Simple Ways to Beef up your Study Strategy
A common question I get from a lot of people is this: How do you manage to get a lot of things done and still be able to study? While it will be impossible for me to answer you in just a single post, I will try to dish out some actionable tips for you that I have learned as a student of studying (yes, you have read that right).
Before anything else, I want you put this in mind: Learning is a skill; thus it can be learned and practiced. Conversely, if you have had bad studying habits, these could be unlearned.
Here are some actionable tips you can use:
1. ALWAYS PLAN YOUR STUDY. Do this on a daily basis. Start off by determining your goals for that day. What notes and books do you plan to finish? After making a list of all these goals, estimate the number of minutes (not hours) that you'll need for each goal. I like to do this in "chunks" of 25 minutes (e.g. read my notes in Surgery = 25 minutes, read my notes in Internal Medicine = 50 minutes, etc). You'll know why later.
2. Once you have set your goals, ARRANGE THESE GOALS INTO A LIST. Always put shorter goals ahead of longer goals. This is a psychological trick that I have always used on myself. Accomplishing smaller goals ahead of longer ones fires up the reward center of your brain early. This will help you do more through out the rest of the day. If you start with more tiring goals ahead of the smaller ones, you'll feel tired right away. Chances are, you'll end up resting too long, and worse, procrastinating.
3. Once you have your list, it is now time to IMPLEMENT IT! Implementing is actually the most difficult part of it (you might have figured this out already). One of my favorite techniques which I also personally use is the "Pomodoro Technique".
The Pomodoro Technique was invented in the early 90s by an author named Francesco Cirillo. Cirillo named the system "Pomodoro" after the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work. The methodology is simple: When faced with a series of tasks, break the work down into short, 25-minute intervals (called "Pomodoros") that are spaced out by short breaks (5 minutes). For every 4 Pomodoros, you get a longer break (15-20 minutes). The beauty of this technique is that it helps you accomplish a lot more without burning yourself out. Plus, the breaks in between your "Pomodoros" help your brain to consolidate whatever you have read into memories. There are also apps (both in Android and in iOS) that can help you on your managing and keeping track your Pomodoros!
4. At the end of the day, LOOK BACK on how many Pomodoros you have accomplished. If you have a lot of unaccomplished goals, think back on why you were unable to do this. This will help you strategize better next time. If you think you've done well for that day, then reward yourself with a treat! You might also want to plan the next day ahead. I hope these practical tips help you in your studies. Good luck on your tomatoes!