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Making an efficient study plan

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Avoid temptations and distractions while studying
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How to make an effective plan for studying

Everyone has big tests to prepare for.  It happens in grade school, it happens in college, and although most students don't realize it, it happens in life after school as well.  One of the most important keys to success during these times is making an efficient study plan.

Studying is the key to acing any test, but you can't just study, you have to study correctly.  There are a variety of tips you can use to make your study time more fruitful.  We all hate to do it, but doing it correctly will mean studying for less time and remembering more of what you study.

Take Notes

Always be prepared to take notes and be sure to take informed, specific notes.  Instructors aren't trying to fool you, they actually want you to learn.  As such, they'll usually hint at the parts of their lectures to listen to carefully, if not even telling you outright that this or that part will be on the test.

If you miss a class for any reason, be sure to borrow notes to copy from someone else.  One way to make sure you always have the ability to take notes on the fly is to keep a small notebook in your pocket, backpack or purse at all times. .That way even if you forget the standard notebook, you can still take notes, It's also great for those spur-of-the-moment conversations when someone mentions a great study guide, website or fact as you're walking to or from class. No more hoping you can remember! 

Of course, there's always your Smartphone, too, but typing more than a few words on those can be challenging especially while you're walking or in bright sunlight. 

Make a Date

First, you need to dedicate not only a fixed amount of time for study, but specific time slots in which you'll fulfill those time commitments.  Don't just say "I'm going to study for two hours today and three hours tomorrow" or even worse "I'm going to study for twenty hours this week."  Rather, make a schedule with specific time slots set aside each day to study, put it on a calendar and then stick with that schedule no matter what.

If you discover that some great movie or sporting event is on TV during that time, DVR it.  If someone wants to go to dinner with you during that time, ask them to go at a different time.  If you're invited to a party, skip it!  Another one will come along.  You must be dedicated and absolutely committed to your study time, or it will be ineffective.

Bring a Friend

Studying can be far more effective if you partner with someone.  Make sure the person you choose to study with is fully committed to studying, rather than partying, socializing or anything else that will distract you from the studying process.

You can also drill with a team in preparation for a test, but one-on-one studying should be done before reaching that point with a group.  It's important that the person you choose to study with be serious and if possible, more intelligent than you are.

Sleeping and Eating

You must remember to get plenty of rest and eat properly.  Avoiding eating because it takes time from studying will make studying harder and less effective.  Studying late into the night and exhausting yourself is counterproductive and will damage your ability to retain information.  It will also burn you out on studying and make it less likely that you will stick with your study schedule.

And as bad as studying to the point of exhaustion is, studying and then staying up all night partying is worse.  Your subconscious mind needs time to soak in all that it has covered and that's not going to happen while you're partying.

If you're studying for many hours, be sure to take ample breaks.  Not little ten or fifteen minute breaks either.  You need to allow your brain to have a real rest every few hours with a real half hour or hour long break before hitting the books again.

No matter what your study plan consists of, be sure to make a solid plan and stick with it.  If you follow these simple tips and truly dedicate yourself to the task, you'll be amazed at the difference it makes in your test results.

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