Hey everyone! I’m not sure how you study, but personally, I enjoy finding new study techniques. Since then, I’ve gathered quite a few study techniques which I wish to share with you guys! While some of them may seem familiar, I hope you read on. The main purpose that I’m writing this blog is not to tell you how to study, but rather to encourage you to find a study technique that suits you. Basically, work SMART. Without further ado, let’s dive into the topic!
What does "Studying" actually mean?
Have you ever wondered what “studying” actually is? Well, not sure if you realised, nobody has ever taught us how to “study’. Many of the techniques and ways that we see today are the ones that we humans have come up with. According to my experiences (I’m not very old!), “studying” definitely doesn’t mean something as simple as just reading the textbook. To me, “studying” is a process, a never-ending one. It doesn’t mean that just because you put down the textbook, or any resource that you’ve read, you’ve officially “learnt” it. Instead, it means to take what you’ve read or studied, process it, and turn it into something you understand. To me, “studying” is basically successfully absorbing the information you’ve read, and then applying it in life. That’s how you know you’ve learnt a valuable piece of information.
Pomodoro Technique | 番茄工作法
The Pomodoro Technique came about in the 1980s, created by one Francesco Cirillo. Its name is the Italian word for “tomato”, which came about as a result of the timer he used that resembles a tomato. Today, this method has become a popular method amongst many who wish to complete their tasks in a specific timeframe. This technique is super easy to use, with just the need of a timer, either a physical one or digital one will both work. Let me explain how this works.
First, set a pomodoro time using the timer, which is basically your study or work time. Normally, people set 25 minutes, but I would say it’s up to you. Just make sure it’s not too short or too long! In this set period of time, you can only do the specific task that you’ve chosen, and not get distracted by other things. These can include finishing up a specific piece of homework, or revising X pages of a textbook. Do this until the timer rings. When the timer rings, remember where you left off, and put down everything on hand. This is your break time, so set a timer to remind you of your break until it ends (normally 5-10 minutes). During the break, just rest and do nothing else! When the break ends, repeat the pomodoro time, and the steps above until you complete your task.
I’ve tried this personally and found it to be quite effective. Do give it a go and let me know what you think about it!
To-Do Lists | 任务清单
I’ve mentioned this method a couple of times in previous blogs, but because it’s quite effective, I’m bringing it up once again. This method mainly helps you keep track of what you need to do in a day. I previously mentioned that our brains aren’t for storing things. If you want to be clear of what you need to do in a day, writing down is still the best way to go about it. Personally, this to me saves more time as I wouldn’t need to spend extra time trying to remember everything that I need to do.
While I was writing about this method back then, I also mentioned that you only need a piece of paper and a pen, or even just a device like your phone. Before starting on your work or revision, list out some of the things you want to do. These can include completing a given piece of homework. After you finish each task, simply strike it off from the list. The satisfaction that comes with striking off something to show that you finished it, is simply amazing!
Time Blocking | 时间阻挡
这一个方法很类似于上课有课表，你只需在时间表上划出你想要使用的时间。例如：1400 – 1600 复习数学、1630 – 1730 复习科学等。通过这个方式，你会发现在这些指定的时间内，你轻而易举地完成了学习目标，并且成功吸收了所学的知识。偷偷告诉你们，我写这些博客也就是那么写的。每周都锁定一段时间，为你们写这些有趣的博客，呵呵！
Time blocking, as the name suggests, basically means to block a period of time out for you to do work. To be honest, if you have the habit of using a calendar to mark down different timings, you technically are already using this method. A group of people (like me) will find that whilst trying to complete a certain task, it’s quite hard to gather their concentration. However, the moment you are given a specific time frame to finish up the task, it’s instead completed very quickly. This is the power of time blocking. We as humans are very interesting. We want to be self-disciplined, but are constantly held back by our own procrastination. Though I dare say, if you were to try this method, studying becomes way easier!
This method is similar to having a class timetable, you just need to pull out a time slot in the calendar for you to do work. For example, “1400 – 1600 Revise Mathematics, 1630 – 1730 Revise Science”. Through such a method, you will find completing your studying goals within the given timeframe, while at the same time successfully absorbing information. Just between us, I actually write these blogs using this technique. By setting aside a time period each week, I’m able to produce these amazing blogs for you guys, hehe!
Daily Highlights | 每日必做
This is one of the techniques that I recently picked up, which I thought might help you people! Also like its name suggests, daily highlights are basically highlighting a certain task that you MUST complete by the end of the day. This can be done simply by asking yourself in the morning, after you wake up and wash up, “what is it that I need to complete today?” Especially as a student, I believe that you aren’t free all the time. Even if you can’t decide after you wake up, you can try asking yourself again after school. What is that ONE thing that you need to do in the remaining hours of the day? For instance, it might be Monday today and you have a Math exam on Wednesday. You know you aren’t free on Tuesday because of co-curricular activities. Then, your daily highlight for today might just be “finish one set of Math practice papers” (although I still encourage you guys to start revising early!). This ONE thing might not need you to finish it in one sitting, but MUST be completed by the end of the day.
As a student in tertiary education, I can’t deny that I’ve loads of things to do everyday. However, there’s only 24 hours per day, and only so much that I can do. Hence, here’s where this method comes in. It’s simple, really. Just find somewhere that’s so eye-catching to write down your highlight. This can be on a post-it on your table, or a reminder in your phone. As long as you know you will see it, it works! After trying out this technique, you will definitely feel productive!
Take a Break | 休息，休息，休息！
I cannot emphasise this enough, in fact more than my mom has reminded me to drink water. We are humans, not machines. It’s impossible for us to move or study the full day. Studying is important, but taking care of our health is much more important. No matter how good your studies are, no matter what kind of achievements you get, if you only end up to be sick, no grades can save you. I’ve also been through your period of studying, especially when the ‘O’ levels were nearing back then. Everyone went into a study “craze”, only to find out that they’ve harmed themselves, and grades weren’t really improving that much. Yes, you read that right. Not studying smart only hurts you, but rest might very well be the thing that helps you improve. Remember, when you rest, your whole body including brain cells, are resting and repairing themselves. This is also where most people improve, as it decides whether you can absorb information well the next day, or if you can memorise what happened in history. Simply put, I can’t say this enough. Rest, rest, rest!
I hope that through today’s blog, you’ve realised that trying to do last-minute preparation isn’t always going to work. Like I mentioned, studying is a process, one that can never stop. Revising a little everyday is way better than trying to cramp a whole book into your brain the day before an exam. Studying techniques can only help you by making your process a little easier, but the fruits of your effort still awaits to be seen. Of course, do remember to take breaks and rest! We shall end here today, till next time!