In developing your lifelong ability to study and remember effectively it really does matter where you study. I highly recommend that you have a separate place to study and do school work. No, not at the kitchen table, in that comfortable spot at the end of the couch or propped up on a dozen pillows in your bed. I recommend a separate table even if it’s just a small coffee table. When you are in this separate space you are actually training yourself to get into right mindset for study and learning. I have a shelf that I call my ‘shelf of learning.’ I keep books and other things I intend to read and study here and it’s where I go for serious study time.
Contrary to what many people think, studying in a variety of places is not good training. The human brain likes to get used to doing the same thing in the same place. By having a designated place to study, learn and do school work your brain remembers the environment and the conditions, remembers being here and goes into learning state. This is referred to as Sensory Based Memory. When you bounce around from place to place to study the brain is in unfamiliar territory. When things look, feel and smell the same the brain links those environmental conditions with the act of studying and learning. It’s the best way to get your brain on your side for effective learning outcomes.
If you really want to take it a step further when getting ready for a test try simulating the exam environment. That means no TV, no radio, sit in an uncomfortable chair and treat yourself as though you were really there – taking the test. Sit up straight, no pizza boxes and notes all over the place – even dress like you’re going to class! As strange as it sounds, this signals ‘serious time’ to your brain and separates play time from work time. Not only will you be surprised at the results but you’ll be teaching and preparing your brain for the working world of the future.
However you go about it, take your study – and your learning – seriously by learning and adopting proven study skills and study techniques. Your academic success should be based on skill, not effort. That really is studying smarter not harder. Use a method to maximize your ability because effort is not enough. You must use strategies – either mine or someone else’s – and stop ‘winging it.’ Even with the best of intentions, stressing and cramming is no way to compete in this global enviroment. Not in the classroom and not in the workplace of the future.