School has taught us everything from multiplication facts to the life of Arthur Miller. However, one major skill that is often overlooked in school is study skills. From elementary school, we are told, “Go home and study. Your spelling test is tomorrow.” But since that time, very few students are taught how to study. It is assumed that studying is like breathing, you just know how to do it.

The fact is, there is a right way to study and a wrong way. There is a way to study that is a waste of time and ways to study that will maximize your use of study time and your final grade. Follow these tips to help you develop your study skills while helping you make the grade.

1. Set the mood

Being able to study means creating an environment conducive to studying. Find a quiet room in your house or on the floor of your dorm where you will not be interrupted. If this room does not exist in your dorm or house, venture out. Find the quietest floor of your library and sit there. Be sure the area is well-lit to help you resist falling asleep. Make sure to dress comfortably as you will be putting in some serious time looking over notes and you don’t want to be distracted by your tight jeans or a shirt that keeps falling off your shoulder.

2. Kill the TV

Or your radio. Or whatever media outlet that has nothing to do with the topic you need to study. Yes, this may mean you will have to record Dancing with the Stars on the DVR tonight, but it is for the best.

Although many students say they can study better with music or the TV on, the positive impact has yet to be determined. That is, unless, the music you are listening to has 60 beats per minute. That is the only type of music noted to have a positive impact on studying. Wondering what has 60 beats per minute, think baroque and Mozart, not Beyonce or Metallica.

3. Make a pre-emptive strike

Good studying starts with good note-taking. Taking good notes will help you study in an organized and easy way. If your notes are scattered and disorganized, studying will be more difficult. Another tip is to take your notes and put key vocabulary on to note cards. The simple act of copying your notes will help embed the material in your brain.

4. Eat brain food

Your diet can impact your brain’s ability to work. Eat foods like wild salmon, cacao beans, or pick up a Matcha or Acai smoothie from Jamba Juice. And don’t forget your morning cup of coffee – it’s brain food too!

5. Rinse, Wash, Repeat

When it comes to the actual studying itself, this formula tends to work. Read key vocabulary or concepts five times in a row, then wash. You can actually wash your body if needed, but this is code for take a break. Hit the grocery store, run an errand, take a jog. Come back to your study spot and repeat. Following this step will help embed the information in your brain.

Happy studying. qvist