Getting educated as an adult is a commendable goal, but it can present unique challenges that younger students don’t have to face. With a job and possibly family responsibilities, finding the time and energy to focus on schoolwork can be difficult. Plus, younger students tend to absorb information more easily.
Fortunately, there are a few tips that adults can use to make the process of studying easier and more productive whether you’re learning about running an assisted living facility or mathematical economics.
Here are some of the best study strategies for adult learners.
Schedule Time for Studying
Adult learners typically have more responsibilities than younger students, so it can be difficult to find dedicated study time during the day or week without deliberate action.
Create a detailed schedule of when and where you’ll do your studying. How much time you should set aside depends on the classes and workload, but be realistic. Even just an hour a day can make a difference in your overall performance. To make this easier for you, use apps or calendars to manage and remind you when your study sessions should begin.
Find a Convenient Place to Study
Once you’ve scheduled your study times, find an environment that is conducive to learning. That can be different for everyone – some prefer libraries or coffee shops, while others may do better in their own homes.
No matter what you decide, make sure that the place is comfortable and free of distractions. That means turning off TVs and phone notifications, so you can stay focused on your studies. You should also have all the necessary materials on hand, like textbooks and pens.
Break Tasks into Manageable Pieces
Studying can be overwhelming when you look at it as a whole, but it will feel much less intimidating if you break tasks down into smaller parts that are easier to accomplish.
For example, if you need to memorize a list of terms for an upcoming exam, try writing them out on flashcards. Or if you’re reading a long chapter in a textbook, break it into sections with specific goals for each section.
Join a Study Group
Studying with a group of your peers can be an effective way to learn new material. Not only will you be able to better discuss complex ideas and ask questions of one another, but you’ll also have accountability partners who can help keep you on track.
If there isn’t an official study group for your class, consider starting one with your classmates. How to start your own study group:
- Find out about people in your class who are interested in joining a study group
- Set up a meeting time and place that works for everyone
- Set ground rules, like no phones or laptops during meetings
- Share materials, like textbooks or notes, with each other
- Find ways to make studying more enjoyable, like playing educational games or having snacks during breaks
Studying as an adult can present unique challenges, but it’s possible to succeed with the right strategies in place. By scheduling out dedicated study times, finding a distraction-free environment to work in, breaking tasks down into manageable pieces, and joining a study group, you will be well on your way toward mastering any subject.