Most students typically begin their preparation by sitting down in front of the TV or bed and either passively start reading a textbook or actively writing out notes or completing an assignment. Although this is probably the most common approach that most students take, it is also one of the worst.
To start with, the study environment is not conducive to effective studying. The Television is a distraction and the bed, although comfortable for sleeping, doesn’t provide the body enough support to study.
Preparation also includes gathering all your study material together and having it handy and all in one spot. The bedroom or TV room isn’t typically a place where the study materials are, and if the student has to get up every few minutes to find something they need, it wastes valuable study time and detracts from their study focus.
Even when the student has all their study materials together and is using an adequate study environment there is still more preparation that must take place. The mind also needs to be ready.
By ensuring that you are in the right state of mind, you can dramatically increase your study efficiency. By spending a few minutes to change your state of mind before you begin studying, you can save yourself countless hours of inefficient studying.
We have all experienced inefficient studying. This is when you try reading a passage over and over again and it still doesn’t make sense. A student who studies inefficiently have to repeatedly review information before it sinks in. By getting yourself in the right ‘state of mind’ and those alpha brain waves move, you’ll be able to study efficiently.
When a student doesn’t take the time to prepare for their studying time, they may begin to study inefficiently in other ways. Inefficient studying has many compound effects including:
– contributing to procrastination
– increases academic stress
– causes a fear of failure due to inefficient studying
– causing a feeling of being overwhelmed, and
– creating an overall negative association with studying
By spending just a few minutes to properly prepare before studying, you can improve your study efficiency and make it a more enjoyable activity.
Your preparation goals are simple; ensure that your mind and body are relaxed and your study environment is adequate before you begin your study session. You will want to create the best state of mind for learning. To do this you will need a quite, comfortable, study environment and you must also feel relaxed, alert, focused and in the alpha state of mind. Preparing your study environment The first step is ensuring that your place of study is adequate for your needs. The environment in which you study has a direct impact on your study performance and you will need to ensure that they are right for you. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself:
The biggest mistake most students make when preparing is their study environment. Your study environment is your own personal study sanctuary. It should only be used for studying, but for many people this isn’t an option. So they resort to other poor study environments such as school cafeterias, coffee shops, in front of the Television, on your bed, in the kitchen, etc. The list can go on.
Typically the best place is a separate room just for studying. For many people this is impossible, so the second best choice would be to have a desk in your bedroom without any external distractions, such as a television. Public venues like library or school study rooms and university study rooms are all good alternatives.
A back-up study place is also helpful for those times where your primary environment is not suitable. Rather than wasting time looking for another study environment, have your backup handy for those odd occasions. A backup study place can also be any of the aforementioned areas.
Comfort is a very important preparation step and because studying is a very sedentary activity, comfort should be a premium requirement. Spend the extra money on a correct height, ergonomic table and chair. Ergonomically designed equipment can relieve the muscle strain and fatigue associated with sitting for long periods of time. Also consider the other factors in your study environment.
The lighting in your study environment has a dramatic impact on your ability to study. There are generally three types of light sources which have three distinct light spectrums; natural light, fluorescent light and incandescent light.
The very best is natural light. If this is not available then incandescent light is the next best alternative which is light which is given off as a result of being heated. Most home use this type of lighting. The poorest form of lighting is fluorescent that caused by exposure to radiation and these are most commonly found in institutions and should be avoided if possible. Preparing your mind Your mind and body function best when they are in top form. However, people generally focus more on body well being and forget to relax the mind. Your brain is where all the action will be taking place when you are studying, so it is just as important to prepare your mental state of mind as it is your body. Visualization Although visualization is an ability we have had for thousands of years, it has only been through recent research in this area that it has noted its benefits.
Most of the studies involve athletics and their improvement through the use of visualization. Some studies have shown that by visualization alone, some participants were able to increase their muscle bulk by up to 40%. This is without even lifting iron.
Visualization is a powerful and simple technique. It involves ‘visualizing’ the activity you want to do. Gymnasts frequently use this technique to help them learn a new move. They will use visualization to play the move in slow motion in their mind detailing every single move and in multiple angles until they feel comfortable with it. Visualization has allowed many gymnasts to perfect their moves without even being in the gym.
Visualization is also a technique that can be used for study preparation. It can be used by the student to visualize:
-The quantity of work that will be completed during the study session.
– By visualising being in a relaxed state during studying.
– By visualising the material and depth of coverage that needs to be studied.