Did your New Year’s resolution involve acing your classes, staying organized, or overcoming procrastination? It’s easy to make the most out of your time in college when your study habits are up to scratch.
Studying for liberal arts assessments is different from studying for courses in other college programs. Whereas typical career colleges assess students via black-and-white tests of their rote memorization skills, liberal arts colleges assess student progress through engaging discussions, well-crafted arguments, and evidence of thorough, critical, independent thinking.
Here are our top 5 study-boosting tips for liberal arts students:
1. Don’t Skip Sleep: Rest is Essential for Liberal Arts Student Success
Lack of sleep has been linked to impaired cognitive performance and a greater sensitivity to stress. And during exam season, sleep can serve double duty—boosting brainpower and strengthening the memories you build throughout the day.
During sleep, the brain strengthens new memories. Research suggests studying just before bed, so memories of what you read or discuss are the freshest. Students can boost their chances of remembering studies if they get eight to 10 hours of sleep per night leading up to the big day, and review their notes just before dozing off.
2. Turn Your Liberal Arts Studies into Memorable Stories
If you’re interested in liberal arts subjects like philosophy, history, social sciences, and English literature, it’s likely that this study tip will come easily to you.
A liberal arts student makes use of her college’s extensive library.
When studying, consider weaving the facts you learn into a memorable story. For example, when learning the order of the planets from the Sun, “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos” is much more memorable than Mercury, Venus, Earth Mars, Jupiter, Saturn Uranus and Neptune.
3. Move Around: Take Your Liberal Arts Education to New Environments
Research shows studying concepts in a different place every day makes us less likely to forget that information. Every time we move around, we force the brain to form new associations with the same material so it builds stronger memories.
If you pursue a liberal arts education in Chicago, you’ll have your choice of creative study spots to choose from. Whether you feel like studying at a local coffee shop, library, or campus greenspace, you and your friends will have plenty of environments to help strengthen your understanding and memory of the theories you encounter.
4. Review Notes & Ideas with Others Pursuing a Liberal Arts Education
Collaborative work is a mainstay of every good liberal arts bachelor degree. When you pursue this path, you’ll be immersed in an environment where ideas are shared and group discussion is encouraged in every class. Studies have shown that discussing information aloud helps it sink in more effectively than reading it alone.
Liberal arts students can combine brainpower to boost their study habits.
To optimize your study time, take this collaborative approach outside the classroom by building your own study group. Studying in the company of friends helps keep you accountable, review coursework from a range of perspectives, and look forward to study time.
5. Study Unplugged: Consider Disconnecting from the Internet
Every social media ‘ping’ is a tempting distraction to students studying online. We’ve all been there! But thankfully, if a computer is necessary for studying, you always have the option to minimize distractions by working offline, or by installing programs like the aptly named ‘Self Control’ app that blocks your access to the Internet or certain websites.
Research suggests that fully disconnecting from your computer for the hours before an exam can reduce anxiety, boost attention span, and even improve information recall.
Keep calm, unplug, and follow the tips above to make the most of your time in school, approaching every test prepared, restful, and stress-free.
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