Top 10 Tips For Studying At Home
The thought of studying at home rather than at school or on campus seems very tempting at first; you’re not stuck to a schedule, you can study from the comfort of your couch, and there’s snacks just a few metres away in the kitchen…
In reality, however, even the most disciplined student can get distracted when studying from home. From the buzz of your mobile phone to the interruptions from family, it’s important to learn how to study at home properly. Here are our top 10 tips to keep you focused and motivated when it comes to your studies.
1. Create The Perfect Study Environment
This is one of our top tips for studying at home – in fact, we’ve written an entire blog post dedicated to creating the right study room or space within your home.
The correct study space goes a long way in helping you study. It can help you to focus with the right lighting, block out distracting noise with a good set of headphones, and a comfortable, ergonomic chair will save your back during longer study sessions.
You can set up a whiteboard to jot down ideas and notes, grab some stationery you love using, or dress the space up with some indoor plants or candles. Keep it tidy, or if you’re more of the creative type, let it get a little messy and spontaneous. The more inviting the space, the more likely you are to use it.
2. Study At The Right Time
One of the great things about studying from home is the level of flexibility you have to pick the time at which you study. Rather than cramming between classes, you can instead choose a time that you find yourself to be at your most productive. Maybe it’s the first thing in the morning after breakfast? Or maybe you prefer to set the evenings aside to fit in a bit of study?
Whatever time you choose, try to make it a time where you feel alert.
3. Create A Time Table
When it comes to how to study effectively at home, a timetable is a very valuable tool, especially if you plan to study for more than one subject. Sit down and block out dedicated times for each subject, making sure that the times you set are manageable and won’t leave you burnt out by the end of the day. Make sure you schedule in breaks as well to refresh yourself mentally in between each study period.
4. Use A Timer
Whether it’s a kitchen timer or the stopwatch on your mobile phone, a timer can help keep you focused purely because it’s there, reminding you to stick to the task at hand and push forward with your studies. There’s also free time-tracking software you can try, including Toggl and Clockify. Setting a timer will commit you to your studies until the alarm rings for you to finish, for a more productive study session.
5. Try Some Active Study
If you’ve never heard the term “active study” before, it’s a rather simple concept. It’s actually as simple as taking a step back and asking yourself some questions before, during and after your time spent studying. This helps to give your studies direction, and at the end allows you to reflect and improve for your next study session.
Some questions you could ask include:
- “What do I already know about this subject?”
- “Do I understand what I have just read?”
- “How does this information fit with what I have previously learnt?”
- “Can I paraphrase this information into something simple?”
- “Are there any keywords or phrases I should write down?”
- “What can I take away from this study period?”
- “Is there anything I need to learn for next time?”
6. Get Any Pressing Chores Out Of the Way
If you’re wondering how to study at home without getting distracted, one of the best things you can do to help your chances is to get any chores out of the way. If you sit down to study, and then notice that you need to put some dirty laundry in the washing machine, that messy pile of clothes is going to distract you from focusing on the study you need to get done. As a bonus, when you’re done cramming, you’ll be able to relax without having to worry about doing boring housework!
7. Get Plenty Of Sleep
There’s no doubt that for many students, a bad night’s sleep leads to a bad day in class. And the same can be said for when you’re learning how to study at home. Aim for at least 8 hours a night – this is enough to keep you alert for the next day, allowing you to retain knowledge for exams much easier.
8. Eat Right
Good food can keep your head clear and your mind focused. It’s important to eat a good breakfast the day of your study session, to keep you fuller for longer. Healthy snacks are a great way to keep you fuelled up for the day, but make sure they are quick to prepare or prepared ahead of time, so that you don’t spend too long away from your desk.
9. Keep In Touch With Your Fellow Students Or Teachers
If you’re going to be away from school or university for a while, or are learning remotely, keeping in touch with fellow students and teachers can be a great way to stay motivated on your studies.
You can choose something simple, like an email to your tutor once a week to make sure you have all the current lecture notes, or something a bit more involved like a video chat with a group of your fellow classmates to go over course material.
It also helps bring you a sense of socialisation, so that you don’t become too bored or lonely at home.
10. Find Some Motivational Music
Unless you’re the sort of student that requires a very quiet place in which to study, a playlist of good tunes can be used as an excellent tool to boost productivity when you’re learning how to study effectively at home. Some types of music have proven to be more stimulating than others, however, so don’t turn up anything that’s a bit too distracting.
For a productive home study, we recommend listening to the following:
- Classical music. It’s not everyone’s favourite, but researches have claimed for many decades that classical music does wonders for the mind, so much so that they have given it a special name: “the Mozart effect”. Some people think that classical music enhances brain activity while also relieving stress. As classical music does not tend to have any distracting lyrics, it’s also a great choice for your studies. If you’re not sure which composers to listen to, start with Bach, Mozart, Beethoven or Vivaldi.
- Video game music. While you might think that video game music would be a distraction, the opposite is in fact true. For certain video game genres, such as RPGs or “roleplaying games”, the background music has often been composed so as not to be a hindrance to the game experience, but to enhance it. This can lead to engaging, elevating music that will power you through your study timetable. If you’re new to videogame soundtracks, games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Final Fantasy series and the Assassin’s Creed series all have excellent soundtracks.
- Music between 50 to 80 beats per minute. This is the sort of music that puts your brain into what is known as the alpha state. Typically, we tend to be in a beta state of mind with heightened alertness, but when we’re in the alpha state, our mind is more relaxed, receptive and open. This sort of music enhances activities that involve our imagination and memory, helping to retain knowledge in a much better way. If you’re not sure what songs even fall into this category, check out this YouTube playlist for ideas.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to study effectively at home, be sure to check out our careers blog for the latest industry trends, career overviews and more.