“Look carefully how you walk! Live purposefully and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise, intelligent sensible people.” Eph. 5:15 (Amplified)
The following study methods have been set up for those attending college, however the principles can be adapted for individuals who prepare studies as well.
The ABC’s of Effective Study
A. Set a specific time for study each day
B. Stick to your study schedule
C. Be faithful to that time period
General Guidelines for Wise Use of Study Time
1. Remember that well-arranged time is a sign of a well-arranged mind.
2. Memorize this: “I haven’t got time to procrastinate!”
3. Eliminate low-priority items whenever possible. Think. Ask yourself, “Is it more important for me to_____________or to study for_________________.”
4. Evaluate how you are using your time now. Make a list of how you spend each hour for the next five days. Warning! The shock may be fatal.
5. Identify the time of day you are most productive. If you’re not a “morning person,” change as soon as possible. Do not stereotype yourself as if you cannot change a habit. Self-analysis of your best “prime-time” will help you become the most productive.
6. Look for “holes” in your schedule: those 10-15 minute slices of time which you can use to review, study, etc.
7. Establish realistic goals for yourself. You are the best judge of your own level of current self-discipline and what it will take to form new study habits.
8. Get help when necessary. Any instructor worthy of the title will clarify what is unclear.
9. Be somewhat flexible with your schedule. Don’t let it rule your life. It’s there to serve you. Don’t become a slave to it.
10. As much as possible, stick to the schedule you have made for yourself. If you design and make a schedule, you’ll tend to keep it. If someone else designs it, you probably won’t.
11. Don’t schedule every minute of every day. be realistic in your planning…and plan some R&R time as well as recreation. “A just weight and balance are the Lord’s” (Proverbs 16:11).
12. Become an advanced planner immediately. Give yourself plenty of time to complete assignments on time. Prioritize assignments and begin early.
13. Look at next week’s schedule regularly. Post it where you see it readily. Plan for those unexpected activities which may upset your study schedule. Read two good books on time management.
Additional Hints For Organizing Study Time
A. Determine that you can and will become efficient.
B. Realize that the time needed for class preparation will vary from week-to-week. Know with clarity what your assignments are, when they are due, and how much time you will need to complete each one. This is the real value of a good, sensible schedule.
C. Bear in mind that how you will study for each class will depend upon what is expected of you in that course. Ask yourself, “What is coming up in the next class?” Act on it.
D. Remember that study is hard work. Getting organized, being alert, preparing to learn and becoming properly motivated are the key ingredients of successful learning.
E. Keep all your assignments in the front of each course notebook as well as on your weekly calendar to avoid missing any assignments.
F. Devise your own schedule. If you design it, you are more likely to use it. However you choose to create it, you must be able to understand what’s due and when, at a glance. Design an area for long-term projects. These tend to be put off till the last minute.
G. Flash Cards (3×5”) are an old, tried and proven memory prompter. They can be carried easily for ready-reference when you have those “spare moments” to study.
H. Write down questions/observations from reading assignments. Don’t wait until you’ve finished a chapter to ask yourself “What did I just read?” If you own the book, mark it up! Highlight it! Write notes/comments in the margins. Use note paper if you don’t own it.
I. Realize that good, clear concise class notes are your best insurance against forgetting.
J. Don’t copy information from books word for word, unless it is a direct quote. Put your thoughts into your own words. This proves you understand what you have read. Also, by so doing, you will tend to remember it.
K. Remember that time spent reviewing is time saved. “Cramming” for tests, quizzes and exams is counter-productive. It is what you consistently review that tends to stick with you.
L. Discover a sanctuary – a quiet suitable place to study each day. The right environment will help you to concentrate. Only you can find this place and discipline yourself to go there.
M. Collect all the materials you’ll need before you begin to study: pens, notebooks, books, etc. Interruptions break concentration.
N. Turn off the e-mail and the cell phone. Let your calls go to voicemail. Eliminate any and all electronic interruptions. Never study with a TV on.
O. Oh, by the way, you have to make the decision(s) to make all of the above work for you. No one else can make these decisions for you. Self-discipline and motivation will move you into action. By asking and allowing the Holy Spirit to help you, you will develop new habits that will guarantee your success in college…and throughout your life, ministry and career.