Study Smart, Not Hard: Tips For Success In College
There is an ancient myth about learning: allegedly, if you work hard, you’ll become a highly qualified professional. Well, that is a fundamentally flawed approach. The common practice suggests that 2 hours spent on education in a rational manner equal to 4-5 hours of haphazard exhausting work.
Well, here’s some good news: throughout history, some great minds in the long-standing process of self-education developed techniques to learn productively. Moreover, they shared that knowledge with community. When applied properly, these methods can show students how to study multiple subjects.
Do you want to know how to learn faster? Here are a few simple and effective techniques to become more productive in college education.
1. Pomodoro method
This is an old but extremely useful time management technique developed by Italian student in the 1980s. The thing is in using a timer to break down working time to intervals (usually 20-25 minutes) with short 5-minute breaks between them.
You just pick the purpose, set the timer, stay focused on work for 25 minutes and then take a short break to get some coffee or a cigarette (whatever you like to reward yourself with).
It is simple as it is, yet lets you stay concentrated and productive throughout all work. Pomodoro method allows doing more in less time, but it is powerless to help you get rid of loads of college assignments that are no use for you. Nothing demotivates as much as producing results needed by someone else, not you. In this case, the best option for you is to buy assignment, especially since there are people who can help you with it.
2. Learn how to study using chunking
I found this method on coursera.com. It’s very simple as well, but still strong enough to make your studies easier and more effective.
Chunks are the complete blocks of information in memory that you can reach rapidly and easily. When there is a huge amount of information to learn or many things to do, you just break a big task into interconnected small ones. They should be self-sufficient and have the mental anchor so you could refer to and access it when needed.
Here are simplest examples of chunked information:
- 380954417879 -> 38-095-441-78-79;
- 04191994 -> 04/19/1994.
This method can be used literally everywhere: in any kind of a project to work on, when developing software, learning lyrics, etc.
3. SMART goals
I found this model for setting goals on Reddit. It’s pretty widely used in corporate environment. SMART is an acronym, let’s see what each letter stands for.
S – specific. Some people set the goal as “I am going to learn Spanish by the end of this year.” Wait a minute, language isn’t an elementary skill, but a multi-faced aspect of our life. You want to read Spanish texts or you’re about to take a trip to Latin America and you need to communicate well there. Maybe you’re just passionate about “Despacito” and wish to sing it.
Whatever your goal is, it must be tangible.
M – measurable. This condition is extra important as it allows you to see your progress.
Let’s assume that you learn to write screenplays, so you may say “My aim is to write screenplays”. That’s a perfect intention, but try to state your objective as “I’m going to write one episode per week”. We hope that you will easily apply that principle to any goal.
Set objectives that you can easily measure.
A – achievable. It’s an apparent rule. The goal should be attainable and pretty ambitious at the same time. If you want to learn to code then your final goal should not be working in Apple as a senior developer in 2 years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is impossible, but in practice great goals take time, sometimes more time than we have planned.
The thing is to set realistic goals.
R – relevant. There are billions of interesting subjects in the world to learn, but only one life to live, therefore pick the goals that match your bigger purpose. If you start to run a restaurant business, you probably will have to learn many subjects on business administration, customer service, hospitality, personnel management, etc. On the other hand, things like SEO or interior design are still good to know but can be delegated to professionals.
Don’t waste your time learning tones of different subjects that are of little use to achieving your main purpose.
T – time-measured. Always set a time limit! You may even fail to meet a deadline, it’s totally OK. Don’t just see that limit as something obligatory, and it won’t discourage you. So instead of saying “I will enter college and study medicine”, say “I am going to enroll at a college this autumn to study medicine.”
Using this model for setting goals, eventually, you will explore easier ways to study. The point is, only you can work out the ways that will fit you.
The issue of productivity in learning becomes important when the time is limited. Life balancing is not as easy as it looks. College, hobbies, sports, personal life – all these aspects are equally important for living a healthy lifestyle and achieving professional success.
We hope that these three handy techniques will make your studies smarter and easier.