As finals are approaching, getting a good study environment is essential for you to be prepared for your exams. We all know how motivating it feels to have a good study environment. Building a good study space can not only encourage you to study more often but will also allow you to concentrate better. Here are some tips on creating a good study space for yourself.
Things to place in your study area
Here is a list of things that can be placed in your study area. It may or may not be useful for you, depending on your preference and your study methods. Some prefer having music or a bit of distraction while others prefer to have complete silence when studying. Either way, I hope the list below may inspire you to place the things that you find to be fit in your study area.
Enhance your productivity
- A Pomodoro timer: this can simply be a timer, or your phone or you laptop with the Pomodoro app installed. This is going to help you be free of distractions and focus on learning during the 25 minutes study time.
- Your study plan: placing your study plan on your desk/wall can act as a visual reminder for you. You may also cross out things that you have studied so that you can visually envisage your progress. It also helps you to plan.
- Motivational quotes and pictures: studying can be very stressful, especially with all the deadlines and exams. Keeping a positive mindset is the most important long-term strategy. A great way to instill positivity is by sticking some motivational quotes and pictures on the wall, whether it be a picture of your dream school, or of your family.
Create a comfortable learning environment
- Adequate lighting: lighting is essential since it can directly affect your performance. I personally would prefer natural lighting – because it feels more energizing, and that you will have the motivation to complete everything before the evening. Another tip, you may want to place your desk in a way so that the source of light should come from your left hand side if you are right-handed. This way the light won’t be blocked by your writing hand.
- Scents: scent can do wonders, and you can alter the scents to suit your needs. For example,
- pine, lavender, jasmine can alleviate stress
- citrus can make you feel more energized
- peppermint, lemon can boost concentration
- rosemary can improve memory retention
- Snacks: Some people may find it easier to concentrate when they snack while studying. Snacking on brain food, like almonds and nuts, may even boost memory and have a lot of health benefits.
- Water: Similarly, water can boost concentration. Try adding lemon to your water, it not only detox body and skin but also boosts energy and mood.
- Music: If you are the kind of person who loves studying with music, you may want to get a speaker and play some classical or piano tracks. One thing I love to do is to go on 8tracks and search for study playlists.
- Plants: air quality can affect your productivity, too. While some may prefer having an air purifier in your study space, plants are definitely a good and cheaper alternative. Investing in a low-maintenance household plant may be a good choice.
Study Techniques and Tools
- Sticky notes: this is a study method that I personally use a lot. I love writing out key points and summaries, or vocabularies on a sticky note and stick it on my desk. I sometimes even stick them on the wall or every place that I will look at in my room. Every time I spot a memo, it reinforces my memory.
- Recorder: auditory learners like me love having a recorder. It allows me to record lectures and record myself when studying. The best thing is that it doesn’t just work only with auditory learners. Teaching people about the knowledge is said to be the best way of active learning, that it allows you to remember things and apply knowledge better. Having a recorder (or phone) and talking to it when you are studying means you are actually “teaching” the knowledge to yourself, and you can even listen to the recording before sleep or when you are going to school.
- Bookstand: bookstand is one of my best friends. I always find it irritating to keep looking up and down, especially when I am taking notes from a textbook using a laptop. Bookstand makes the whole revision process so much smoother.
Maintaining a clean desk: Organization
Containers are usually very helpful in organizing your pens and sticky notes. I got these containers from Muji. They are makeup containers but they are large enough (and also more affordable compared to the actual pen holders in Muji). I can organize the pens into highlights, ink pens, ball pens etc., and have the sticky notes and index cards well placed in the containers. This way, I can easily get the supplies that I want when I am studying.
Papers and Books
It’s alright to be a little bit messy when you are studying, even the most organized person may encounter this problem! (I tend to place my papers and books everywhere when I am studying – that’s just the way I am, especially when I need to search for a particular piece of information.) But if you really hope to get your papers well-organised, a paper/letter tray like this can be very helpful. You can just place the papers in the corresponding tray without having to actually take the time to organize them when you are studying (so that they won’t distract you), and then put them in binders/folders after you finish studying. This way you can have a neat desk all the time!
My DIY planner board
I always have a hard time planning my tasks, since in university we have so many more commitments. I find it so much easier if I can have everything in front of me at a glance. I came across the idea of a post-it notes wall planner on Pinterest and decided to make one myself. Here is what mine looks like.
Basically, I divide my tasks into four categories: study, work, blog and general to-dos. It is colour-coded and I can easily see what deadlines I have for that week and that month.
- I write my tasks for the week on the top area.
- Then, I assign them to different days of the week (which I will move the post-it notes to the lower part). I also placed my regular weekly tasks on those columns.
- The “this month” area is for any events, goals, or any other important things going on for the month.
Having a good study environment that motivates you is definitely an important first step. It is fundamental to create a study space that best suits your needs, learning style, and personality. What are your favorite things in your study space? Comment down below to tell us some of your views and tips towards creating a good study environment!