Talk to a college student, and nine times out of ten, they’ll lament just how difficult college is. It’s not as easy as ‘buckling down and studying hard.’ The college has many different facets that make it a challenge to survive, never mind succeed in. The term ‘life hacks’ implies that you are somehow cheating by using them, but in reality, the following five life hacks are just more efficient ways of achieving your goals; in this case, getting good grades.
1. Chewing Gum While Studying
This hack sounds like a myth, but many studies have proven that chewing gum not only helps you remember what you’ve committed to memory but also helps you focus on the material when you are studying. Chewing gum while studying is a sort of underlying distraction, a way to fidget without actually taking your mind off of what you’re doing, which helps you stay focused on the task at hand. And thanks to context-dependency, chewing gum while taking a test will help you remember the things you studied while chewing gum. So find a flavor you like and pop it in the next time you need to study.
2. Break Content Down Into Pieces
The more you try to cram, the harder it is to remember things. Trying to remember twenty facts is more difficult than two, especially if you try to commit all of those facts to memory at one time. Not that your mind can’t remember a whole lot of things, but most of the knowledge that you possess was acquired over time, in pieces. If you have a lot of content to memorize, chop it up into pieces. Ideally, you’ll want to study each individual section of the content over the course of several days, so naturally, you should try to avoid procrastinating when studying!
3. Utilize Mnemonic Devices
Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally: this phrase helped many a child remember the order of operations when it comes to math. It’s called a mnemonic device, in which you create an acronym for something you’re trying to remember. In the case of the above device, its Parentheses, Exponent, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction, or PEMDAS. Making acronyms of your own for the different types of content you are trying to learn can take some time and effort, but ultimately they will help you encode the information you are studying to memory.
Remember, an acronym doesn’t have to make any logical sense; PEMDAS clearly doesn’t resemble any sort of real word. But as long as the acronym makes sense to you, and is memorable to you, it’ll serve its purpose. You can make up whatever you need if it helps.
4. Study in New Places
When you visit a location that you’ve never been to before, your mind has to form new memories. These memories are more potent and vivid because they form the basis of your knowledge on a specific area; so if you’re studying in a new place, forming new memories of that location as you study, those memories will include the knowledge that you’ve gained during that time period. It’s a different type of learning process, but one that can really help when you are studying for a big test.
Of course, just because you’re picking a new place, doesn’t mean you should pick a particularly interesting one. After all, you’re trying to avoid distractions while studying, so going somewhere interesting probably wouldn’t be very helpful in the long run.
5. Make a Schedule
This isn’t so much a hack as straightforward advice. Time management is crucial if you want to succeed in college. If you aren’t very good at managing your time, you’ll be very prone to procrastinating, accidental or otherwise. It’s easy to lose track of what you have to do if you get distracted by sleeping, playing games, watching movies, or going out with your friends. A schedule in and of itself won’t make you a more dedicated, committed person, but having a schedule makes it easier for you to get motivated to follow it. It at least reminds you that you have important things to do and that you planned to do them.
Students that have poor time management and make no moves to fix that problem are constantly afflicted by the age-old problem of running out of time before they even realized there was a deadline. Having a plan for achieving things at least keeps those goals in mind, which makes you more likely to follow through with them.
The Final Option
This final bit of advice isn’t a life hack, but it is also quite helpful. When it comes down to essays, which are often a major part of your grade for any one class, you can always fall back on buying an essay paper online. Not the kind where you buy a pre-written, crap essay, but where you pay for an essay to be written from scratch. If you aren’t very good at writing essays or you simply don’t have the time, buying one online can help with your time management and your sanity. Granted, you should probably write your own essays when you can, but if you do ever need some backup on that front, buying an essay is a great choice.