My favorite study sessions consist of cushioned seats, surrounded by books and other motivated students. Sometimes, they consist of the sound of coffee pouring, natural light, and a strawberry acai refresher to sip. Regardless of the details, I find peace in a change of scenery when it comes to studying. But why should you switch up your study spot? Besides the small treat of a Starbucks drink by your side, let's get to the details… First, frequently changing your study spot can positively impact your ability to retain the information you are trying to learn.” (The Top 10 Reasons to Switch Up Your Study Location, n.d). It starts with mental associations. It sounds complicated, right? Don’t worry, it's not. It's a mental connection between concepts and events that usually stem from specific experiences, such as studying in the library or by the fireplace with hot cocoa. When you commit new information to your memory, you create a web that later retrieves it. The more specific experiences you have regarding your study location allow for better recollection of the information, making it easier to remember when the test rolls around.
To stay engaged and motivated while studying, you have to relocate to avoid burning out. Personally, if I am dedicating my day to reviewing for a big exam, I like to split up my study locations. For the first portion of the review, I'll study in my room at my desk with a clean, organized space to minimize distractions and keep from getting overwhelmed. For the second part of the review, I'll study in the library in a quiet, well-lit area. Finally, for the final home stretch of my studying, I will end it at my local coffee shop and reward my hard work with a latte.
If it's not possible to go to an entirely new location, try moving around your home. You could go to different rooms, desks, or other study-worthy spots. Next time you find yourself at the library, don’t sit at your usual table in the back corner. Instead, move to an entirely new section. The possibilities are endless. By doing this, you create connections between the environment around you (lights, colors, sounds, etc.) and the information you are trying to retain.
Now that you know why you need to switch up your space, let's find the perfect spot for you. A table is a must. Yes, it may seem super comfy and relaxing to lay in your bed or a couch to do your homework, but, “sitting up at a table increases your typing speed and reduces the number of mistakes. Even deciding whether to use a mouse and mouse pad or not can impact how quickly you work.” (Hargreaves, n.d.) Next, lighting is key . If possible, study in an area with lots of natural light. Sunlight is proven to regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle and positively impact your mood. If sunlight is not available, go for bright light as it mimics the sun> As an alternative, you can use soft yellow light for a more relaxing and calm environment.
What's not necessary in your study space? The key is to get rid of anything that will distract you. Common distractions are TV (no, you don't need "background noise") and your cell phone. Time to put do not disturb to use, because you don't want to be distracted by a group chat every two minutes. In my many years as a student, a method for eliminating distraction or burnout is by utilizing timers. Try setting a timer for 35 minutes to review. Then, set a 45-minute timer for a practice test. Once review and work is complete, take a 10 minute break to eat a snack, use the bathroom, or whatever else you desire!
Overall, studying can be a long and exhausting task. However, you can switch it up to make it more enjoyable and efficient. The benefits of changing your study location are crucial to keep in mind. Minimize distractions, pick the lighting, and make your study sessions easy and enjoyable. Happy studying!
“The Top 10 Reasons to Switch Up Your Study Location.” Absolutely Studying,