Student Lifehacks: How to Study Boring Subjects

With any subject that you need to study, there is one serious problem: once you decide for yourself that this subject is boring, your speed of learning decreases significantly, and you need to put much more efforts to that as a result.

Still, if you are bored, you usually put less efforts. Then, you remember and consume much less. You can’t cheat your brain: something that is interesting to you, stays in your memory for long; uninteresting things get forgotten instantly.

Student Bored

All in all, the problem stays. Maybe, you are a student who needs to pass an exam, or a person that needs to master a new skill urgently. Then, there appears a question: “How to make yourself study a boring subject?” tried to find the answer to this important question.

Why to Learn Boring things?

Yes, you can avoid that partially and not choose dull subjects, not concentrate on earning money only. Even something you like can be boring, but if boredom attacks you starting with the first days of study, that’s a bad sign.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to study boring subjects. Even if you go in for creative activities, there can be dull details in it. They bring enough routine but no pleasure.

But the most often, a topic just seems to be dull and uninteresting. Reasons may differ: a boring teacher, material, or you not having enough understanding about interesting things.

Boring or Complicated?

Mostly, people think that math is boring, but looking at their grades, one notices that they are quite low. People often think complicated things to be boring. These subjects (physics, chemistry, programming) carry something more than just numbers and formulas. People just do not want to understand them deeper.

Or consider for instance, foreign language learning. If you tried to learn German, you could notice that the process is interesting on one day, and boring on another one. The reason is that, in the first case you can look deeper than grammar and vocabulary. You change perspective and get your satisfaction.

How to Make a Boring Subject Interesting

Discipline and concentration training: those are first things you need to learn. But even these skills stop working if you’re bored and the subject has to be learnt for months.

Here are three ways to make a subject interesting.

Reveal the Context

Do you remember those days at school, when your teacher just wrote formulas on the blackboard and nothing more? No context, explanation and motivation. Learning facts by heart does not work, it only leads to stress and tension. You feel yourself obligated to learn things.

But you shouldn’t blame your teachers only. You can cultivate your enthusiasm on your own.

Before starting to learn things, find out enough information about the subject. Read Wikipedia, forums, ask tips form people. Concentrate on aspects that seem to be useful and interesting. All in all, just believe in that. For instance, when I study any boring things, I decide to devote several hours to that with no breaks:

  • First hour: it is impossible;
  • Second hour: brain starts moving;
  • Third hour: it gets interesting.

You can devote a couple hours to study that topic on Wikipedia in details. That is interesting: to move from link to link and fill gaps in your basic knowledge.

All in all, you better guide yourself into a context of a studied information. For instance, you need to learn philosophical creed of Kant. That’s painful. But as soon as you read about the context, about the appearance of those ideas and their difference from previous ones, things get more and more interesting.

Create Stories and Mental Maps

Mental Map

Your brain feels it better to remember stories and pictures rather than abstract numbers and formulas. A good story keeps worrying the reader to the very end.

Studying is to become a creative process. When you read things, establish connections, create pictures in your head, receive insights and show miracles of intuition. This all helps you treat the subject curiously.

Use mnemonical techniques. They work because they tell stories and turn studying into a game. Everything that is perceived as a game calls out the pure enthusiasm.

Use imagination and visualization. Think about environment Kant had to live in and about people who surrounded him. What clothes did he wear? What did not satisfy him?

Use Knowledge

You are afraid to use knowledges due to one reason: you are afraid to look silly in the eyes of people around. Of course, if you study any language for a WHOLE MONTH already (irony) and then you decide to talk to a native speaker, this action may seem to be silly and desperate. Nevertheless, that single strange dialogue can give you much more knowledge than just simple learning things by heart.

You need a certain amount of courage for practice. A courage to look unskilled, to make a mistake, to fail. But this is the best way, there is no other.

You can reach small successes while having minimal skills. For instance, junior programmers create mini-games or apps using knowledges they have got. Additionally, they see their mistakes and know why they need to study the next topic. They know why it is going to be necessary.

Humans show creativity miracles while using instruments and knowledge they have. History knows many examples of people creating their best inventions yet at the beginning of their activities.

You can study new subjects on websites like Coursera, Khan Academy, MIT OCW. Probably the best teachers in the world are gathered there, so if you have the need to study a boring topic, you should complete your task there.

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