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How to make the most of your time studying at home

How to make the most of your time studying at home

During this time of uncertainty, many candidates are finding themselves with more time to study at home. Although it can be challenging to focus amid COVID-19 virus developments, now is a great time to get ahead of your studies and prepare for exam day. We have a few tips to help you keep up with your career goals and adapt to these new circumstances.

Analyze and adjust your study schedule

There are a few things to keep in mind while you are studying at home, but the most important your efficiency. While you may have all day, spending every minute isn’t the most efficient realistic approach.

Account for needed study breaks

Studying for eight hours a day might seem like a good way to quickly knock out your studies, however, keep in mind that you may not be studying effectively in hour 8 as you were when you first started. Be sure to take about a 15 minute break for every hour of studying at home. Breaks keep you focused on your task and prevent moments where you aren’t paying attention to what you’re reading or listening to.

Establish a set studying area

Although your options for quiet rooms can be limited, its important to be focused and eliminate distractions as best you can. A home office or desk in a quiet room is ideal.

If you do not have a dedicated room, establish a space within one as your studying area. This can be as simple as choosing the end of a dining table, but avoid high traffic areas or rooms with easy distractions, like a television. Keep your study space clean and organized so you can focus on what’s important.

Study when you will be most focused

It can be tempting to try to study while your favorite television program is on or while binge watching a show with your family and try to call it “multitasking,” but avoid this when studying at home. Instead, study where there are minimal distractions to get the most out of your study time. This allows you to enjoy your recreational activities that much more!

Figure out whether you are more focused in the mornings, evenings, or some time in between. Trying to study when you will have difficulty staying on task will reduce the effectiveness of your study time.

Create a routine

Without a clear boundary between study time and the rest of your day, you’ll probably wind up splitting your focus. You might worry about chores while you’re studying, your study progress when you’re cooking dinner, never giving your full attention to the task at hand.

It’s good to get into the habit of doing something to break up your day. If you had a commute before, you’re likely realizing you used that time to mentally shift gears. Just because your situation has changed doesn’t mean you have to completely throw out your old routine.

As tempting as it may be to go from your desk to your couch, schedule a transition. Go for a walk or exercise. Prepare a healthy snack and take time to sit down and enjoy it. Whatever you decide, stick to it and it can make a world of difference in your productivity and how you feel.

Stay informed on exam news and make your schedule realistic

The prospect of studying 40 hours a week and finishing your exam studies sooner with your newfound time can be exciting, but remember that many test centers are closing or operating at reduced capacity. Check informed news sources, like our Accounting News Blogs or our Coronavirus update pages, to make sure you are not rushing only to wait.

With an adaptive review course, you can be confident that, even if exams are delayed, you will still be able to review effectively and efficiently. Be sure to complete your review course completely before sitting for your exam.

If you have already finished studying, use the adaptive features of your review course to ensure you remember important information. You can also create custom quizzes to focus on areas you are struggling with and topics you haven’t studied for a while. This will keep the information fresh in your mind.

Get the family involved

This might seem counter intuitive after reading about the importance of minimizing distractions, but it helps to have your family involved in your study plan. If your family members have homework or studying to do, consider having family study time. Even if you are in separate rooms, having an established time set aside for studying helps everyone achieve their goals. At the very least, communicating your study plan to your loved ones will help to establish boundaries and a support system, which will help you can devote your full attention to your studies.

BONUS TIP: This isn’t just for self-isolation or self-quarantine either! This routine is very good to adapt to studying at home after COVID-19.

Reward yourself after each study session

Each study session, set a goal to study for a certain amount of time. Once you complete this goal, reward yourself with something you enjoy. With many social activities being canceled or postponed, take time to do those “big” projects you never had enough time for in the past!

This tip pairs perfectly with involving your family. If your family is also studying, do an activity you would all enjoy, such as playing a board game or talking about your achievements over a meal.

Plan to split your time between work and studying

Many employers are allowing their employees to work from home, so even if you’re home, you might not actually have all day to study. But, removing your commute and a faster lunch break can mean more time to study at home.

Set aside specific time for work and specific time for study. Separate these two times by at least an hour break and try to build a task into your routine that helps you transition. Go for a walk, grab a bite to eat, or catch up on your favorite podcast. This gives you time to relax and refocus your mind into study mode or work mode depending on how you schedule your day.

If you can, choose a set a study space that is different from your work space at home. Having separate spaces breaks up the monotony and helps keep your brain focused on the task at hand. Keep both spaces neat and organized to improve productivity.

BONUS TIP: Do not try to multi-task by studying and working from home at the same time. This will result in decreased performance in both areas. Instead, devote your focus to each task separately to ensure you are getting the most out of both your work and study time.

Use a study method that works best for you

Some study methods that work well in a library, coffee shop, or other public place may not work as well while you are studying at home. If something about your usual method isn’t working, like where you study or the time of day, don’t use it!

Try active studying

Instead of trying to simply read and memorize information, be proactive during your studies. You will be more engaged and will retain information better. Ask yourself questions about the material, such as how two topics relate to each other. You will get a more holistic picture and be able to answer the tougher questions on the exam.

Once you are done with a topic, write yourself a short summary. This puts the material in your own words so that when you go back to review, you will have an easier time remembering the material covered.

Take advantage of an adaptive course

The Gleim SmartAdapt® System is designed to help candidates focus more heavily on their weak areas, while making sure they do not forget their strengths. This balance is essential to an overall successful study plan.

Effective adaptive courses are also be able to help determine when you have spent too much time on a topic and should move on to keep yourself engaged. Reach out to your Personal Counselors for tips on how to tweak your study plan to get the most out of these features.

Whether you are studying for CPA, CMA, CIA, or EA, or completing your CPE, you can effectively study from home. Check out one of our demos and see how easy it is with Gleim Exam Review!