studying study
Learning is a highly personal experience so work out how you work best. Source: Shutterstock.

With hard work comes reward… And nothing quite matches the feeling of satisfaction and pride you get when you receive good grades.

But sometimes you work hard and just don’t reap the rewards, which can be incredibly frustrating to say the least.

So how do you ensure you get those top grades every time?

There is no set answer to this question, but there are definitely ways you can increase your likelihood of doing well through enhancing your studying techniques.

Losing the will to carry on studying? Mix it up a bit. Source: GIPHY.

According to the University of Bristol’s academic study skills developer Simon Gamble, “recent research says one of the best ways to learn something is to imagine teaching it.”

“Think about how you would explain it to someone in a classroom, as you need to know how something works in order to teach it,” Gamble told The Guardian.

In the past, it was widely accepted that students fit into one of four distinct styles of learning: activists who learn by doing; theorists who favour concepts and facts; pragmatists who test ideas to see how they work; and reflectors who watch others and analyse.

People believed if you found your learning style and stuck to it you would be bound for success. However, this is largely regarded as counterproductive.

“It’s more about what you’re trying to achieve and what’s the best way of getting there. I try and steer people away from saying: ‘I’m a visual learner’ because they can get themselves in a rut with that,” Gamble said.

“Really, being an active learner is the key to success.”

So, become an active learner by taking control of your studying and following this advice…

Work out how you work best

What distracts you? What keeps you motivated? Do you like to be sat at a desk or splayed out on the floor? Listening to music or in total silence? Studying in a group or going it solo? Try things out by trial and error and see what gives you the best results.

What works for one person might be totally ineffective for another, so figure out how you like to get things done and stick to it, however, don’t be afraid to mix things up once in a while.

Make ‘to do’ lists

‘To do’ lists are your friend. Prioritise what you need to get done first and put it at the top of the list and work your way down, one by one. Splitting up tasks makes them look much less intimidating and will help you stay focused on your ultimate goal.

Give yourself enough time

Time, on the other hand, can be your enemy if you let it. Use your time wisely and you will most likely be destined for success; use your time poorly and you’re doomed for failure.

Be realistic about the amount of time you have. Way ahead of time, list all your deadlines to help you visually see what needs to be done and when, so you are able to prepare for it and, as a result, are less likely to find things overwhelming when it comes down to it.

The key here is: make an effort to plan how to spend your time. A failure to plan is a plan to fail, as they say.

Work in a group

Don’t always work on your own, even if you find your work best without the distraction of other people. Remember what we said about teaching being an effective learning method? Well, put that into practice by trying to teach your friends.

Question yourself

Really don’t enjoy working with others? Test yourself. Challenging yourself by asking questions and trying to answer them without checking for the answers online or in your textbooks can be really effective.

Use your time wisely

Remember, just because you are sat at your desk looking at your papers doesn’t mean you are being productive. It is much more worthwhile spending 15 minutes totally focused on the task at hand than spending two hours sat there half-arsing it.

Take breaks

If you find yourself lagging, take a short break. Stand up, walk around, get some fresh air or grab a snack and you’ll return to your studies refreshed.

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