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Study Techniques

Time Management

Lack of time and the overwhelming feeling of stress often go hand in hand. Being able to manage both is critical when studying a topic for the first or fortieth time. Thankfully, there are proven tactics to help. In our fast-paced, always-on-the-go world, finding time to study can be very difficult. Prioritizing and organizing are two key concepts to help manage time. When faced with multiple tasks, it is helpful to finish the most difficult ones first (which are usually the most time consuming) and then move onto the easier, quicker tasks. Being organized makes it easy to find study materials, and organization allows for a calmer, less chaotic environment which can help one be successful.

Scheduling and using your time wisely is very important. Schedule off blocks of time throughout the week devoted to studying. Make sure they are long enough to make progress, but not too long so the work becomes drudgery. Small chunks of time, even a few minutes, can be used to review material. For example, time on the bus, breaks at work, or waiting for a movie to begin can be used to study or review.

Finally, it is helpful to have a ‘hard copy’ of important dates and assignments. Keep a to-do list of chores and assignments that need to be completed soon. Use a planner and a calendar to keep track of appointments, meetings, project due dates, etc. Knowing what is happening in the days and weeks ahead will allow you to plan your time more effectively.

Getting control of your schedule is one important way to ease the feeling of stress in your life. Stress can show up in a variety of ways. A change in eating or sleeping patterns, crying, feeling afraid or frustrated, and compulsively using drugs and/or alcohol to escape are all signs of stress. A counselor or a psychologist can help you deal with stress if you feel it is too overwhelming, or if it is adversely affecting your studies or other areas in your life.

There are a variety of ways to manage stress on your own as well. Setting realistic goals for yourself is a great place to start. Set high expectations for yourself, but realize you cannot do everything at one time. By prioritizing your life and your study goals, you can avoid overwhelming feelings that lead to stress. And try not to worry about the small things or things you have no control over.

Finally, it is extremely important to take care of yourself. Set aside time each day to relax. Eat well. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Try to stay positive. All of these will help you feel better and cut down on the amount of stress in your life.


Motivating yourself to study and learn is crucial to being successful. It is important to avoid procrastination so that you can be timely and efficient at finishing a project or studying for an exam. Develop a plan for yourself with rewards along the way. List the resources you will need, create a schedule that is not too extreme that you can stick to, and plan small rewards or goals at various intervals throughout the project to help keep you motivated.

There are two different types of motivation that can help you achieve your goals. The first is called intrinsic motivation. This is self-motivation, meaning you have reasons why you want to do something. Your interests, goals, and values are all intrinsic motivators. For example, you may want to learn the tango to perform at your wedding, or you may want to study world issues so you can apply to join a peace group.

The second form of motivation is called extrinsic motivation. This is motivation that does not come from you, but rather comes from sources outside yourself. Learning something because someone else, whether it is your mother, your boss, your teacher, or your spouse, wants you to is extrinsic motivation. Examples include studying for an exam so you do not get in trouble with a parent, or learning a computer program to get a raise. Extrinsic motivators are not as effective as intrinsic ones, so being self-motivated gives you a better chance at succeeding.

Self Discipline

In order to be successful at studying any genre, from quantum physics to the quick-step, self discipline is essential. Self-discipline is a positive step to improving yourself and your habits. It can be task-oriented, where you are selectively choosing to change certain routines or habits in order to achieve a specific goal. But learning to be a self-disciplined individual can also be a transformation in all habits, routines, speech, and even thought in order to help you become a better person and to help you attain all your goals.

There are a variety of tasks and tricks to help you become a more self-disciplined individual. Developing a daily routine and sticking to it is one way to help develop self-discipline. Try not to waver from the course of the daily routine, and avoid impulsive activity as much as possible. It may help to chart your progress in a journal or a daily log. This way, the truth is on paper and you cannot dispute it. Another exercise is to set one specific task you must complete every day for a specified period of time. Do not allow yourself any excuses to not complete the task. Eventually, this will become routine, and you will begin building study and review time into your day, which will also become routine.

When you are planning time for studying, do not cram multiple hours into one day, while avoiding doing work on other days. Instead, set aside time every single day just for the purpose of that specific task. Do not allow other tasks or appointments to interfere in this time.

At the beginning of each day, use your to-do lists and your agenda book to help list everything you want to accomplish that day. Then prioritize the list so the most important things get done first. Get started on the first task immediately. By knowing exactly what you want and need to do that day, it will make it easier to accomplish everything on the list.

* Study guide information provided by the Study Guide Zone. For more tips on studying, visit them at www.studyguidezone.com/resource_tips.htm

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Phone: 480-205-3414
Fax: 800-869-1929

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