How can I make my studies more interesting?

10 clever tips to help you study faster

by Tim Reichel

Today I'm doing something that I never do otherwise.

I usually advise you to take a relaxed approach to your studies. Don't get stressed. Look left and right every now and then. Gain experience, broaden your horizons and enjoy student life. Anyone who asks me about the standard period of study gets rolled eyes in response.

In an earlier article I went into detail about the disadvantages of the standard study time madness in Germany. Read it on occasion if you don't already know it. Here it is: Forget your standard period of study - these 10 points really matter!

But back to the topic.

Today everything is different. Opposite day, so to speak. Because in this article, I'm doing the opposite of what I usually do. In the next ten minutes, I'll show you how to get through your studies faster and more efficiently. No romance, no frills. Pure performance strategies that will help you take an academic sprint.

I have put together ten tips for you, with which you can not only study faster, but also generally get through your studies in a more targeted manner and ignore distractions. Some of the advice is obvious, but 95 percent of students ignore it. Some of the strategies are tough, but they work. It's up to you whether you use them.

Are you ready? Then let's get started.


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How to Study Faster - 10 Tips That Are Guaranteed to Work

Studying faster means studying more focused. That sounds logical and obvious, but only one in three students completes their studies within the standard period of study. Why? Because most of them don't stick to this simple rule. Most students act aimless and disoriented. They “just do it” and “let things happen”.

But there is another way. It's faster. These ten tips will help you.


Tip # 1: plan your studies!

Many students waste their time simply drifting with you. Without a fundamental concept, they dodle from semester to semester - and if you're not careful, it will be the same for you. You just live and study without a plan. The problem with this is: at some point you will lose control. You then only save yourself from deadline to deadline and miss one important appointment after the other.

A plan differentiates successful students from less successful students. A plan makes the difference between regular study time and long-term study. Without a plan, you will always remain mediocre, while with a little bit of advance thinking you can easily aim for a 1-cut. You then postpone things less and focus on working on your goals. The better you manage and plan your time, the greater the time you gain when completing tasks. With just one minute of planning, you save an average of ten minutes of your working time - every time


Tip # 2: know your options!

A course of study is not a request, but is determined by fixed framework conditions. This includes parameters such as the length of the standard period of study, module selection options or examination guidelines. All of these rules are described and explained in your examination regulations. And you have to know these rules if you want to study efficiently and quickly. You need to know the rules of the game for your studies and what options are available to you.

As a study advisor, I often experience that students read their examination regulations either only superficially, sometimes in part, or even not at all. There is no more reckless way of jeopardizing your own academic success. Your examination regulations are one of the most important documents of your entire university career. You need to know the principles on which your studies are based, otherwise you will inevitably make stupid mistakes that will cost you time and energy.


Tip # 3: optimize your study plan!

In almost all courses there is a general suggestion about which modules you should take in which semester. This compilation is known as the curriculum and is one of the most useful tools to be able to study successfully. A course plan is the common thread in your studies and ensures that you keep track of things. As a rule, however, the design of such a plan is very standardized and therefore offers potential for optimization.

By that I don't mean that you should overturn your university's official curriculum. I mean that you should adapt it to your individual needs and improve it so that you can study faster. For example, you can bring some modules forward or postpone them to later semesters; you can combine modules in such a way that you can use synergy effects when learning. And you can choose your university events in such a way that you make the most of your weekly schedule or even your final exam phase. In this way, you can use your freedom and realize the full potential of the modules on offer at your university.


Tip # 4: Be Productive - Not Busy!

Many students are constantly busy: They diligently sort their documents, summarize books and scripts, and research what they're worth. They do something - but in the end it doesn't do them any good! You are busy but not productive. Because there is a huge difference between these two states. When you're busy, you just spend your time - when you're productive, you use it.

If you want to study faster, just being busy is not enough. So if you're wondering why you always stay below your possibilities while studying and don't get a lot baked in other ways, then maybe it's because you are filling your time with unnecessary things that don't bring you closer to your goals. For example, if you want to pass a subject with a one in front of the decimal point, but need three hours to update your folder labels and google five little definitions, you will get into the Hall of Fame of Most Unproductive Students of All Time.

It has little to do with efficiency. By doing it very well, something unimportant does not become something important either. Therefore, ask yourself at regular intervals whether what you are doing is important. Does it take you further? Or are you getting lost in details and wasting time? Prefer to work a little less - but more focused and productive.


Tip # 5: don't work on the side!

I know a lot of students who work alongside their studies. Some because they want practical experience - but most because they have to to make a living. I belonged to the latter group and financed my studies myself through various part-time jobs. But a job alongside your studies costs strength, concentration and time. Those who work alongside their studies have to make compromises and often cannot concentrate 100 percent on their student duties. The result: the study time is extended. Not always, but sometimes.

You will probably think now, “But I need the money. I have to work, you # * $ § # $! ". Yes i believe you need the money But it's not true that you have to have a part-time job to do this. Of course you can work for your money - that's honorable and exemplary. But you don't have to do it while you are studying. There are other financing options that you should take a look at at least once.

In addition to state subsidies such as BAföG, there are hundreds of scholarship programs that pay out millions in contributions to students semester for semester. The curious thing is that a large part of the funds is not called because the potential recipients do not dare to get the respective scholarship. They either do not know their way around, do not find out about suitable funding or consider themselves too bad.

There is also the option of taking out an education loan. Yes, that sounds terribly binding at first and I don't want to encourage you to get carelessly into debt. But let's look at it objectively: Education loans from state or development banks are often offered at low interest rates and with long terms. Some loans are even interest-free. If, thanks to a loan, you do NOT have to work alongside your studies, you can concentrate all your energy on your studies. You will finish one or maybe two semesters earlier and thus earn a good academic salary for six or twelve months. With this you can easily repay the loan and the bottom line is even a good deal. Do the math - just for fun.


Tip # 6: Forego additional services!

Semesters abroad, internships or the latest project modules are great. I advise every student to take these experiences with them and live them out as intensively as possible. I'll be the last person who will tell you to forego interesting things in your studies - unless your only goal is to keep your studies short. Because the fact is: All of these things take time. Time that you could spend on the compulsory components of your studies and study faster that way.

If you want to get your studies over with as quickly as possible and have no further ambitions, additional achievements will only hold you back. In this case, it makes sense to reduce your course plan to the essentials and focus exclusively on the compulsory courses.


Tip # 7: Change the university or the course of study!

Everyone knows, but officially nobody says it: There are courses that are particularly difficult - and there are subjects in which even a drunken monkey could do a doctorate. The same applies to universities. There are universities at which every second first-year student fails - and there are universities at which you get thrown behind your degree. Of course, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I want to make sure that we understand each other: There is a difference in quality and difficulty at German universities. And you can use that if you want to save time while studying.

To do this, get an overview of the various universities and courses of study that are of interest to you. Then contact the universities to find out more about the study programs and their framework conditions (examination regulations, course schedule, etc.). Then study testimonials and opinions from current and former students and get a realistic picture of the respective level of difficulty.

If your research shows that you can complete the same or a similar degree at another university, but have to invest significantly less time and work, you should consider switching. You may be able to save several semesters and finish with a better grade at the same time. As a rule, you do not have to start all over at the new university because you can get credit for your academic achievements. Find out more about this in advance - a change of university must be carefully planned. This is the only way to get the most out of this step.


Tip # 8: learn from mistakes!

An old student saying goes: after the semester is before the semester. In other words: your studies consist of new challenges from beginning to end. Statistically speaking, students in Germany write an average of five to seven exams per semester or take other exams - that's pretty sporty. If you want to master this challenge and get good grades, you have to learn productively and cleverly.

To do this, you have to make your exam preparation efficient and success-oriented. In order for it to be that, you mustn't neglect one thing: the analysis of your last semester, your last preparation and a last exam! This is the only way you can learn from mistakes and derive success strategies for the future. And it does not matter whether you are currently studying for your first bachelor's degree or are in the penultimate semester of your master’s degree.

It is often enough if you turn it into a very simple success analysis and ask yourself: What went well and what went bad? This approach is sufficient to uncover fundamental errors, identify areas for improvement, and find concepts that have worked well for you. The following considerations will help you: How did your semester go? In which areas was it particularly stressful? Did you have enough time to study? What was your plan for the exam phase? Did it rise? Did you learn the right thing? Did you study efficiently enough? Try to learn something from each situation so that you can do better next time.


Tip # 9: don't get by on your own!

At first glance, your studies are a one-man show and are centralized towards one person: you. YOU will be trained at the university. YOU are fighting for YOUR degree. YOU take the exams. But you will never do it alone as well as with a strong network of fellow students, friends, family and other allies. That means: If you want to be successful in your studies, you have to stop wanting to do everything on your own.

So start building a strong network as early as possible and get to know as many people as possible during your time at university. Talk to lecturers and ask for help if you get stuck. Team up with fellow students in study groups or work in shifts with them by taking turns attending university events. You can study quickly on your own - but you study faster with allies.


Tip # 10: get professional support!

A network is good, but a professional network is better. If you want to complete your studies as quickly and successfully as possible, you can also rely on professional services in addition to conventional support (such as fellow students and university institutions). By this I mean, for example, tutors, ghostwriters or coaches who accompany you during your studies, carry out auxiliary work and tease out your full potential.

Advantage: With this support you will secure yourself a technical head start in your studies and you will be successful more quickly. Disadvantage: This support costs money and usually requires more work on your part. Unfortunately, this service is not a free gift - but in individual cases it can make all the difference and increase your academic success many times over. In addition to personal support, you can also fall back on smaller products such as courses for personal and professional development or useful books. I prefer the latter.


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Everyone can step up a gear in their studies and study faster. It doesn't always make sense or is worth striving for - but it works. And: it's not particularly difficult. The ten tips above have shown that a few simple approaches and easy-to-implement strategies can lead to good results.

It is only important that you understand what you expect from your studies. Do you see your studies as a chore that you want to get over with as quickly as possible? Or do you prefer to savor your time at university and enjoy it step by step? Both alternatives are fine - all you have to do is make a decision and then adjust your actions accordingly.

Even if you count yourself among the connoisseur group, it doesn't hurt if you value an efficient study. Good grades and short study periods do not have to contradict interesting content and sufficient free time. It's all a matter of organization and your study strategy. And the sooner you deal with it, the more you will ultimately get from your studies.


Image: © Atlas Green /