How many times have you heard, "Study hard to succeed in school?" I would venture to say many times. The problem remains that the term 'study hard' remains undefined. Does it mean to put in more hours studying? Must one add supplemental material to assigned reading? Is pulling an all-nighter the answer? To each of these questions the simple answer is a resounding no. In fact, these, and many other related questions, fail to properly define the problem at hand. |
It is difficult to tell someone who completed a project that they needed to work harder. It is likely that working hard was not ever in question. The idea that one can work or study harder is disingenuous. If one believes that they worked or studied as hard as they possibly could the suggestion that they didn't work hard enough is out of bounds. No, very idea of 'study hard' must give way to 'study smart.'
Studying, like any other task that one must do to achieve success in school, requires a strategic approach. To assume that one factor is more important than any other leads to the 'study hard' idea. Study hard relies on the amount of time spent on the task. In addition, it relies on the productivity of the effort. Both of these fall under the classification of 'temporal' acts. Studying smart takes a full spectrum of activities into consideration as one defines the problem. Of course, studying smart includes time and productivity. It also includes place and organization; things that influence the effectiveness of study.
Prioritizing Study Tasks
To study smart one must prioritize one's efforts. Doing vital tasks first, and selecting the easier of the vital tasks to do first is most important. One may leave the less important work for later, even avoiding the work if there isn't time. Within both the vital and less important tasks, one should do the easier work first. This gives you a definite win from the start. Save the longer and more difficult tasks for later.
Place Variation Improves Effectiveness
Another of the things that affect the effectiveness of study focuses on where one chooses to work. Experts discovered that having more than one place to study aids in retention and recall of information. Choose up to five regular places to study. In my case, I studied in my study area at home. I also studied in the school library. I also studied in my local coffee shop as well as finding a spot outdoors with a bench and table setup. The latter was, of course. limited to the summer. I sometimes studied listening to music and sometimes in silence. Experts estimate that finding more than one place to study improves effectiveness by nearly 50%.
To study hard is for the birds. At effective study tips we argue that learning strategies for studying smart makes life easier as well as more effective. Prioritizing your effort and selecting more than one place to work are two strategic choices for studying smart.
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