How to Study Better for Adults

Grab every free moment for studying.
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Adults tend to take an active role in their education and are easily self-directed, drawing on a reserve of experience. They usually are appropriately motivated and develop effective study habits more rapidly than younger students because they place a high value on learning and the kinds of opportunities a degree can provide. Adult students study better when they build routines that are in line with their lifestyles and needs.

1 Set Goals and Regular Schedules

Because adults often have jobs and family obligations in addition to their coursework, it’s imperative that they build time in their schedules for studying. The time should be cordoned off from other activities, leaving the student free to study without interruption. Those who are accustomed to setting work-related goals appreciate the benefits they receive from setting daily study goals that coincide with their time constraints. For example, if there are only two hours in the evening free for studying, reading two chapters and working one hour on a project may be a suitable goal for the allotted timeframe.

2 Treat It as a Job

When the boss gives lengthy assignments at work, employees don’t simply ignore the assignments or put them off until they don’t have time to finish. They know they might lose their jobs if they don’t complete work assignments. By developing the same attitude toward school work and studying, adults maintain their level of commitment and get to each project and assignment without delay. They may grouse, just like at work, but understand that their future rests on their ability to get the work completed.

3 Bring Your Course Work With You

With a full and busy lifestyle, it’s often difficult to stick to study times. Obligations that can’t be changed may include doctor appointments, work, childcare and travel. Adults who bring their course work with them on a laptop, tablet or smart phone are prepared for any situation and can take advantage of important downtime in waiting rooms and on public transportation. Adults can add up the study hours by grabbing little pieces of valuable time in a number of different situations.

4 Build Relationships With Peers

Study groups are a vital learning tool for adults for a variety of reasons. They can help hold students accountable for the work and they offer fresh insight into what may be difficult assignments or confusing instructions. Study groups help to keep the work fun when shared with other students with similar passions and interests. While coworkers and family members may not understand the purpose of going back to school or the adult student’s choice of classes, other students in class do understand and relate. Additionally, connections with fellow students and faculty members may prove beneficial in future endeavors or job hunting.

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."