More really is more
It’s better to splurge on your notes the first time. Allow me to explain… when studying the topic, write down everything! And I mean everything, from a definition you might struggle with to your own thoughts or questions.
Create a document that’s not neat, it’s purposefully messy, I call it the information hub. As you continue to study this topic, add to your information hub each lecture when listening to your lecturer. But after your lectures spend time cutting down the content in the information hub, so when you have exams you’ll have the best notes to refer to and a great understanding of the topic.
During study breaks, try your hardest not to go online, I know it's tempting and the reward is needed. Instead, leave your study space to clear your head for the moment. Get a snack or a cup of tea to relax and give your mind a rest. You don’t want to occupy your mind whilst taking a break.
Keep a study momentum
After your lecture finishes, spend an hour organising your notes, re-reading extracts and summarising what you learnt in your essay. This is when all the information is fresh in your mind, so recalling information will be more relaxing than if you waited a couple of days to study the topic. Recalling this information quickly will help form a stronger bond to this information in your mind.
If you’re online and studying, when your lecture finishes, start playing on some soft music like Khalid or Daniel Caesar and continue studying for another hour. If you’re finishing an in-person lecture go to the library, a study space or a café nearby. Set yourself the goal to study for an hour, then when you finish carry on with your day.
Try both to-do lists and schedules
Some students find the motivation to study easy and believe that planning their time is not an appropriate way to study. To those people, tasks are completed when they need to be. However, not everyone feels this works, to some it’s easier to plan their time and force themselves to study for a certain time.
I would recommend to try both study methods for two weeks each, see what works for you. Write the positives and negatives you find in the two weeks and then continue with the method you find works best for your life.
Silence or soft sounds
Try studying in complete silence for one session and see how much you achieve. Another day try studying with soft music playing in the background and see what works best for you. It really does make a difference to know what you need in the background whilst studying.
I would personally recommend starting off the session playing a specific studying playlist (that you do not listen at any other time) to put yourself in the correct headspace, then once you’re focused, turn off the music and continue in silence. After a study break, listen to the music again until you’re focusing.