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by Rahul 25 Aug 2006, 13:59
1. Make appointments with yourself for study time (i.e., in your daytimer) so that it is clear to you when you're meeting or shirking your study responsibilities. Study appointments may be among the most important that you ever make and keep since they very much determine your career.

2. When possible, plan to study even if only briefly before scheduled pleasant events (e.g., parties, trips, visits). Over time, this will tend to "fool" your nervous system into believing that studying is fun because it seems to lead to a positive outcome. It will also allow you to enjoy positive events more fully because your conscience is less likely to intrude on them to remind you about the need to study.

3. It is a lot easier to study hard if you know that you'll get a break before too long. Frequent short breaks also reduce interference between different aspects of new information while allowing for its "consolidation." For these reasons, you might try to study very hard for 20-25 minutes at a time followed by a 5-minute break for a scheduled positive event (e.g., a snack, an exercise break, call a friend, etc.). After every 3 such study/short break cycles, take a 15-minute break, repeating this overall procedure until your study time or tasks are completed. Of course, the actual schedule that is best for you or any other individual varies--work out the study periods and cycles over which you can best apply yourself on a sustained basis.

4. Study your class or lab notes or tapes as soon after the class as possible. Not only will this greatly reduce memory loss and save a lot of time later, it will also help you to fix any errors or omissions in your notes or in your understanding of the material well before you get to the exam.

5. Studying is much more effective and efficient if it is spread out over time, rather than done all at once (e.g., as in cramming the night before). Spreading it out also allows for reviewing those things that you need to work on the night before and still get a good rest which is important for peak performance.