I tried and ranked five of the best study methods as a York student so you don’t have to

Academic comeback pending…

Crack open those books, and search for that “Rory Gilmore Studying Playlist’ on Spotify, because we have work to do. I’m ranking 5 studying methods, carefully tested by yours truly, to track down the most effective method for uni students (especially those of us with “academic comeback” on our new year’s resolutions, that hasn’t quite come to fruition just yet).

Fifth Place: Teaching it to a friend

Forcing someone to listen to you blab about your work and subjecting a friend to testing your knowledge, is an effective way to hammer that material into your own head. It can be helpful with people from your course. However it would involve getting someone to agree to engage in an assignment that they have no personal investment in, whilst simultaneously giving up their own time.

I have personally forced my sister to participate in this process of memory recall and can confirm she had very little commitment to my own pursuit of knowledge. This method is best reserved for when you’re already pretty familiar with your stuff and are just brushing up on things quickly.

Fourth: Studying until a candle burns out

Coming in at 4th place, is a trend I keep seeing on TikTok. The method is pretty self explanatory, to study non stop until a candle burns out. Seems pretty fun and cosy in theory and it definitely earns brownie points for providing that “dark academia” effect for your study session. But wow that time goes by slowly, and the urge to just blow the candle out and put my books away is too strong within me. So, it probably isn’t the best strategy. It’s especially obsolete for those of you living in student accommodation that prohibits candles.

Third Place: Last minute revision

The method I’m sure we’ve all tried at some point in our academic careers, is being awarded the bronze medal. I’m not saying I recommend this as a legitimate and effective ‘studying method’…but it can be done effectively if you’re panicky enough. It can work as a last resort as the information is fresh at the front your mind, especially if you read the material for the first time an hour ago.

It really depends on the kind of worker you are, those of us who struggle with procrastination are really effective workers when the time pressure is applied. When it’s three am and you have an exam in nine hours, you have little precious time to cram a semester’s worth of content into your brain in one night. This method of course relies on a lot of determination and sleep deprivation. Doesn’t that sound fun? This method is of course a last resort and sooner is always better.

Second Place: Body doubling

The process of Body doubling, as our runner up, refers to the process of having a study buddy to work independently but alongside one another. Whether it be a friend, a group or a complete stranger who happens to be sitting across from you in the library that you feel weirdly attached to after a few hours together, body doubling makes studying a lot more enjoyable, or at the very least means you can suffer together. As they say,  misery loves company.

Also, a little bit of healthy competition between study buddies never hurt anyone. When the process of studying drags on and you want to call it quits to go back to watching Tik Tok from your bed, your ‘body double’ can hold you accountable, and vice versa. Basically, forcing each other over the finish line and having someone to share your success with when it’s all over. This is my second place method, because personally I can pair it with any of our other contenders. But, if you view studying as a solitary process, you can still give this one a try by watching a “real time study with me” on YouTube (there’s thousands of these and I love them, i owe them my life) and still be inspired to work alongside someone.

First Place: The Pomodoro Technique

And we have a winner! And what better than the beloved Pomodoro Technique. This technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo who used his tomato shaped kitchen timer to time his revision during university. The technique consists of working consistently for 25 minutes and then taking a 4-5 minute break. Once you do this 4 times, congratulations that’s a whole Pomodoro session, now take a 15-30 minute break before the next one.

I’ve been a die hard fan of this method since GCSE. Once you progress past the beginner stage and can comfortably call yourself an expert in all things Pomodoro you should adjust the timings to your own capabilities because this technique allows you to push yourself. I can assure you this method rarely fails me, in fact I’m actually starting to understand some of my theory readings (although please don’t test me on that).

An additional tip to use in conjunction with this method is using the app Flora, (AKA Forest if you’re an android user), and develop that superiority complex with each tree planted in your digital forest. Isn’t gloating the whole point of studying?

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