing about your topic – friends not on your course, and even family members are perfect for this. If they cannot understand your work you need to make it clearer.
- If the sentence doesn’t answer your title question, delete it, edit it, recycle it.
- PHONE ON AIRPLANE MODE. NOW.
- Don’t think that one draft is enough. Your work should go through roughly three drafts before it resembles your final version.
- Exam anxiety? Unfamiliarity breeds fear. Explore your exam location weeks before it takes place and make sure you know your topic and exam format inside out.
- Apply the following to every question: What, Where, Who, When – How, Why, What If – So What, What Next?
- Be intricately prepared. Find the planning tool that works best for you and make sure it is used in all assignments.
- Print out your work. Read each sentence and focus on each word – if it can be taken out, take it out.
- Ask questions! Tutors exist to help