Three Study Skills They Don’t Teach You In College
Midterm season is in full swing and students everywhere are slaving over books, churning out endless papers, and in general stressing out. While I don’t know if this applies to other graduate students out there, now that I’m in grad school I study WAY more than I ever did in undergrad. My study methods coming into my MBA program were rather limited. So I have picked up a few things over the past 2 years from personal observation and trial-and-error. The least I could do is share with you some of the skills I have picked up that they missed in freshman seminar.
1. The art of the all-nighter – While I may have pulled a few of these in college, I didn’t understand how to do this and still manage to stay awake in my 8am calculus class. Luckily, Tex put a comprehensive guide into achieving such a feet in his article “How to Pull An All-Nighter, A Rarely Told But Powerful Secret.” After taking away some of his key suggestions I moved on to the discovery of the 5-hour bomb. While this brilliant concoction of a 5-hour energy dropped into a Red Bull is sure to have some serious long-term detrimental effects on my health, it has the short-term benefit of getting me through many a long night of studying. When you have reached the point where you have to consider taking caffeine through an IV this is a less invasive alternative.
2. Location, Location, Location – Yeah yeah, the library is the most conventional location for a major study session and it’s the location my professors in undergrad tended to suggest. However, I find it not always to be the best. For those of you who have been around Baruch during midterms and finals you know that not only is it a place to do work, but a dorm as well. Yes, the cushy green chairs are comfy and when you get two of them together it turns into a magical nest, but seriously, go home.
Personally I require background noise, opportunities to take mental breaks, and to not get “shushed” whenever I say anything so I tend to go elsewhere. Coffee shops are a great location. Panera Bread has free refills on coffee as well as many tasty snacks so it is a great spot. For some of the more liberal students out there I have often observed studying in bars. Not sure how effective it is, but in my experience bartending in Boston it was not rare occurrence to see students holding group study sessions or project meetings while I was working. I have also been guilty of doing it, but I was either working or it was football Sunday. Sorry Professor, but sometimes the Jets are just a little more important. Either way, you need to ultimately decide what type of environment works for you.
3. Study Breaks/Silent Dance Parties – Silent dance parties you ask? Why yes, I have often observed (as well as participated) in this phenomena where people will start dancing to whatever is playing on their mp3 player. Silly? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely! Study breaks are essential to the study process. One cannot simply shove information into their head in one go, we are not in The Matrix. It doesn’t matter if it’s dancing, reading something for fun, or Facebook stalking just take a few minutes away from studying. I have been known to start randomly breaking out some moves in the library, office, client site (sorry boss) because my personal happiness is definitely affected my ability to attempt to Dougie in front or random strangers. After finishing a few chapters of practice problems I fully support putting headphones in, the volume up, and getting down!
While some of these methods that I have started to pick up are not for everyone, they seem to have worked for me. For those of you who are still finding your groove you may find some of these suggestions useful. I wish all of you luck on your midterm quest. Happy studying.