We’ve all been there: studying is just a necessary part of life. For many of us, these study sessions can be the most monotonous and least exciting part of our college careers. So how can we make studying fun – or, at the very least, make you less inclined to claw your eyes out?
Make it a Group Effort–The More the Merrier
Okay, so this one only goes so far. You invite too many people, and all of a sudden the “study” part of the equation goes completely out the window. But having classmates study with you can help motivate you to stay on task, especially for the sections you might have missed in class.
Treat Yo’ Self
Usually I don’t like to mix business and pleasure – but chocolate is always an exception. Dark chocolate has antioxidant properties that help maintain cognitive focus, and it has natural caffeine to keep you awake. Plus, it tastes really good. Munching on some chocolate will help keep you healthier and happier while you study. Just make sure you’re prepared to share.
Inspire yourself with a little song-writing
Last year, I had to write a review of the world’s most boring book, with a title I still can’t pronounce. My roommate saw I was struggling to keep my eyes propped open, so she grabbed a guitar and recorded a motivational ballad to inspire me to write the best possible book report on the “Varthamanapustakham” (I dare you to try and pronounce it). I still play what she called “Rose’s study song” whenever I need a little intellectual inspiration. Bonus points if you make a rap.
Make sure to invite someone who actually knows what’s going on in class. Your best bet is the guy in the front row seat who’s always taking arduous notes and has never skipped a class. This one can steer you onto the right track, and besides, it’s always good to go outside of your comfort zone and make new and unexpected friends. Suggest putting together a study group while in class and ask him if he’d be willing to join since he seemed to understand some of the material that you didn’t. If flattery fails, tell him about the chocolate.
Split up the studying into sections
This one might not sound like a party – but, the goal is to get a good grade on this exam. Making each person in the group responsible for explaining part of the exam material will ensure that you know all of the test components inside and out. Besides, experts such as nuclear physicist Frank Oppenheimer say that the best way to learn something is to try and teach it to someone else.
Hold your phones hostage
We all know that phones can be the biggest temptation when it comes to studying. It’s so easy to multitask and waste time flicking through social media that we almost don’t notice we’re doing it anymore. For optimum study time, get the group to pile their phones together on the table or somewhere out of the way. The first one to touch their phone loses—and you can choose the punishment. At my school, failing to stay off Twitter could mean getting pushed into the creek at ungodly hours of the night. The threat works especially well during the winter. If you don’t have a body of water handy, making the loser eat spoonfuls of mayonnaise or wax his leg works too. Get creative.
Break out the Taylor Swift
Once in a while, you need to take a break from studying and get the blood pumping. According to the New York Times, quick bursts of energy have been shown to improve memory and decrease anxiety, which adds to those pre-exam jitters. Nothing else works quite as well as a little impromptu dance party. One song is just enough time to shake it off – and then get back to business.
It’s not just me, right? This iPhone app is completely addicting. The best part is, it’s technically educational… so you can almost feel like you’re still being productive when you play. Starting a game against other people in your study group can be a great break and stress reliever, unless you get super competitive when you play.
Don’t forget to end the party
As we’ve all learned – and if you’re like me, you’ve learned the hard way – studying is essential to succeeding in college. However, a good night’s sleep is just as important when trying to ace an exam. According to Harris Health System, the best time to study is actually 6-8 p.m., not the early hours of the morning. This is when our brains are at their optimal alertness and are ready to absorb everything we need to cram in for tomorrow. So to really rock a study party, don’t burn the midnight oil for too long. Getting enough sleep will keep your brain sharp in the morning and lower the risk of you snoozing on your alarm long enough to miss the exam.