Studying: A Process That Can Actually Be Fun

By Emma Bello, 10th Grade

Have you ever found yourself sitting in front of your notes trying to store information for a test you have the next morning but nothing’s working? Well I’ve got you. I’ve been in that position more times than once, and through the years I’ve found tips and tricks that have helped me make the studying process quicker, easier, and most importantly, way more effective. So why not share? Especially given all the upcoming tests and quizzes.

Firstly, and most importantly, take notes. Even if your handwriting is scribbled and your paper isn’t organised, just take notes. Write down everything you consider important from what your teacher is saying, read through books, websites, presentations, and other resources, and just take notes. Since most of it will be done in class, you’ll need to do minimal research when it comes time to study. 

Next you want to organise. Read through your notes and identify the most important information. Take a separate page and start rewriting your notes in a neater manner, structuring your information better and summarising points that can go together. Use easy-to-read handwriting and make sure to add headers whenever a new topic is introduced, that way you can make a clear separation for all the information. Writing and rewriting information is also a great way to learn something better. Kind of like how you rewrite a word five times to bore it into your memory for a spelling bee. 

To finalise the note-taking, add colour! Make your notes fun and visually pleasing to look at, while also making them easy to read through. There are many ways to do this but the ones I find most effective are the following:

  • Highlighters: Have three or four highlighters of your favourite colours at your disposal and assign a role to each. For example, blue can be for the headers, green for vocabulary words or keywords, purple for important sentences, pink for names and places, and orange for dates. I would personally avoid using pastel colours as you want the information to be as easily accessible as possible.
  • Doodles: This is a fun trick not many people do but it makes studying so much easier and enjoyable! In a large paragraph, it might be difficult to identify the key sentences. You can use a highlighter for that, but sometimes it’s good to diversify and try something else! Small doodles like hearts or stars at the beginning and end of each sentence you want to emphasise can take you a long way. And you don’t necessarily have to limit doodles to information purposes, you can just use them to decorate the edges of your paper to make it more pleasing to look at. Sometimes a bit of decorating can be just what you need to make studying much more enjoyable.
  • Bookmarks: This one is another one that makes finding your information so much easier. If you have a binder or notebook for all your subjects, or even just one dedicated to one subject, this will save you a lot of time. Simply take a thin post-it note and add the subject and one to five words explaining what the notes are about. For example, something like “Chemistry: Scientific Notation” works perfectly.

With these three additions to your notes, I promise your studying will already see so much improvement, and you won’t lose as much time trying to find a specific piece of info.

After the note-taking comes the actual studying process, and this is where most people get tired and lose motivation to keep going.

First off, get comfortable, but not comfortable enough to fall asleep! I used to study a lot on my bed, and I was out in a few minutes. Sit at a desk with your computer, notes, a bright light (preferably a table lamp), water and some snacks. Try not to make your desk too cluttered, though! 

Music can either be the reason you float or the reason you sink in a sea of information. It’s key to find the right music that works for you. I find that the best are either instrumentals or songs with a soft beat that you’ve heard a million times before, that way you can tune the actual song out and just use it as background noise. If you pick the wrong kind of music, however, it can cause a huge distraction, and you’ll barely get any proper studying done. So take your time and find the tunes that work for you!

Lastly, teaching. By teaching, I don’t mean getting up and giving a class on the topic, I mean explaining the topic to a friend or someone that needs help. Even if you don’t have a perfect understanding of the topic, when you need to help somebody understand it tests your own comprehension of the subject, and it forces your brain into finding different and simpler ways to explain. This helps you get a deeper understanding of what you’re teaching.

These are just a few of the hundreds of methods you can use when studying. Try them out, find what works for you, and stick to it!


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