Here are some tips on how to study effectively while stuck at home, whatever your situation might be.
1. Carve out (and clean out) your study space
If you already have a desk in your bedroom, that’s a great start. Do a little Marie Kondo-ing to de-clutter the space and make room for your books, computer and any other study tools. Remove, during your chosen study time, anything unrelated to your test prep.
If you don’t have a desk in your room (maybe you’re sharing counter or table space with others in your home), choose a dedicated area where you can study. Make sure it’s clean, clutter-free and generally quiet during your study time. Also, be sure to remove all of your study materials once you’re finished, so that the space may go back to its original purpose.
2. Communicate to others in your home that you will be studying
It’s crucial to let anyone else in your home know when you’ll be studying, whether it is a set time each day or a block of hours on certain days. This will give you quiet time to focus and hopefully ensure that you are not disturbed.
3. Tune out distractions
If you find that you need to tune out the noise being made by others around your home, prepare yourself with some headphones and your favorite studying music. Instrumental music—classical, jazz, lo-fi hip hop or synthwave, for example—is helpful as background music, cancelling out unwanted noise as well as providing a motivating soundtrack for studying. Experiment with different genres to see what works for you.
During your chosen study times, focus. The more focused and dedicated you are, the more effective your study time will be. If you go over your allotted time, great! Your hyper-focus helped you to study hard and prepare even more than you’d planned. If you’re finding it difficult to focus, take a short break to stretch, breathe or enjoy some refreshments.
5. Reward yourself
Focusing on studying during a pandemic, especially under quarantine or shelter-in-place orders, comes with particular difficulties. If you’ve managed to study and focus for the duration of your goal time, be sure to reward yourself! The reward could be an extra hour of binge-watching your favorite show, eating an indulgent dessert, taking a nap or anything else that you enjoy. This will reinforce good study habits and, of course, it will be a well-deserved treat.
6. Keep reading
Whether you’re reading for pleasure or for reference, keep at it. Reading has been proven to help with vocabulary, grammar and comprehension on standardised tests. It will also help to stimulate your mind in your downtime.
7. Set realistic goals
When coming up with your study plan, be sure to set goals that you can actually achieve. If you plan to study for three hours a day while perhaps also juggling a full-time job that you’re now trying to do from home, you may fall short and lose motivation. Read some of our study and time management tips to help determine a manageable study schedule.
Personally, I've been able to continue to educate myself and keep busy through the utilization of books and podcasts. Additionally, there are many online resources to help educate you, like LinkedIn Learning and Skill Share. As far as classes that you are already enrolled in, what works best for me is creating a work space that is clean and organized, that I know will help me focus. Additionally, blocking off time to study will allow you to be more efficient and take your time, rather than scrambling at the last minute. Finally, setting goals and challenges of what to get done each day and then rewarding yourself with sometime fun to do after may help motivate you to stay focused and productive.
Angela D.’s Answer
Sleep has been shown to be a contributor for long term memory formation, retention, and recall. Study smarter, not harder (please see website below). Some visual folks do well with homemade flashcards (word or question on the front, answer on the back) or condensing notes into blurbs that fit on a two-sided page so that they can "remember" what the two sides "look" like. Others are more auditory, so reading notes aloud or listening to previous lectures prompts recall later. Mnemonics (a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something) can also be helpful. Pacing yourself is important. Watch some shows that are stress relievers like comedy!
Some other things that can also help are to stay hydrated, walk around during a break, engage in chair/seated exercises (you can find some online), eat a mint, and take notes even if you're recording the lecture. Check out Edutopia’s website for further suggestions.
However, maybe more to a different location than your room. Go to an office, somewhere where you can focus on your work and there arent any distractions. If you work better in groups, get into a group call with some friends and do your work together so you can motivate one another.
We're all struggling with this rough transition but we are all doing what we can. In college, I still try to attend office hours fo rmy professors whenever I have questions based upon the work they've assigned.