If you’re studying for a test, exam, mid-term, or even a specific deadline, then you know how stressful studying English can be. You stay up all night studying, you drink an extraordinary amount of coffee, and you remind yourself of what could happen if you fail. It’s really not a fun time and it’s overly stressful. Besides the fact that a large amount of stress can be unhealthy for you, creating a stress-free study environment can actually help you remember and understand the material better. Here is some advice on how to create a productive study area so you can reach your English goals:
1. Get A Desk Calendar*
Whether you have a specific deadline you need to reach or not, purchase a calendar that you can have right there on your desk in front of you. This way you can simply write out all your test dates, exam dates or deadline dates. You can also write out what goals you want to accomplish by a certain date. So for example, on May 18th I might write: “Finish English poem.” It’s helpful to be able to look at the next two months to get a fresh look at your English goals and reminders. Write down a daily list of things you need to do in order to reach your ultimate goal or deadline. So, for example, I might write, “read over a poem for 5 minutes, read one stanza, write out definitions” every day until I reach my goal of finishing an English poem. By doing this, you keep yourself organized, and you keep your mind clear. You know what you need to do by a certain date, and you know what you need to do on a daily basis.
*I personally find that a large calendar works best. But, if you feel like another method is better for you, then use that method. The purpose is to keep you organized and on track without overwhelming yourself. You can use your phone, post-it notes, tabs on your computer or any other method you can think of.
2. Study Supplies
Before you start a study session, make sure you have all the materials you need in order to study properly. If you have all your study supplies ready, you won’t be distracted, and you won’t need to leave your study area every five minutes to frantically find a pen. Plus, buying your own personalized study supplies can make you feel excited about your studying time! Personalized study supplies can make you feel good about what you’re studying, and can actually improve your productivity. You’re more likely to stay motivated and put your study supplies to good use if you spent money on it. Having a good attitude about your study sessions will make them seem less stressful.
3. Create A Good Atmosphere
It can be really hard to study if you’re in the wrong atmosphere -noise from the TV, bad lighting, too many distractions. It stresses you out! So find a quiet atmosphere to work in. Make sure your space isn’t too comfortable so you don’t end up procrastinating but make sure it is relaxing and cozy enough to spend some time there. Make sure you have adequate but relaxing lighting – have a few lamps on or light some scented candles. If there’s anything else that relaxes and calms you, like flowers, put them in your study area. I like having something fragrant in my room when I study. I personally find that having a scented candle calms me down, and it makes studying a little more special. Some people even a “study candle” – when the candle is lit, there is no goofing off! It doesn’t have to be candles, lighting or plant life, but find something that relaxes you and include it in your study routine.
4. Methods of Studying
Sometimes I get bored when I’m doing just one method of studying. Try to have a small list of different study activities you can try in a study session. For example, you might read a poem for 5 minutes, write an English poem for 5 minutes, practice singing an English song for 5 minutes, and then something physical like jogging on the spot or stretches for 5 minutes. It’s important that you keep your mind and your body moving throughout your study session. Don’t let your mind get bored, and don’t let your body get bored. Plus, getting some physical exercise can relieve some added stress and tension!
If you incorporate these four methods into your studying, you will feel less stress and better prepared for your next deadline. You won’t be dreading your study sessions and you’ll feel more productive. These four specific methods are what I do to improve my studying time. What do you do? I’d love to hear your comments and ideas!