Study Skills for Creative Students

Published on June 29, 2016 by arothstein

At Broadview, pursuing our passions means that we get to spend most of our classroom and study time doing what we love – thinking creatively and producing great work. But to graduate, there are still general ed requirements to complete that sometimes push us out of our element. For creative students, it can be a unique challenge to switch off our creative minds and hit the books in a more traditional way. If you happen to be one of those students, here are some tips to help you ace those less creative courses.

1. Visual Note taking is A-OK
If you’re an artistic person, you might be a visual learner. Don’t force yourself to take boring, linear notes if you’ll remember things better in a different format. Color-code your notes, mind-map the main ideas from a lecture, or take your class notes in a sketchbook rather than on lined paper if these methods more accurately reflect the way your mind works. It’ll help the information stick in your head better!

2. Say it Out Loud
Even if you feel silly talking to yourself, repeating information you need to memorize out loud can be another helpful study technique. Repeat facts, key ideas, and the definitions of key terms to yourself. This is an opportunity to use your creative flair, too. Saying things in a funny voice, making up a rhyme, or composing a little tune to go along with what you’re learning can all help the information stick in your head better.

3. Set up a reward system
If there’s a class that’s particularly difficult or that you find particularly tedious, set up a reward system for studying for that class. Pick a favorite treat, like a favorite candy, that’s off limits unless you reach a certain goal—like studying for twenty minutes, or writing a paragraph of your paper. The reward may be small, but knowing that you earned it will come with a great feeling of satisfaction that will help drive you through the next chunk of studying.

4. Team Up
Set up a study group with your peers. If you can, balance the group with students who have different strengths and weaknesses, so that you can each help support each other in different areas. Talking about the material out loud can be a great way to remember information more quickly (see study tip #2!)

5. Don’t Overthink It
If you get frustrated with the material, and feel like you simply can’t learn anything else, it’s okay to walk away for a while. Turning to your creative projects can actually be one of the best things you can do during these times. Relax, and flex your mind by getting your creative juices flowing. Then, once you’ve spent some time in a different mindset, you can return to studying. You might be able to see things from a new angle and find yourself better able to understand things you were stuck on before.

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