I never liked studying. Or rather, I was never really good at it. It boils down to my inability to retain attention for too long at a time. But as I grew older, I figured out how to work around that.
Use Post-it Notes!
Pictured above is my desk. It is usually messier than this but I had the opportunity to clean it over the holidays, but notice the stack of Post-It notes in between the box of Cards Against Humanity and camera. During my employment with a think tank back home, I learned a method called Design Thinking which uses copious amount of Post-it notes, utilising the same method designers use to conceptualise and execute ideas. You first define your issue, research on it, ideation or brainstorm, prototype, choose, implement and learn from your experience.
Please don’t think design thinking is only for prototyping – being able to systematically organise your thoughts lessens the stress, whether you’re sitting for a test or writing a paper. There is no point in cramming everything and end up remembering nothing!
A splash of colour
Every tutor here at BU will provide you with lecture slides, which are great and a big help. But I always find myself re-writing the lecture slides into my notebook, in my own method – everyone has a note-taking method of their own. I love using highlighters. I find that using colours for my notes by highlighting keywords or writing it in different colours, I’ll remember it better. Besides, using colours makes studying a lot less boring!
Maybe it is partially influenced by the American TV show Community,
but having friends to study with is insanely good for morale. On top of sharing the books we each had with each other, we rooted for each other to get our essays done. Of course, there are moments where studying alone with no distraction works, but sometimes distractions are good because you need a break once in a while, and nothing is better than being with friends.
Whether it’s chasing deadlines or studying for a paper, always remember to take breaks in between and get sleep enough. You can’t work efficiently without sufficient rest!
These are the studying methods that worked for me – the girl who has close to zero attention span. However, BU has an excellent Additional Learning Support group who will do their best to assist students with learning difficulties so nobody gets left behind.
By Lina Abdul Halim