When I was a teen, I heard that we had to study as much as possible to grow and pass our exams. Studying seemed like something you had to do a lot. That was the way to learn and succeed.
I did that for some of my courses. Mostly the ones that were difficult for me. You know, languages and anything that had nothing to do with numbers.
The countless hours I stared at the lists of words to memorize! Looking back, I feel so dumb again.
Look at people these days. Some people put everything aside to focus on their studies only. They are the hustlers of studying.
There are a couple of 'mistakes' people make when they study. Let's have a look at them.
Students focus too much on the outcome.
People who want to graduate are clear on their outcome. They want that piece of paper that shows they received a diploma.
The problem is that they are not only studying. People often waste a lot of time thinking about the upcoming exams.
Thoughts about their exam often create stress. This stress takes energy.
Focus on your daily tasks. Over time, these will accumulate into being prepared for your exam!
Instead of thinking about your exam in 2 months, do this
- Go through 15 pages of your textbook
- Make three assignments
- Write an article of 200 words based on your daily notes
When you do this for two months, you made an enormous leap forward. Not only did you go through 900 pages of text. You also made 180 assignments. Also, you wrote over 12,000 words!
You are ready to pass your exam!
Studying is not a habit
Some students study when they have time, or when they feel like it. Let me ask you a question.
Do you only brush your teeth when you feel like it?
Or is it perhaps a habit?
Do you perform this habit one or two times a day? Maybe even three times?
Do the same with your studies. Study at least once a day. Creating a daily study habit helps you move forward.
You can start small. Begin by reading two pages. Add another page until you reach a number that feels good to handle.
Study a little bit in the morning and the evening. Take perhaps 10 minutes each time you study.
Don't worry about what others are saying. Stop thinking about statistics or study systems. It is all about you feeling good about moving forward.
Create that habit, and be amazed about what you can accomplish in a day, week, and month!
Studying is made too difficult
Why do we often make it so difficult for ourselves? There seem to be all these rules and regulations to do simple things.
The same applies to study when you look at some experts. You have to do all these specific things to become a smart student.
I feel you should go back to the roots of studying.
You read, then take notes, and then use and memorize.
I know that there are many things you can do to make each of these very complicated. But think about it.
- Reading becomes simple when you do this without taking notes or analyzing your input.
- You don't need to read fast. Make sure what you read. That's it for the reading part.
- After that, you analyze. You take notes and think about what you read.
- Then you use the information by writing about it, assignments, or real life action.
- In case you have some information you need to memorize, take care of that.
Simplify. You will be focusing on the present and make your life so much more rewarding!
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Understand why this is important
I believe everything above is formulated best in Einstein's 1922 famous note to a bellboy. Einstein learned that he received the Nobel Prize in Physics. He did not have money to tip a bellboy. Instead, Einstein gave him a piece of paper. On it, he wrote his Theory of Happiness.
"a calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success."
(the paper was sold in 2017 for $1.3 million)
Use this theory in your studies. Don't worry about the exam. This is so far in the future. You have to know that success comes through the daily progress you make, however small it may seem.
Here is a simple daily recipe for study success in the future:
- Ten pages per day
- Three assignments
- One concept to memorize
Try this in your studies.
Let me know how this works for you!
PS: in case you want to take your study tactics to the next level, have a look at my "Study Smarter, Not Harder" program.