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How to Make Studying Fun! (Okay, Maybe Not Fun, But Tolerable, At Least)

Why is studying so tediously torturous? Why hasn’t anybody invented some sort of technology that will insert the knowledge directly into our brains for easy access? I have confidence that this will happen one day, but until then, here are some tips to help make the minutes seem less like agonizing hours of hellish torment:

When your teacher tells you to read pages 34 through 9,450… read them aloud in your favorite accent. There’s just something about British accents that makes reading the textbook feel like an adventure.

Make funny songs! When I had to memorize the periodic table of the elements, I made them into a song that went to the tune of “Bennie and the Jets.” (I can’t remember it, but it definitely went something like, “B-b-b-bromine and tellurium.”) That song was one of the most revolutionary undertakings of my sophomore year, and I would have done great things with it if I hadn’t misplaced the Burger King napkin I wrote it on.

Try to explain the material to somebody else. Trying to teach the material will trigger those memory mechanisms in your brain, so round up your best friend, your little sister, your mailman, and your friendly neighborhood taxidermist. Take hostages if you have to, then force them to memorize mathematical formulas. You’ll be ready for your math test, and they’ll unwillingly have learned that sine equals opposite over hypotenuse. Everybody wins!

Make acronyms. For instance, HOMES is a great way to remember the Great Lakes. It’s also a great way to remember “hairy old men eat sausages.” You’re welcome.

Make associations. Example: in my psychology class, I had to know that the cerebellum portion of the brain has to do with balance. I associated the word “cerebellum” with a certain character from a certain vampire novel who couldn’t so much as take a stroll through the woods without falling over. And three years later, I still remember it. (I also somehow made an association using “the hypothalamus” and “hippos,” but that one didn’t stick.)

Eat Swiss Cake Rolls. They’ll help. There’s no scientific basis to support this, but they’re so mouthwateringly delicious they have to be good for something.