Did you know there’s a number of things you can do to help you study better? These and other study tips are the winning recipes to success!
It’s all thanks to neurocognitive research and a better understanding of how the brain processes information. This type of brain research includes the ability to concentrate, remember things, process information, learn, speak, and understand (in other words, our cognitive abilities).
So whether you’re an average, struggling or high-performing student, you’ll most definitely benefit from these 10 Research Based Study Tips to make Learning Easier:
Study tips that will change the way you learn, and remember!
Come up with explanations, in your own words, of to-be-learned concepts or ideas.
Rather than solely relying on exact provided definitions (for example, from lectures or textbooks), create your own, while still making sure that they are accurate.
Use a timer.
This is called the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 20 – 25 minutes, and start learning.
When the buzzer rings, take a five minute break.
After two to three repetitions, take a thirty-minute break.
When studying, instead of focusing exclusively on one concept or subject at a time, alternate between them.
For example, if you are studying subject A and subject B, rather than practice only A on one day and only B on the next, you can practice both on each day by switching back and forth between them.
It’s hard to remember a string of facts and figures if you don’t push further.
Ask questions like Why? and How?
It’s called elaboration.
Elaboration helps you combine new information with other things you know. And it creates a bigger network in your brain of things that relate to one another.
That larger network makes it easier to learn and remember things.
Be the ‘teacher’.
Research shows that students have better memory and recall abilities when they learn new information with the expectation of having to teach/explain it to someone else.
Studies also suggest that students are more engaged and will instinctively seek out methods of recall and organization when expected to take on a “teacher” role. Study tip: teach your pet!
Reading and re-reading is not studying.
Reading and re-reading textbooks merely lead students to thinking they know the material better than they do since it is right in front of them.
Rather use active recall: closing the book and reciting (and explaining) in your own words everything you can remember up to that point to practice long-term memorization.
Take advantage of old exam and test papers available as practice tests/exams. You can get a sense of different testing styles and become familiar with how the information might be presented on the real test/exam day.
A 2011 study found students who tested themselves with a practice test/exam after learning the material, retained 50% more of the information a week later than their peers who did not take a practice test/exam.
Once you’ve been able to cycle through your work without making a mistake (or too many mistakes), you may feel a sense of satisfaction and call it a day, or you may feel a charge of adrenaline and be tempted to continue studying the same material.
Research suggests it is better to take a break or move on to something else, instead of overlearning.
Multitasking is a myth. You may think you’re killing two birds with one stone by texting or quickly checking your Facebook page while studying, for example, but you’re actually forming poor study habits.
It’s also not useful having your phone on silent but often checking if there’s any new messages, or looking at your phone every time it vibrates to indicate a new message.
According to researchers, so-called “multitasking” extends your study time and ultimately may damage your grades. So when you’re studying, switch off your phone completely and put it somewhere out of sight.
- Lastly, remember that sleep is crucial for learning.
There’s even a term for it: sleep-learning.
As the memory-consolidation process does its best work during slow-wave sleep, your brain could be getting both the restoration and reactivation it needs during its time of rest.
So don’t even think about studying through the night instead of getting in some much needed sleep.
Here’s to better, smarter ways to study!
Article written by BrainAbility, Cognitive Assessment and Training Centres