Studying is not something that comes naturally to everyone. And today, there are more distractions than ever, such as social media and streaming services. The key is to develop good study habits that keep you focused.
Time is valuable for pre-med students or anyone entering a healthcare field, so make good use of it and get the most from your efforts to study. This article can get you started with some tips on how to stay focused while studying.
Why Study Time Matters
Commitment to regular study is essential for academic success. As students move from elementary to high school and college, their study habits need to evolve. Instead of just doing an hour of homework after school, older students need to develop their own effective study routines. This shift requires strong self-management skills to stay on track and meet academic goals.
Evaluate Your Study Environment
Let’s begin by assessing your study environment. Do you have a specific spot dedicated to learning? Having a designated study area is crucial. When you sit there, it should mentally prepare you for focused learning.
This space should be designed for maximum concentration. It needs to be quiet, free from interruptions, and tailored to your study habits. Think about the tools you frequently use. If you often turn to digital resources, make sure there’s a spot for your computer or laptop.
For those who rely on physical materials, like aspiring pre-PA students (physician assistants), it’s beneficial to have journals and reference books close at hand. And don’t forget about lighting; it should be bright enough for comfortable reading.
Also, be mindful of potential distractions. A television might not be the best fit for this space. And, to further boost your focus, perhaps this area could be a phone-free zone.
Develop a Study Plan
Your study plan should start with a way to organize your work. For instance, you might have a calendar to remind you when papers are due or when you’ll take your next exam. This will allow you to map out your study time to ensure nothing sneaks up on you.
You also want to create a study routine as part of your plan. Routines help you get ready to do something. For example, perhaps you start your study routine by stretching or putting out your tools, such as a notebook and pencils. Maybe you take a moment to meditate and clear your mind.
Develop a Study Schedule
Establishing a consistent study routine is paramount. Consider dedicating four hours each evening or finding pockets of time between classes or before work commitments. The essence lies in crafting a schedule and adhering to it. This ensures clarity on when your study sessions are, allowing you to organize other commitments seamlessly around it, much like a professional work calendar.
Don’t forget to intersperse breaks within your study hours. Research consistently underscores the productivity boost from regular pauses. Factor in meal times as well; a focused mind requires nourishment free from the distraction of hunger.
Lastly, balance is key. Incorporate leisure into your routine. Allocate moments for family, fitness, and social interactions. After all, a holistic approach to time management fosters both academic and personal growth.
Separate Reading From Other Kinds of Study
When creating your study schedule, set up specific times just for reading. The amount of reading you need to do might change regularly based on your classes. For example, you might read more for your biochemistry class than you do for physiology. Do an assessment of your study time and figure out how much of it you will spend just reading material and taking notes.
This will allow you to factor in the time you have to complete assignments such as study projects or papers. If you know you have a paper due in a month but have lots of reading to cover, you might need to add more time to your study schedule.
Establish Actionable Study Goals
Tailoring study objectives is essential, and these can vary in scale. Initially, you might aim to immerse yourself in an uninterrupted hour of study. Subsequently, your objective could be to read and take notes on a chapter before concluding your study session.
Recognize that study milestones are inherently personal. It’s imperative to discern what resonates with your learning journey.
Upon delineating your goals, integrate a reward system. Meeting a milestone could translate to a brief social media indulgence or contributing to a savings fund for a coveted purchase. The key is to find what motivates and propels you forward.
Study in Groups
Your study schedule should include routine solo study but try to find some groups to participate in, as well. Study groups allow you to talk about what you are learning with others, to debate concepts, and to get support.
You might set up study groups for one class or with a couple of friends. Some schools might also have study groups you can sign up for, like one for pre-nursing students. Working together allows you to push each other to meet your study goals.
Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep allows your brain to process information. You should focus on getting quality sleep. You don’t need to sleep 15 hours a day. Just set up a routine that gives you six to eight hours of quality sleep to allow your body to regenerate.
Plan for Major Exams
You’ll want to carve out study time for specific exams like the MCAT. You may not know how to study for the MCAT. Crafting set study time can help.
Separate these significant exams from your regular study efforts and handle them as a unit. That will allow you to focus on how long to study for the MCAT and create a schedule.
Consider Ways to Get Hands-On Study Options
In healthcare, you learn the most by doing. Getting medical certifications online from Advanced eClinical Training (ACT) can give you the credentials you need to work in a hospital or clinic at a highly affordable price. That means hands-on options to learn and support your study efforts.
Getting your certification won’t take away from your study time either. You can enroll immediately and start working toward a medical certification right away.
Get Professional Support
If you have questions about how to stay competitive and the best way to ensure you get into graduate school, consider enrolling in one of our student mentorship programs. It is a more affordable version of a college admission consultant.
With guidance from a professional mentor who works in your field, you can get personal advice on goals to set for yourself, like passing the MCAT and what you need to do for acceptance into the program you want.
Enroll today at ACT to get the mentorship or certification you need to succeed academically.