Making Yourself Study

Can't Study

Are you feeling the weight of school pushing down on your chest? Do you find yourself sitting in coffee shops with the intent of studying but the lack of will? Have you signed into Facebook thirty times in the last ten minutes? Have you taken out your phone to text someone, anyone!? We’ve all been there: final exams are approaching. We’re all in this amazing university, so we must have the ability to be productive, but where has it gone and how do we get it back?

The solution to all of these questions is: just pretend. I know it sounds crazy but you’ll see. Sit down, take out your books and open to the first page. Go through the motions of studying even if you’re just pretending. Start scanning pages with your eyes blurred and barely taking in anything. The words will start coming into focus and with each page you’ll retain a bit more. The technical term for this is Incidental Information Acquisition (or IIA). Heinstrom (2006) explains this as acquiring information while not consciously looking for it. This is an information science term, and it makes sense when you stumble upon something you didn’t intend to but ended up benefitting from. You can apply it to any facet of your life, regardless of your intention. This advise was given to my by a counsellor; sometimes its fun to manipulate your own mind. It works here because, to be honest, you didn’t actually intend on learning or studying, but by going through the motions you really will. Add some caffeine to the equation and you’ve got your first prep session on its way!

Tracey Regimbal

  • Heinstrom, J. (2006).  Psychological factors behind incidental information acquisition. Library and Information Science Research, 28(4), 579-594
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