For many people, studying entails devoting hours upon hours to their textbooks and notes, only to emerge stressed, weary, and with little progress accomplished.
Finding out how you learn is the first step toward studying smarter. Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another.
We’ve compiled a list of ideas on how to study better, which can help you save time, be more productive, and reduce stress.
1. Don’t miss a class
Students with a ‘A’ average never skip a class. They also never miss the start or finish of a session, as this is when significant announcements about tests and projects are frequently delivered. If you lose focus during lectures, record them on your phone or with a simple voice recorder and listen to them afterwards.
2. Review your notes quickly and often
After a lecture or class, go over your notes again quickly. It aids in the storage of knowledge in long-term memory.
3. Organise your notes visually
Rewriting a class or subject’s important ideas as a diagram can help — try utilizing a mind-map or flow chart, or color-coding significant components of the topic. Then you can take a short look at it before going into an exam.
4. Plan ahead
Make sure you give yourself adequate time to complete homework and revise for exams. Note due dates and exam dates on a calendar at the start of each term, as well as time for research, editing, and final review.
5. Explain things to others
If you try to explain your responses verbally to others who don’t know much about the subject, it will help you make things clearer in your thoughts. This is when your bothersome siblings and parents come in handy!
6. Study in short chunks
Short study sessions assist your brain’s synapses process information more better than protracted sessions with a lot of material. Consider devoting 30 minutes before or after work to your studies. Avoid pulling all-nighters by planning and reading ahead of time and creating a study routine.
7. Get in the zone
Create the optimal study environment by gathering all of the books and materials you’ll need. This time of preparation also helps to prepare the brain for studying. Limit distractions as well – if you must listen to music, choose melodious music without lyrics and, of course, turn off your phone and avoid social media.
8. Sleep well and exercise
When you’re alert, well-fed, and rested – and even better after you’ve exercised – you absorb information better. It’s critical to eat nutritional foods like fish, almonds, berries, and yoghurt to keep your brain fueled. It’s also a good idea to stay hydrated and get up and walk around in between 30-minute intervals.
9. Write flash cards
When you write something down after reading or hearing it, your brain remembers it better. As a result, you’ll probably have to ditch the highlighter and start making flashcards instead. The Leitner System, which uses the principle of spaced repetition and increasing intervals, is a useful system to utilize.
10. Connect the dots
When it comes to consuming information, learning to build connections pays off. Consider how the information you’re reading, seeing, or listening to is related to one another when you’re studying. Contextual learning is the term for this. Attempt to condense relevant knowledge onto a single flashcard.
11. Set goals
Make a list of study objectives and cross them off when you achieve them. It will not only encourage you and make you feel accomplished, but it will also help you feel in control and alleviate any study tension.
12. Aim to teach it
People who study something to teach it to others acquire the information more logically than those who study for themselves, according to studies. Children who participated in peer learning performed much better on a reading test than students who did not, according to a study conducted in the United States, demonstrating the impact peer tutoring may have on academic attainment.
Bonus: Be kind to yourself
Maintain a consistent schedule. Also, get plenty of rest – not just the night before the exam, but for weeks or months. “Those things are absolutely critical for learning,” adds Nebel. She also believes that exercise is beneficial.
Don’t worry if it all looks overwhelming, she says. If there’s a lot to learn, start with one new study technique every week or two. For the first few months, at the very least, space out your study periods and practice retrieval. As you gain experience, you will be able to add more skills to your repertoire. And if you need assistance, don’t be afraid to ask.
Finally, if you have trouble following the above instructions (for example, you can’t keep track of time or find it difficult to simply sit and focus on your task), you may have an undiagnosed disease like ADHD. Consult your doctor to find out. The good news is that it might be curable.
Doing academics in the midst of a pandemic is difficult at best. But keep in mind that your professors and students are also dealing with difficulties. They, like you, have concerns, fears, and questions. Be willing to give them a break. Also, be gentle with yourself. “After all, we’re all in this together,” Kornell explains.