The moment I left university, I had this exhilarating feeling that never again, would I have to revise for another exam, write another assignment or spend hours pouring over textbooks trying to take in the vast amounts of information.
Yet, two and a half years down the line, I find myself in this exact position; spending my weekends hooked to a computer screen, or with my nose in a textbook.
Now, I’m a firm believer that the more work and development opportunities I take on when I’m younger can help better my life and benefit me going forward, so I was more than keen to enrol myself on a brand new study and development adventure of a diploma.
I’ve now been committed to this diploma for the past 20 months… And I’m telling you now, it has not been an easy ride. It has caused me endless weekends cooped up in my study, travelling to work on weekends just to get some peace and quiet so I can concentrate on my work, and missing those oh so important after work drinks to listen to an hour long assignment briefing. It has not been a riveting few months, and I must admit I cannot wait for it to be over. However, I know that once I have achieved this milestone, I’ll have furthered myself in terms of my career and development, and I’ll feel proud of my own progression.
I know how hard studying can be, especially when it’s not something particularly riveting. So here are my top study tips if you’re trying to get yourself in the zone;
Face away from any windows
There is nothing more distracting than looking out of the window when you’re meant to be staring at a computer screen. Watching the traffic go by, the angry driver almost side swiped by a motorcyclist, the old lady waiting to cross the road with all of her waitrose carrier bags, the dog walker looking shifty as he pretends not to notice his dog doing his business on the pavement. One of the highest levels of procrastination and distraction lies in watching the world go by. So turn that computer screen towards a wall!!!
Put your phone on silent
A Facebook notification followed by a text from your best friend… Letting yourself engage in social conversation and social media is an instant distraction from your studies. Two minutes texting your friend back can turn into two hours of gossiping and browsing social media (well it does for me anyway!!!). Yet another form of procrastination, which includes making plans for that afternoon with your friends, when you know you should be studying. So put that phone on silent and only turn it over when you’ve scheduled yourself a break from your studies. Speaking of breaks..
Take a coffee break (this includes getting some fresh air)
Your mind can only focus on one thing for so long, before it starts to become disinterested and not digest what you’re trying to learn. By taking a coffee break, or even a simple walk outside for five minutes can clear your mind and help you to recoup your thoughts. Some of the best ideas I’ve had have popped into my head during my breaks. So this can also be a great way to spur on some motivation and creativity.
Relate what you are learning and apply it to your everyday life
Now, I myself have the struggle of applying what I learn to every day situations. I can read and take in a scenario and understand what is going on, however in two weeks time I won’t have the foggiest if you were to try to teach me again. In order to cement this theory or process in my mind, I myself need to apply what I learn to every day situations, so I can fully understand how I would use this in an every day scenario.
Every 45 minutes spend the next 15 minutes going over what you have just taught yourself
As mentioned previously, your brain can only take a certain amount of concentration and intake of knowledge before it drifts away into oblivion. So in order to retain as much information as possible, it is important to spend some time going over what you have learnt. Studies have stated that the brain cannot be fully engaged for more than 45 minutes, therefore every 45 minutes, ensure you spend the next 15 going over everything you have learnt to ensure you can retain as much key information as possible.
Commit yourself to a timetable and a schedule of learning
Nothing stresses me out more than not knowing if I’ve done enough work, or if I’ve given myself enough time to physically write an assignment or study for an exam. The way to alleviate this stress is by creating yourself a realistic study schedule to keep you on track. As long as you stick to it, you will not need to worry or stress that you’ll be unprepared.
So there you have it; my top tips for holding your attention span for as long as possible, and taking in as much information as you can.
In six months time I hope to have finally completed my diploma, and I’m sure again I will feel the sensation of ‘never having to do another exam again’. Of course, only until the next opportunity takes my fancy!!!