I have discovered a new method of studying.
But before I tell you about it, let me give some background information. Lately, I’ve been studying for a lot of tests. I took the SAT in March and the ACT in April, and will be taking the SAT for a third time this June. Add to that all my chemistry assignments and you get a lot of stuff that’s, well… boring.
I mean, really. While practicing for the SAT’s reading sections I’ve read passages about, I don’t know, the life cycle of plankton or a day in the life of a tree or something else similarly irrelevant and dull. The math sections aren’t much better because as soon as I see numbers I immediately wish I were somewhere far, far away.
And don’t even get me started on chemistry. I actually like science, but I don’t like textbooks. It amazes me how those books suck out all the fun, interesting bits of a subject – like, aren’t we supposed to care about those topics? I don’t know about you, but as soon as I crack open my chemistry text I can feel my eyelids start to droop.
All of this is, as you may have guessed, not very conducive to studying. It’s not a matter of not wanting to study – I do want to study, because I want to do well on these tests and the best way to raise my scores is by practicing. It’s a matter of staying focused. It’s a matter of not letting my thoughts wander when I hit the boring passages of a reading section (or whatever).
The obvious solution, then, is to make studying more interesting. I have found that listening to music helps (especially once I’ve listened to a song many times while studying because eventually it automatically puts me in the mood to practice), as does annotating passages as I read to make sure I understand their meaning.
But those are fairly standard studying practices, things I already do. I like weird and funny things and they’re not weird. They’re not funny.
Do you know what is weird and funny and very helpful in keeping me focused during the study of boring things? Mentally reading the essay / math problem / et cetera in a voice that I find amusing.
No, really. Try it. Get up and go find a book that you otherwise wouldn’t read for fear of collapsing from boredom, and open it at random. Then read a paragraph or two out-loud-but-in-your-head in Kermit the Frog’s voice.
You grinned, didn’t you?
I find this very helpful. It’s completely weird, I know, but then so am I. And now instead of sighing loudly and gnashing my teeth every two sentences because the reading sections are JUST SO FREAKING BORING, I giggle. And I pay more attention to what I’m studying, because I’m no longer half-asleep with boredom. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner.
By now you’re probably wondering, “Engie, what does this have to do with Commander Strax from Doctor Who?” The answer is “everything.” I like a number of “studying voices” – including but not limited to Kermit, the Tenth Doctor, Morgan Freeman (obviously), and Gandalf – but my favorite by far is Strax.
I don’t really even need to explain his vocal awesomeness if you watch the show but for non-Whovians, I’ll leave this link of him speaking in “The Snowmen.” He’s just… perfect for goofy studying, with his deep yet silly voice. He’s also a bit arrogant and violent and his catchphrases reflect this, which makes studying even better because then I can substitute “human scum” for “people” and occasionally end sentences with “for the glory of the Sontaran empire!”
And that is all I have to say to you today. Basically, the only reason I wrote this post was so that I could talk about Strax. Thank you for making me giggle, you foolish character, you.