10 Simple Ways to Make Studies Easier There is no easy way to make your studies simpler; they will always be academically challenging, requiring a lot of motivation and work on your part. However there are some tips that you can take from this list to help you to utilize your time more effectively and stay motivated – after all, we could all do with some help in making our lives easier. You will still need to put in the hard work to pass that final exam or get your essay finished on time, but hopefully you can become more productive and make your studies easier.
1. Use an online dictionary
Finding words in a paper dictionary can be very hard and time-consuming: flicking through pages worth of words and having to skim to find the definition you are looking for can take much longer than simply typing a word into a search engine. Online dictionaries are a great way to cut out unnecessary time spent on studies; you can even just open up Google and use the “define:” prefix to your word for a range of definitions to appear. The use of an online dictionary is often more useful than a physical dictionary because they combine dictionary definitions with synonyms. Using an online dictionary is a much more efficient way of searching for a word, thus reducing unnecessary extra effort.
2. Use Google Alerts
Although you never want to directly quote sources online without giving due credit to the authors, you can usually find really useful articles and newspaper entries online about your topic. A great way of keeping up-to-date on web entries for a specific topic is to utilize Google Alerts. Google Alerts allow you to get updates on when websites contain phrases on your specific topic: you can set an Alert for the French Revolution, for example, and then when you are writing your paper you can find all of the relevant entries.
3. Use a timer
One way to keep your attention span at its highest is to study for short bursts of time rather than long, unproductive periods. You can use a timer – either a physical or online timer – to set time periods that you will study for before changing topic. If you have multiple papers due, you might want to spend half an hour on each, alternating between them throughout the day. That way you are much less likely to get bored.
4. Invest in an eBook reader
There is a multitude of free books online that cover thousands of topics. Investing in an eBook reader and spending some time looking for books that can help you with your topic is a cheap and easy way to find lots of relevant documents for a paper.
5. Utilize the internet
Although most students nowadays are familiar with the workings of the internet and how to find sources, some may overlook a simple Google or Yahoo! search for their topic. There are so many online resources, from past student papers to PDFs on your topic that you can search for online. You can simple search using CTRL+F to find relevant parts of an online document, to save you having to read the entire piece. A great way to save some time.
6. Make yourself comfortable
Being comfortable when studying is of paramount importance to being productive. Make sure that you have a desk and chair that are at the right height and that you are working in a space that you feel comfortable. You might want to get a gel pad to use with your keyboard to prevent RSI, and keep your monitor a good distance from your eyes to reduce the risk of eye strain. If you aren’t comfortable, you won’t want to study.
7. Find a quiet place
In addition to being comfortable, you want to study in a quiet place with as few distractions as possible. Make sure that you aren’t surrounded by distracting televisions and that there is no loud lyrical music playing around you. As soon as you get distracted, you will stop being productive. Libraries are a great place to study for this reason.
8. Use a grammar checker
There are various online websites and downloadable software that you can use to check the syntax of your sentences. Even if you don’t doubt your ability to write a coherent sentence that makes sense, using a third party to check your paper is always a good way to reducing proofreading corrections that you need to make.
9. Manage your time effectively
If you are going to be productive in studying, you really need to make sure that you are spending your time effectively. Use one of the many mobile schedulers to set time periods for your work, and keep to a strict schedule so that you are never wasting time which could be better spent studying. However do make sure that you schedule enough breaks and leisure activity – you are not going to work at your best if you are tired and grouchy from over-studying.
10. Word processing references
One of the godsends that came with word processing software is the ability to quickly organize referencing and footnoting in your papers. Most software will allow you to set a standardized format which it will then automatically stick to, minimizing the risk of lack of continuity in your references. This will substantially reduce the amount of time you have to spend checking that you are referencing correctly.