Why would someone study during a Christmas break? Sounds crazy, right? Well, that’s how it often is at a university. Your winter exams are most probably going to be right after the Christmas break. In order to not feel overwhelmed, you need a proper plan. Here are some tips to help you study effectively even during the Christmas break. It’s also applicable to other periods of the year when you need a good and effective study system.

Create a schedule!

A piece of advice that you’ve probably heard before but it is known to be very effective when you follow it. Organising your studies can make it easier to see what exactly you need to know and decrease your stress levels. I use Google Calendar to create my schedule because it is free and easy to navigate. But there are many other apps for you to choose from. If you are new to making a schedule, these are certain tips that you might want to follow.

  • Don’t put too many things on your schedule. You can’t exactly plan your whole day out. You have to have space for the unexpected. The best thing to do is to set one priority (e.g. one topic) that you need to finish that day. That way you should not feel so much under pressure.
  • Don’t plan the exact time. Of course you can estimate when you will study what. But it is important to be realistic. To avoid the pressure, just have in mind that this is something you need to do TODAY. And work on it whenever you feel like it when you’ll have the time.
  • Follow your schedule! It might seem a bit obvious but it is harder than you’d think. Make sure to finish everyday what you set your mind to – the day’s priority. If you postpone things, it’s only going to get more difficult, trust me.
Screenshot of my Google Calendar (in Slovak). Photo: Annamaria
Screenshot of my Google Calendar (in Slovak). Photo: Annamaria

Study in the morning

I don’t mean waking up at 5 am and turning on your computer in bed before you had the chance to brush your teeth. Many of us are ‘night owls’ for whom this sort of idea would not be very suitable, at least not without the morning coffee. So feel free to first follow your morning routine, get some nice breakfast, and hop into comfy clothing. Just make sure to not make the study the last thing you’ll do that day. You probably will not be able to stop thinking about it throughout the whole day anyway.

Doing schoolwork some time “in the morning” (whenever that is for you) is the best thing you can do. It will make you feel more productive and you will have the rest of the day to do whatever you want. You won’t miss out on anything and you’ll stop feeling guilty for unnecessary procrastination.

Photo: Mikaela Vázquez Rico/imagebank.sweden.se
Photo: Mikaela Vázquez Rico/imagebank.sweden.se

Talk with someONE or someTHING

I read that about 60% of students are visual learners, meaning that they need to see the text, the video, or the image to fully comprehend and learn it. So this method certainly doesn’t replace the ordinary reading of notes or other course materials. But it can become your best friend for revision. Learning through explaining your topic (out loud) to someone else without using your notes. This way you will be able to identify what you already know and what you need to read about again.

There is however a tiny issue. For this learning exercise, you need a listener, right? Of course, it would be handy to talk to a classmate who also needs to learn about the topic but sometimes you don’t have that option. Well, that’s not so hard to solve. You can talk to virtually anything what is around you and explain your topic to it. It can be a pet, a toy, or even a wall. You will be surprised how well they can listen. No interruptions. ?

Reward yourself

After all the work is finished, you should find a way to reward yourself. Not only for being productive during the day but also for all the work you have done in the past semester. So even though you have to study for an exam, it is important to remember to find time to recharge. You need to gather new energy for another exciting semester ahead of you. And if it is your first Christmas alone in Sweden, make sure to read Nozie’s blog about what to do for fun during a Christmas break. You are not the only one in that position.

So I wish you good luck with your studies and God Jul (or merry Christmas)! ??