Are you studying right?
Last month, I told you about some of my favourite study YouTubers, or StudyTubers, who help motivate me to crack on with my uni work on those days when I just really don’t want to get out of bed. Personally, I find watching other students getting their productive on truly inspiring, and it often gives me the little push of motivation that I need.
While these videos, from ‘study with mes’ to revision tips, can be helpful to the point of inspiring you to become a better person, I am also aware of how easy it is to slip into the dangerous student culture of comparing ourselves to others.
When I started uni, I met a tonne of the brightest and most high-achieving people I’ve ever known. At the same time, I discovered StudyTubers. Although I don’t think I’d have made it without the encouraging dedication of these people, there have been times when I’ve taken their advice a little too far.
It’s easy to look at people who have got all A*s at A Level, or our friends who reap in frequent Firsts in uni, and want to follow their example. But before you dedicate yourself to copiously imitating every action your classmate does in the hope of boosting your grades, take a step back and consider whether that particular technique will be right for you. For instance, I’ve spent the past two years trying to write essays by completing the introduction and conclusion last, simply because this is what my most talented friends told me works for them. I realised eventually that when I wrote these sections first, it helped me focus the rest of my writing on a clearer idea of what my argument was. Likewise, just because getting up to revise at 5:00 a.m. works for StudyTubers like Unjaded Jade, doesn’t mean it will benefit you. Everyone’s bodies and minds work differently from the next person, and that’s completely okay.
If you’re still not sure what styles of learning or techniques work best for you, take a quick study break to take the VARK test. VARK stands for ‘visual, auditory, read-write, and kinaesthetic’. Taking this short online quiz was a crucial stepping stone for me and helped me discover what kind of learner I am. It turns out I’m an auditory leaner – I retain new information best when I’m speaking to myself or others out loud. Since I took the test back in first year, I’ve been able to tailor my revision to the ways I know I work best. Rote-learning my exam material by writing it out a dozen times just doesn’t cut it for me! When I teach subject matter to my classmates, or even talk it through in my bedroom, I remember so much more when it comes to the exam. But, of course, this might be completely the opposite for you!
The bottom line is that when studying, we don’t have to be the exact same as everyone else. In fact, sometimes it may even work out in your favour not to be. What’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for you, and vice versa. Taking the time to try new learning methods until you find your perfect study style is the best way to truly get the most out of your studies.
Written by Sabita Burke