This one is tough to make suggestions for because people feel comfortable in different settings. To help figure out what kind of study personality you have give a few minutes to taking the Myers Briggs personality test. Your university library might have it available at no cost, so check their website before paying for the official online version or attempting a free, unofficial one. My results confirmed that I study best in quiet environments opposed to a coffee shop or student center. For example, my college library had a floor dedicated to group study, and it was a vibrant room usually filled with a lot of people and a lot of noise. I studied there with a friend one time, and while he loved the energetic atmosphere and thrived in it, I struggled to focus and get any good work done. I much preferred taking the stairs a few floors up to study in a quiet corner of the stacks. Here are some things to consider when choosing where to study:
Do you like it quiet or do you like having some buzz around you?
Do you like to be in your dorm/apartment or do you like being someplace public?
Do you study well with background noise like music or movies or do you need absolute silence?
How much time do you need? Can you get your work done in the time it takes to drink a coffee and eat a scone or do you need to dedicate an entire afternoon to your work?
Do you work better at a desk or do you like to lounge a bit?
Probably the most important thing to do when getting ready for a study session is to clear off your work space. Clutter makes for distractions and slow work. Turn off the video game, shelve the books you won’t be using, take down those old Post-its, and wash those dishes from the day before. As clean as your space should be, make sure you still have everything you need to get the work done, so that you’re not running around finding supplies and interrupting your work. Keeping your space clean will encourage focused work, which is what you will need to get your loads of class work done.
Notice the difference between these two pictures…While the first is not the worst that my work space has looked, it gets the point across. There is a bill to be paid just laying there, random cables I’m not using, a little bit of trash, and a distracting website (Traveler’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) that all add up to me not focusing on my work. The second, though, allows enough room for the books and papers I’ll need to work without any distractions in the way.
Stay tuned for more about effective study practices!