Most effective study tips for moms trying to balance work, parenting, and college
One of the most common questions moms in college ask after “how do you find time to study?” is, “what are the best study tips?”
Most moms go back to school knowing they will have to face lots of challenges, but these moms are determined to succeed against all odds. But, there will be times when sheer determination just won’t cut it. When that happens, you need practical tips to help you stay on track, so you can keep working towards your dream. That’s what you will find in this post. Lots of practical study tips for moms.
Whether you are a working mom, single mom, or stay at home mom, studying while taking care of kids is pretty hard, but these tips can help you find a way to balance it all and show you how you can study more effectively.
Here they are. Some of the best study tips for moms in college.
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1. CUT DOWN ON DISTRACTIONS
The more you minimize distractions while studying, the more effective you will be. Have you ever sat down to study but ended up spending more time flipping through your phone or browsing the internet? Then, you need to cut that off, if you want your study time to be productive.
As a busy mom in college with limited study time, it’s really important to make use of any time you have to study. So, when it’s time for you to study, get rid of as many distractions as you can so you can stay focused on the material.
Distractions and lack of focus are some of the main reasons many college students struggle to understand or retain the material they have studied. So avoid checking emails, playing on your phone, watching television, or doing something else when you should be studying.
I know it takes discipline to stay focused, so if you really struggle with staying disciplined (especially if you have a hard time putting your phone down), you can use something like a time lock container to store your phone and other gadgets while studying.
Using a time lock container is a great way to cut down on distractions and make the best use of your time. So, check it out of you think it would be beneficial to you.
So, to reiterate, try to get rid of distractions like your phone, television, noise, or music before you sit down to study. I know getting rid of distractions might be challenging with kids around, but you can try to minimize it.
2. STUDY TIPS FOR WORKING MOMS: READ A LITTLE EVERY DAY
If you are a working mom as well as a college student, it can be incredibly hard to find time to study. One of the best study tips for working moms is to make a habit of studying every day. Since you probably won’t have large chunks of time to study, studying daily is a great way to ensure you don’t fall behind.
Even if it’s only thirty minutes a day, as long as you use some other effective study strategies, you can cover a lot of ground with this simple habit.
As a working college mom, you can’t afford to let things pile up and think you can cram or do a marathon session to cover up for missed study times. It’s better to study a little course material each day than to try to read and cram six chapters just before an exam.
So, make it a habit of studying every day. Make use of every available time you can squeeze out of your day, and make sure you are learning something new each day.
Related: How to Find Time to Study as a College Mom
3. KEEP YOUR STUDY AREA ORGANIZED
An organized study area can help you minimize distractions and allow you to stay focused. While it’s helpful to have a dedicated study area, I know it isn’t practical for everyone. However, you should be able to keep your study area organized before you start studying.
I find it distracting to be surrounded by too much stuff or clutter when I need to study or do some work. So, before you begin studying, clear out all the unnecessary items or things you don’t need while studying.
You should only have your notes, flashcards, textbooks, and pens in front of you. If you are studying on the dining or kitchen table, remove the cereal boxes and whatever else you have laying on the table. Trust me, having a clear space while studying will keep you focused and stop your mind from wandering off.
Now, talking about being organized, if you are struggling to stay organized in college, check out the post below for lots of helpful organizational tips.
Related: How to be an Organized Mom in College
4. WRITE YOUR NOTES IN YOUR OWN WORDS
When I was in college, I found it helpful to write some notes while studying. I wrote definitions, terms, formulas, and other stuff in my own words. The only problem with this is that you have to be careful not to write too much or basically just recopy everything in your class notes!
Take notes as you study. Rewrite your notes in your own words. Ask yourself questions as you study, then write down your answers. You can also lookup new words you don’t understand. Break them down, and rewrite them in your own words.
Writing in your own words can help you remember what you have studied and is a sign that you understand what you have read. You can use flashcards or small notebooks to write your own notes. Keep them neat, and if you use index cards, write only one term, definition, or formula on each card. You can also use colored pens or markers to write if you find it helpful.
Another option is to use a whiteboard instead of a notebook or flashcards. You can write down things like definitions or equations over and over until they stick in your brain and you can repeat them in your sleep.
5. STUDY TIPS FOR COLLEGE MOMS: IMPROVE YOUR MEMORIZATION SKILLS
Have you ever studied for a test, felt confident you understood the material, yet bombed the test because you forgot everything you read? Yeah, this is a very common problem with lots of college students, and I can tell you that it’s pretty distressing.
So, if this is something that bothers you, the best way to deal with it is to try to improve your memorization skills. Before we go on, let me say that if your problem is test-taking anxiety, then you will need to address that separately.
Now, if your problem is that you find it hard to retain information or you forget what you have read during tests or exams, then working on your memorization skills will surely help.
So, how do you improve these skills? There are lots of different ways, but I will list some of the most common and effective ones below.
- Use mnemonics or acronyms to remember important facts or information.
- Get enough sleep. It’s hard to focus or retain information when you are tired.
- Use lots of repetition. Sometimes the only way to retain information is to listen to it or read it over and over again until you can repeat it in your sleep.
- Avoid cramming. Trying to study and memorize your course material in one study session is less effective than studying little bits of the material over many sessions. That’s why it’s important to get into the habit of studying every day.
- Organize your study materials, and if possible, study related courses or concepts together.
- Read out loud. Reading out loud to yourself can help you retain information.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to improve your memorization skills, but the ones above can be pretty effective when done right.
6. CHANGE YOUR SETTING
While it’s nice to have a dedicated study space, it can be helpful to change your study location every now and again. For example, if you always study on a desk in the living room, you can try studying in the bedroom, outdoors, or in your school or local library.
Changing your location or setting can keep you fresh and energized, and can help you retain more from your study session. There are lots of options to choose from, so go ahead, find some other suitable locations besides your usual one and see if you can benefit from studying in a different place.
7. TAKE BREAKS AND SET TIME LIMITS WHILE STUDYING
Instead of having one long study session at a time, it’s smart to take breaks while studying. As busy moms, I know you probably just want to study as long as you can when you have the opportunity (especially if you have a baby at home), but you will benefit from taking short breaks while studying.
For example, you can take a break after every twenty or thirty minutes. Use your break to drink some water, walk around your home, or go around if you need some fresh air.
Taking short breaks even if it’s ten minutes every hour or so, stepping away from your computer, and giving your brain a little rest can keep you from getting frustrated and feeling overwhelmed.
Also, if you are one of those moms who can’t stay focused for very long or have young kids who constantly need attention, setting time limits is a great way to make your study session more effective.
You can also use a timer to break up your study sessions. Before you start studying, decide how much time you have, then set a timer to go off when your time is up. You don’t have to quit studying when your timer goes off. You can decide to keep studying if you are in the mood and the conditions are conducive to studying.
The main benefit of setting time limits is knowing you have accomplished your study goal for that period, and to give you a chance for a break.
8. ASK FOR HELP
If some of your course material isn’t making sense to you and you feel stuck, try asking for help. You can talk with your teachers, a tutor, or a classmate. These people can help you make sense of the material or steer you in the right direction.
Don’t feel like you have to figure out everything on your own, you don’t.
Alternatively, if you have difficulty understanding course material and you don’t want to ask for help just yet, try listening to other tutors or professors on Youtube. Sometimes the problem might be in the delivery and a different teacher can help you grasp the information.
There are lots of free and helpful resources for practically every subject, so you can avail yourself of them if you don’t feel comfortable asking for extra help or tutoring from your professors.
9. STUDY TIPS FOR SINGLE MOMS: SET STUDY GOALS
Lots of single moms in college have to work to make rent and many of them have no support system. For these moms finding enough time to study can be a big challenge, so the key is to set study goals before each study session to keep you focused and to help you maximize your limited time.
So, before you sit down to study, have a specific goal for your study session, so when you start studying you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish. For example, it’s not helpful to say you are studying to “learn new concepts.” It’s better to be specific about what you want to learn.
Some examples of study goals for mom include:
- Learn the names of all the bones or muscles in the body
- Complete one biology assignment on reproduction
- Study the major electrolytes and their functions
Of course, your study goals depend on what classes you are taking and what you need to learn, so the examples above may not apply to you. But, you can see that these goals are pretty specific.
Make sure your study goals are specific, measurable, and relevant to the class or course you are taking. It makes no sense to set goals that have nothing to do with your degree.
All Moms, whether single or not, can benefit from setting study goals, but I wanted to address this to single moms because as a single mom, I know how hard it is to find time to study, and how important it is to use whatever time you have effectively.
Final thoughts on the best study tips for moms in college
There are lots of challenges with being a student mother, trying to study with a baby, or trying to study with a toddler around, but these challenges can be offset with some clear strategies.
The study tips in this post are some of the best tips for moms in college, so I hope they can help you get the best out of your study time.
Are you a mom in college having a hard time studying? What are your biggest challenges?
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