Studying, particularly a compulsory subject you find difficult to engage, can feel like a tedious chore. However, there are a few things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable and even — I dare to suggest — fun. Here is some advice to liven up those dull moments:

• Study in a comfortable environment. The setting in which you work can affect your mood a great deal. Be sure that you are seated in a pleasant chair before a desk with good lighting. If possible, work in seclusion. Distractions can hinder your progress.

• Play relaxing music. Good music can be just the thing to put you at ease and allow your mind to concentrate. Avoid songs with lyrics, though. Lyrical music can be a major distraction. Jazz and classical music are most effective in this context.

• Have snacks and drinks near by. A favorite refreshment can keep you in good spirits. Also, it will keep you at your desk in case you feel in the mood to munch on something. Avoid junk food, however. Fatty food perpetuates sluggishness. Fruit, such as an apple, is one healthy option.

• Use flash cards. Using flash cards is a great way to study because it allows you to test your progress. Sometimes it can feel like studying is a moot point, especially on a topic you aren’t particularly good at. Knowing how well you are doing is a great motivator to continue studying.

• Take a break every so often. Burning the midnight oil is something you want to avoid. Studying for too many consecutive hours can be mentally exhausting and cause you to retain less of what you learn. It is beneficial to give your cognitive system a breather every few hours to recharge.

• If possible, study with a partner. This tip needs to be approached with caution. You can very easily digress from your studies if you choose the wrong partner. It might seem like a good idea to study with your best friend, but this will only increase the chances of you straying from the topic. Find someone who takes the subject seriously and is good at it.

• Try explaining what you learned to someone else. This is one of the best ways to gauge how well you understand a topic. Albert Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough.” This is sound advice. Not only will this measure your understanding, it will make the topic engaging. The person you speak to might even have a unique perspective on what you convey.

• Form mnemonic devices. This is a great way to remember a sequence. If, for instance, you need to remember the names of the first 4 presidents of the United States (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison) you can use the device Who ate John’s waffles?

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