A New Year is here, and that means a new semester and exams and all that fun stuff. It’s a good idea to establish a study routine right off the bat. Establishing a study routine is important, but if you do the same thing day in and day out, you’ll soon find yourself in a rut. Once there, it’s much harder to stay focused and get results. Pull yourself out of that rut and shake things up with these unconventional study tips.

Study While Working Out

Aerobic exercise fires up the hippocampus, your brain’s learning and memory nerve center. Scheduling gym sessions around your study schedule can be beneficial, but why not work your brain and body at the same time?

German researchers found that foreign language students who studied while walking or cycling retained more. And there’s nothing suggesting it only works for languages. Try listening to an educational audiobook while you’re riding your bike or reading study notes while you’re on the treadmill. Just don’t push yourself too hard. Intense workouts can elevate stress levels and impair your memory.

Go Somewhere Different

We’re all creatures of habit. Chances are you always study in the same place. Perhaps it’s the same corner of the library or at your desk in your dorm. Over time, spending time in the same study space can become so tedious that you lose interest. When you feel your focus fading, crack open your books somewhere else. You’ll get the best results in reasonably quiet and distraction-free study spaces. Cafes, empty classrooms, and parks are all perfect places. Many co-working offices also welcome students.

If you really want to mix things up, try studying in the branches of a tree or the top of a mountain. You’ll certainly get a new perspective!

Become an Early Bird

Most college students claim they can’t function early in the morning. But have you ever really tested this theory? Rather than cramming for exams until the wee hours, switch up your study habits. Get up early and hit the books first thing. By early, we mean early. You’ll want to rise before everyone else to enjoy the calm, distraction-free stillness of the morning.

Before you shoot down the idea because you think it means missing those late-night parties, consider this. Studies show people are more productive and alert if they split their sleep up. Waking early for study, then napping before class, could actually help you function!

Set Better Goals

How much do you actually accomplish during your study sessions? If you aren’t studying productively, goal setting can help you turn things around. Good goals keep you accountable. Planning a two-hour study session might sound good in theory, but it’s useless if you spend that time rearranging pens and sending text messages. Better goals would be completing a practice math exam or writing an essay. You’ll probably study more efficiently if you know your study session won’t end until you complete your goal.

We all learn differently, so some study strategies will help you retain knowledge more effectively than others. Try these unconventional strategies, see what works best for you, and add your favorites to your regular study plan. They might just help you ace your next exam!

As the new semester approaches, it’s tempting to kick back and relax. If you can’t rest now without deadlines looming, when can you? However, some smart preparation now can help you get organized for your return to school.

Chat With Your Adviser

Your adviser is a valuable resource as the new semester approaches. He or she can confirm whether the electives you’re interested in are a good fit for your schedule and goals and also tell what you can expect from different courses. Your adviser can also confirm dates for registration, drop dates, and other important dates to help you stay organized.

It’s much easier to see your adviser before the semester begins, as most students are busy enjoying their vacation. Once school returns, you’ll find appointment spaces fill quickly. Don’t risk missing out; arrange an appointment with your adviser now to learn everything you need to organize your school schedule.

Buy a Planner and Start Using It

A planner is a great way to keep organized. Go old school here. Physically writing things down helps you commit them to memory much better than typing does. Find a planner you really love and you’ll be more likely to use it.

There’s no time like the present to start using your planner. Fill in as much as you can before the semester starts, like your class schedule, due dates, and any upcoming appointments. The earlier you start using your planner, the more likely it is the habit will stick.

Get Your Textbooks

A new semester typically means new textbooks. If you wait until the semester begins, you’ll probably pay too much. Get a jump on your competition and you could find great deals on used textbooks. You’ll also have time to look through them before the semester begins. Having an idea of the coursework ahead will help you approach your semester with confidence. Campus Books is a great resource for you to use to find the lowest prices on new, used and rental books. Try to get the book assignments from your professor before classes start, so you can buy them early and typically get a lower price.


Take Stock of School Supplies

Look over your school supplies and buy anything you’ll need, such as blank workbooks and stationery. Don’t forget the sticky notes and highlighters! You might be able to repurpose some stuff from last semester, but you’ll probably have some gaps. Filling them now will make sure you have everything you need once you’re back in the classroom.

Clean Up Your Dorm

When you’re hard at work, clutter tends to build up. Your semester break is the perfect time to clean your space, so you can start the new term fresh. Clearing away the clutter will help you operate more efficiently, as you’ll know where everything is. You’ll also feel less stressed and fatigued in your newly cleaned, organized space. The last thing you need starting a new semester is another thing stressing you out! Clean up your dorm and you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel and work when school returns.

Recharging your batteries over the break is important, but don’t forget to prepare for the coming semester. The effort you put in before the semester can help you be organized when you return to school.