Today’s students are a different breed from 20 years ago. Learners have access to a vast amount of knowledge. The difference is much like stepping from inside an elevator into outer space! The entire spectrum of the educational system has been modified and the majority of this change has come about due to technology. It makes you wonder if studying is even relevant these days.
Think about it. At one time, the library was the place to study. Filled with an infinite amount of books and information on a variety of subjects, it was quiet, orderly, and ideal for inquisitive students. Now, many libraries are slowly converting into computer centers, co-study IT spaces, and home-bases for IT departments complemented by more efficient search engines and social networking apps.
Students have access to an internet that processes roughly 6,000 tweets, sends over two-million emails, and more than 40,000 Google searches each second. Whew…it’s mind-blowing to even comprehend! But, this is what students are dealing with today.
So, How Does Studying Fit Into All of This?
It’s easy to sit down at a computer, type in a few words, and get instant results; but that doesn’t mean you’re actually studying or being productive. Even with all the available technology, you still have to do the work. Achievement requires effort – studying requires effort – you have to make the effort.
At times, you may find yourself apathetic or using study time for matters that can wait. With the availability of computers, smartphones, and tablets, it’s tempting to check your FaceBook feed, Instagram account, text a friend, or browse the web for hours.
So, how do you get your study groove on? Luckily, smart minds foresaw this dilemma and created helpful tools for students to make study time seem less like, well, studying and more collaborative. Utilizing these tools will help to balance your academic and personal life. And as more and more apps are developed, studying becomes more interactive, easier, and fun, whether you’re studying alone or in a group.
5 Tools To Help You Study and Be More Productive
As a student, taking notes is as natural a part of the educational experience as breathing. Evernote assists you with keeping your notes tidied and in order. The app also allows syncing data across multiple devices, extracting text and graphic elements from web pages, save voice notes to your phone, and more.
With StudyBlue you can upload school study information, craft electronic flashcards for studying and sharing with classmates, and participate in productive quiz sessions for upcoming tests.
3. MyStudy Life
Studying will be more organized and productive with this app. Germane material is meticulously synced in the cloud. The app flawlessly connects to multiple devices making it easy to manage classes, tests, coursework, etc.
4. Scanner Pro
No need to haul heavy books around. Scanner Pro converts your iPad or iPhone into a portable scanner with just one click. Simply scan textbook pages prior to leaving class to use for study later on. What’s more, data can be uploaded to any cloud storage server.
Xmind is a convenient interactive study assistant identified as a mind-mapping and brainstorming tool, designed to help you focus, clarify thinking, and easily organize elaborate data utilizing numerous structured charts to boost efficiency. This app is ideal for boosting concentration and externalizing studies into a concrete format.
Additional useful study tools include the dictation app NUANCE, and Soft112 which helps keep track of exams and test schedules.
Study Smarter – Not Harder
We’ve gone over the technological aspects of studying, now it’s time to get to the hands-on fundamentals. Below is a checklist of well-researched study tips that have remained consistent with time.
Do your best to steer clear of any distractions during your study time. This includes petting a beloved pet, checking your social media feed, and texting friends – unless they’re part of your study group.
Create the Ideal Study Environment
- Give others a heads-up when it’s your study time. If necessary, put a do-not-disturb sign in a spot where others can easily see it.
- Only use devices necessary for your studies. If you don’t have use for your smartphone during study time for example, turn it off.
- Most experts agree that listening to music while studying can be beneficial; however, it depends on the type of music you listen to. Bopping your head to the beat of your favorite rap song via digital media on iTunes, is not what they had in mind. According to research carried out in a variety of university environments “the right kind of music stimulates the left and right brain simultaneously, thereby maximizing learning and improving memory.” Classical and meditation music are recommended as there are no distracting lyrics.
- An ergonomically designed chair is highly recommended for good posture and maintaining an upright position for extended periods. The right sitting position means less fidgeting resulting in improved concentration while studying.
- If you are straining your eyes due to poor lighting, you will experience less productivity during study time. Natural light is best. Nonetheless, when natural light is unattainable, for example if you study during the evening or the day is cloudy, a 60 to 80 watt task light is recommended. Fluorescent bulbs should be avoided as the harsh light can strain the eyes and cause fatigue.
Maintain a Study Pattern
Try studying at the same time each day whether you’re a night owl or prefer afternoon or early morning hours. Surveys show that this type of routine creates expectation and prepares the mind for study and concentration.
Take a Break
According to numerous reports, taking a break and rebooting during study times is requisite for achieving optimum productivity. Skipping scheduled breaks can result in a decline in intellectual performance, and in some cases insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Studying for 10 minute intervals is more like playtime than serious studying. On the other hand, cramming for too long in a single session can turn you into an android! Give your brain time to relax. It is suggested that 75-90 minutes is presumably the maximum amount of time to study before taking a 10 minute break.
Utilizing a time-tracking app, setting your smartphone timer, or going the old-fashioned route with an analog clock placed strategically on your desk, will help monitor your study time and alert you when its time for downtime.
By applying the above tips, you will eventually notice a big improvement with managing your study time and an increase in productivity. The reward? Better grades and a more productive life.