As a student, you know that you have to study to perform well and absorb the material you learn. However, finding the motivation to study for many hours in a week can become challenging. Studying can either be boring or challenging — and sometimes it can just seem to be too overwhelming. But is there was a way to make studying fun? Here’s a list of all the different ways to learn how to make studying fun.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
How to Make Studying Fun
Every person learns in their own way. From auditory to visual learners and reading to kinesthetic, each student has their own optimal way to absorb information. Depending on how you like to study, you can choose one or many of these ideas to spruce up your routine.
If music isn’t too distracting while you study, turn up the tunes. Listening to music while you study can help you get into a flow and rhythm, no pun intended. To avoid lyrics becoming a distraction, you can try listen to classical music or instrumentals. For some ideas, Spotify and YouTube offer study playlists that are already pre-built. For many people, music is the perfect ingredient to elevate their mood and keep them studying longer.
Another idea, if you’re creatively inclined, is to try to make up music or raps to memorize facts and words.
Make Your Work into a Game: Did you ever think about turning your studying into a game? There are online resources that allow you to create flashcards of your customized material, which means you can test yourself. For example, you can use Quizlet, which gives you the option to choose from pre-made flashcards or make your own. When you test yourself, you can tally up points and make it into a game for when you get material right.
3. Be Creative
Creating a game is just one way to be creative while getting your work done. Consider the following ideas, too:
- Use Diagrams – Like using flashcards, you can outline your information in different ways than just on lined paper. Using diagrams can easily help you separate information and visualize facts. Through visualization, it may become easier to memorize ideas and facts. Some ideas for diagrams include: bar graphs, pie charts, venn diagrams, and mind maps.
- Doodle to Illustrate – Whether or not you’re a good artist, you can always draw out your notes. This could entail drawing cartoons that have speech bubbles with facts and information. Also, if you are better at retaining information by listening to it, you can listen to videos, audiobooks, podcasts, and the like while doodling to stay concentrated on the information. Doodles don’t have to make sense but they may help you stay focused better.
- Make a Recording – When you write things down, you learn the information both while you are writing it and reading it. Likewise, if you want to remember something, especially if you like to listen to learn, you can record yourself. Try to recite a poem, song or just information to the sound of some music and listen back to it.
- Make mnemonics – A mnemonic is a pattern of letters, ideas or associations that is useful for memorization. For example, in math, a common example to remember the order of operations is “PEMDAS – Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally”, which stands for Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract. You can make your own mnemonic to memorize anything! Try it out.
4. Be Silly
When you study, the time is yours to make it and take it as you wish. No one is around to judge you, so along with being creative, try to have fun and be a little silly. You may want to run around your house role-playing a character from history. You may want to put on a show and rap out scientific terms you need to remember for an upcoming test. No matter what silly means to you, having the freedom to act as you please will relieve stress and help you learn.
5. Study Groups
Beat the boredom of studying alone and invite friends for study groups. Study groups can be incredibly beneficial because if one person doesn’t understand a topic, you can rely on the group to assist. Study groups actually function the way that many online universities do in terms of collaborative learning. To exemplify, at the University of the People, coursework is based on a pedagogical model, which means peer-to-peer learning takes place.
Another idea for students who study together is to roleplay. Roleplaying allows students to reenact situations to learn. For example, if you have a history exam coming up that is about how World War I started, each student can represent a different country and their political views during the conflict. Creating a scenario in which conversation occurs can be more easily memorable for an upcoming test.
Many people can get into good habits by creating a positive feedback loop based on a rewards system. This works by giving yourself something to look forward to when you complete a task or spend a certain amount of time working on one subject.
When you are managing your time as a student, it’s useful to create a schedule and break down your time blocks according to your needs. To illustrate, you can set aside one hour to study for math, one hour to exercise, a few hours to socialize, one hour for another subject, and so on. When you complete one block of time working on a task, you can reward yourself with a break, a treat, a phone call to a friend, or whatever other activity brings you joy.
This useful tip is especially beneficial for people who are visual learners. You can take color coding notes to the next level by creating illustrative graphs or visual representations of content. Not only will this make your notes more fun to both create and review, but it can become a more efficient way to remember information.
Aesthetics can go a long way. Try to buy stationary you actually like to use and find your favorite writing utensils so that when you work, you can create an enjoyable experience.
Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash
In the same way that your resources should look nice and clutter-free, so should your study environment. You should choose the environment that works best for you to focus and learn. For some people, that means a quiet and cozy corner. For others, they may prefer to be in a busy cafe and can zone out the noise.
9. Study in Different Places
If you don’t yet know what works best for you, try a few different places and time yourself. See how long you can stay focused and then based on the location that allowed you to focus the best, recreate that environment each time you study. If you happen to work well in a variety of environments, switch it up from time to time so that you don’t get sick of always being in the same place. You may find that you study math better in a library, but you write papers better in a cafe. That’s a good thing to take notice of and set a schedule for when, where, and what you study.
10. Get Comfortable
No matter where you choose to study, you want to be comfortable so that you can stay focused for longer and remain distraction-free. Here are some things to consider when you are creating your comfortable study environment:
- Have snacks close by – Studying requires brain power and energy. Choose some protein-packed snacks like almonds, yogurt, or fruit. Try to avoid high sugar snacks because they will cause a crash.
- Have good lighting – No one can study in the dark! Be sure that the light suits your needs.
- Have good ventilation – Fresh air will help you stay energized and focused.
- Sit in a comfortable chair – One of the most important things about sitting for a long time at a desk is good posture. This requires a comfortable chair where you can sit up straight and your feet can touch the floor.
As a diligent student, you may find that you pressure yourself too hard to get things done. While it’s good to be strict with your time, it’s equally important to take breaks. Breaks allow your mind to absorb the information and refresh before getting back to work.
But not all breaks are created equally. The best types of breaks for productivity do not overwhelm your mind with overstimulation, but rather they give you the mental space to relax. For example, try to take a quick walk to clear your head. Or consider meditating to release your mind of any stress. Breaks should be proportionate to the time you spend studying. If you work for 30 minutes straight, try a 5-minute break. If you work for an hour without interruption, take a 20-minute break.
12. Get Interested in the Topic
There are times when the material you are learning is not interesting to you. It’s understandable — not everything is for everyone. However, it all can shift with the right mindset and habits.
One way to make something interesting is to switch up the traditional mediums of studying. For example, if you read a book and it’s been made into a movie, it’s okay to take a break and watch the movie. This may offer you a different perspective or insight about what you’re learning.
13. Change Your Mindset to Grow
Shift your attitude, perspective, and self-talk. If you hear yourself saying anything from a fixed mindset perspective, try replacing it with a growth mindset attitude.
- “I’m either good at it or I’m not” —> “ I can learn anything!”
- “Failure means I can’t do it.” —> “Failure offers me an opportunity to learn”
- “I will only do what I know.” —> “I enjoy trying new things.”
14. Challenge Yourself
There’s a saying that goes like this, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Only you are able to push yourself past your limits and do what you think may have once been impossible. If something is coming easy to you, don’t be afraid to level up and try to learn harder material. The only way to keep growing is to keep overcoming challenges.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, you want to be able to make learning fun, and these fun ways to study can help make this a reality. Although studying can undoubtedly become overwhelming due to the sheer amount of information you need to retain, that doesn’t mean it has to be dreadful.
As a student, especially one in college, you have a lot of freedom to decide how and when you study. Granted, you will have deadlines, but you also have more freedom than you did in high school to control your schedule. As such, you should aim to design your time surrounding school in a way that is most conducive and optimal to your preferred study methods to make the experience more enjoyable.