If you’re a seminary student, then chances are you are always looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of your study times. This effectiveness can be played out in multiple ways: through better organization practices, memorization tips, useful study habits, and more! Here are my favorite study tips that have helped myself and many others in seminary:
1. Find Your Sweet Spot. The first thing that every seminary student needs to figure out is where he or she studies best. To discover your “study sweet spot,” think about the times when you were really “in the zone.” Then, think about times when you really weren’t able to focus. Do you see a trend emerging?
My sweet spot is in our apartment, at my desk, with instrumental music playing. This setting is my sweet spot for studying, and is where I can accomplish the most tasks. When I want to switch it up, I visit a coffee shop and work there. Now, this might not work for everyone. My wife is in seminary, and she usually can’t listen to music while working on assignments. She also works best in a comfy chair or on the couch, because that relaxing environment allows her to engage her studies better.
If I were to study with friends, I would get nothing accomplished. Some people love to visit new places and study. I know people that enjoy doing that, but some people get too distracted and don’t get things done in new places.
Find your sweet spot for study time, and stick to it! This will help you focus better on your studies and maximize on your study times.
2. Get Organized. Some people are better at this than others, but I’m not referring to general organization. When you need to work on a specific assignment for a class, gather your resources before you sit down, and have them at arm’s length. At my desk, I created a shelf that holds all of my books for the semester. I never have to go searching for my books, but can stay focused on the task at hand.
3. Create Memorization Tricks. I never could have survived Greek in seminary if I didn’t use memory tricks to help me remember what words mean. Use mnemonics activities such as acronyms, visualizations, rhymes, and information chunking in order to help you remember definitions, facts, and more.
I had a professor use acronyms to help us memorize the Old Testament prophets and their specific time period when they prophesied. Very helpful! (of course, my professor would want to make sure you knew that two of the prophets can’t be dated at this time). Anyways, look for specific methods that will help you remember important information.
4. Plan Out Your Time. When I get ready to study, I plan out the amount of time I will focus on a subject, and when my next break will occur. The hardest part about writing papers is actually making yourself sit down and write! I found that if I was looking forward to a quick break in 30 minutes, I was able to focus better and write well during that 30 minutes.
Use these helpful study tips to maximize your time and increase your learning effectiveness while in seminary.
Steven Knight is a Christ follower, husband, ministry leader, and student in the ThM program at Dallas Theological Seminary. Steven is a visionary leader with a deep desire to equip a new generation of children’s and family ministry leaders through his speaking, consulting, and writing ministries. He frequently blogs over at KidminTools.com.