Isanya Köhne

We see you, swooning over your textbook trying to cram the information in your brain while your friends are off partying and visiting beautiful places. An exchange can be extremely fun, but ultimately, you are also here to pass your semester. We know studying can be really tricky when there is so much else to do and see, but we have got some tips and tricks we do love to share with you that have helped us along the way.

1. You are not alone (I am here with you!).
Here in the Netherlands, pretty much all students have their exams and assignment deadlines around the same time, no matter the course. Keep in mind that after a few days or weeks with your head in the books, you and your friends can get back to partying, traveling, and all else you like to do in your free time. The key to staying motivated is to remind yourself that everyone else is going through the same, and they are (most of them) manging to do so, just like you!

2. Learn to rid yourself of distractions.
Nowadays, we are active 24/7. With our ever-buzzing phones in our pocket, we constantly satisfy our brains with new waves of dopamine. Distraction is like a drug; we are ever craving more and more. The constant sounds from your devices keep you distracted from that what you need to focus on, finishing that assignment or studying for that test. So, mute those notifications and let your friends' messages be the reward once you have finished. Another factor of distractions could be your environment. When you know that studying at home is going to result in you laying on your bed scrolling through Instagram, do not study at home! Get to the nearest library or cafe where other people are focussed on their own work to stay focussed. In case sitting in public spaces or studying together is not helping you focus on your work, head to an area where you can be alone, just you, your books, and laptop.

3. Get yourself a motivator and reward.
Sometimes all you need is someone giving you that extra push to get to work. Whether it is your friend, your boyfriend, your mom, having someone tell you to study and check up on your progress later is an incentive to get to work. You will realise that it will feel just like in high school when you had to finish an assignment in a set amount of time during class. This encourages you to focus on your work to be able to show what you promised to your motivator. Next to that, if you have done what you promised your motivator and yourself, make sure to give yourself a reward after. Being focussed for a long period of time calls for some relaxation so get together with friends or order in, do whatever that gives you a satisfactory feeling besides the relief of your finished work of the day.

4. Plan it out and colour code.
When thinking of all the things mentioned above, it is important to know what you will be working on every day. A planner can really help with giving you an overview of that what needs to be done and before when. You know best how much you can do in a day so plan accordingly. If you know that you are usually a last-minute worker, then this is especially crucial for you to do. You can use colours or anything that highlights and separates your different tasks to stay more organized. We know all about having many different courses and therefore many different assignments. Writing all of them down and separating them will guarantee to give you a better sight of what you need to do. Your teachers will be proud. Now use all the other tips to actually get it done!

5. Find a method that works best for you.
There are many tips & tricks for studying, staying concentrated, and so on, but it is eventually up to you to figure out what works and what does not. Try writing out summaries by hand instead of on a computer or vice versa. Try study cards or make a memory game out of your material. Making something creative out of your studying or concentration game will allow you to figure out what helps you reach your goal!

We wish you very good luck with the exam period, try not to get too distracted! Afterwards we hope you will get to cheers to good grades you worked so hard for! #GetToStudying #ErasmusStudy