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10 Tips to Study Smarter This Summer

5th July 2022

With the weather getting warmer, it can sometimes be hard to concentrate on our work – especially when those heat waves roll in.

It can be challenging to stay motivated, especially when we also feel the demands of our friends and family on our free time. Plus, if you’re studying as a parent, then you have the summer holidays of your little ones to contend with.

Whatever challenges you might face in keeping up with your education, we have ten top tips for distance learners to study smarter this summer. While not all of these may work for you, by trying out different ways to boost your focus, you’ll be able to develop the perfect study routine to manage your learning time more effectively this summer.

1. Use the Cooler Hours

Studying in the middle of the day when it’s hottest out is probably not the best way to maintain your attention span. Instead, you should focus on making the most of the cooler hours in the day. This could mean staying up later in the evening to work or getting up earlier each morning.

Waking up early doesn’t come easy to everyone, especially for the night owls among us. But while it takes time, it is possible to train yourself to wake up earlier each morning. Start slowly, set your alarm to a few minutes earlier each morning and gradually work towards your early bird status.

Aside from the summer benefits of cooler morning weather, studies have shown that early risers tend to have higher levels of happiness. While not everyone can train themselves to become morning people, if you find that it is possible, then a change to your wake-up routine can benefit not just how much time you can spend learning, but it can help to improve your overall wellbeing.

2. Take Plenty of Breaks

Taking breaks from your work is essential all year round, but especially during the summer when it can be much easier for our concentration to lapse. Plus, scheduling in frequent breaks can make the task of sitting down to study much less intimidating.

By breaking up your learning into manageable chunks, you’ll boost your productivity and creativity, as well as your capacity to retain information. If you’re studying multiple subjects or even modules of the same subject, by taking breaks between them, you’ll stand a better chance of remembering what you’ve learned before moving on to the next topic.

When you study through distance learning, such as the online degree programmes we offer at ARU, you can find yourself glued to your screens more than ever, so scheduling in some tech free days can help you to relax and unwind.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is always important for your health.

But in the summer, staying hydrated is essential. When the weather is hot, we need to consume more water to replace the fluids that we lose through sweating.

Aside from the benefits that water has to your health, water consumption has also been linked to improved concentration and decreased anxiety. Research even indicates that taking water with you to an exam can help to improve your performance.

Set daily water goals to ensure that you’re consuming enough – you can even buy water bottles that are marked in hourly intervals, so you can ensure that you’re hydrating at regular points throughout the day.


4. Eat Healthily

Junk food might be comforting, and sugary snacks do give you burst of energy, but it’s not ideal for long term concentration. In fact, while junk food can give you an initial boost, it won’t be long before you find your energy levels crash. Relying on junk food will not only leave you feeling lethargic, but it can have a terrible impact on your physical health.

Luckily, with the warm weather, salads and fruit become much more appealing. Try replacing your chocolate with an orange for a natural sugar boost. Look up some ideas for healthy study snacks and start meal planning to ensure that you’re not falling back on unhealthy eating habits.

5. Keep Active

The great thing about summer, is that it makes getting out and about a lot easier. Taking a walk in the sunshine is always preferable to doing so in the rain. Walking is often overlooked but it’s a form of exercise, and the NHS regard even a brisk 10 minute walk as having numerous health benefits.

By making exercise part of your study routine, you’ll help to reduce your stress levels and improve your overall wellbeing. When setting out your summer study schedule, include time for daily exercise. This doesn’t need to be the same every day – mix things up with walks, work out routines, or swimming. By varying your routine you’ll help to keep yourself from becoming bored.

You could even make recordings of yourself reading your notes and then set this as your playlist. This way you can continue to learn as you exercise, letting the knowledge sink in as you go about your day.

6. Study With Friends

It can be hard to stay motivated, however if you study with your peers and friends, it can help keep your learning on track. When you study as a group, you’ll have the chance to benefit from each other’s experiences, test your knowledge, and benefit from those who may have a different perspective on the topic.

Getting together at your local coffee shop can suit more traditional education settings, but even if you’re a distance learning student, there’s no reason you can’t benefit from group study. Use our learning management system, Canvas, to connect with your peers and organise virtual study sessions.

When you study with friends, you’ll benefit from the accountability of having a set study session. These study groups can help to keep you on track, and you can motivate each other to work harder.

7. Study Outside

There’s nothing less motivating than the thought of being cooped up inside all day, and fresh air is important for our health and wellbeing. When you’re studying in winter, it can be harder to find opportunities to study outside; if the weather is cold and wet, curling up under the duvet is a lot more appealing.

However, when you’re studying in the summer months, you should make the most of any good weather and take your study materials outside. There are numerous benefits to working outside in the nice weather, including improvements to your overall mood.

You should experiment with different settings; your garden is ideal if you need to have access to all of your study materials. Or if you’re working from one or two books, take them to the park or a local café that has outdoor seating.

8. Make a Schedule

Make a study schedule and protect it. It can be easy to get distracted or to feel guilted into going out with friends, and while it’s important that you maintain your personal relationships, it is okay to say no to plans that interfere with your study schedule.

Find a scheduling system that works for you – this could be as little as creating a daily task list of what you want to learn and complete that day, or a more intensive structure such as planning out your time minute by minute.

Everyone thrives on different levels of structure, so by finding the right one for you, you’ll be able to better manage your study time this summer.

9. Pace Yourself

It’s important to pace yourself when you study. It can be tempting, especially if you enjoy your subject, to dive right in and dedicate all of your free time to your learning. However, if you do this, you run the risk of becoming burnt out.

Trying to cram all the information into you head in one go actually makes it harder to learn. When you space out your learning, you have more time to let the knowledge embed itself in your memory.

Instead of trying to learn everything in one go, study on a slower schedule. Set aside a few hours each day for your study, or perhaps a morning or afternoon, depending on what time of day suits your individual productivity.

10. Complement Your Study With A Hobby

Whether it relates to your subject or not, taking up a new hobby can be an excellent way to help you improve your learning.

Not only will it give you a break from a heavy topic or intense schedule but taking up a hobby can help boost your confidence, improve your social life, and get you out of the house.

As taking up a hobby can increase your happiness and lower your stress, it can in turn have a positive impact on your studies. You can even use your hobby as one of many motivational rewards. Giving yourself time with your new hobby can be a treat at the end of a hard-earned study session to help you unwind.

Studying during the summer isn’t easy for everyone, but for some, it’s the perfect time of year. Wherever you fall on the scale, and whichever of our excellent distance learning courses you’re enrolled on, these ten tips will help you study your Anglia Ruskin University degree smarter this summer.

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