Learning new things and storing information in our brains is at the very core of human life. The more we learn, the more knowledge we gain about ourselves, the world around us, and the things in it – so why, oh why, is studying so darn difficult?
The methods and techniques you use when you study will greatly depend on you as an individual, but there are of course more effective ways than others.
Here are some of the best tips and tricks that are scientifically proven to improve your learning…
Use a notepad and pen
Nowadays, college students are mostly seen with laptops on their desks, but research has recently shown that the old fashioned method of pen and paper is far more effective in helping us retain and process information. How? Well, it’s all down to the fact that when we write by hand, we have more time to comprehend what we are writing, meaning we have a better capability of recalling the information at a later date.
Space your study sessions out
Scientific studies also show that distributed practice is the most successful way for our brains to store information – this means we learn more when our study sessions are shorter and more spaced out throughout the day, rather than when they’re prolonged and tiresome. Short study sessions will also help you maintain motivation and enthusiasm, too.
Looking after yourself is an absolute must. As well as eating well and working out, sleep should always be made a priority during exam season. Our brains work most effectively and productively when we are caught up on our sleep, meaning if we are having too many late nights in the library, then chances are we’re only harming the success of our studying the next day. Keeping well hydrated is also vital!
Use multiple methods
If you attempt to learn something in more than one way, then that means you are using more than one region of the brain to store the information. Using multiple methods, such as note-taking, diagram-drawing, and speech presentation, will allow you to not just memorize knowledge, but actually understand it better it too. So instead of just reading a textbook, try watching a video or listening to a podcast as well.
Most methods of modern-day examinations require you to memorize heaps of information, so unfortunately, studying is essentially just a memory game. To combat the fear of having a blank, empty mind when your exam comes around, making connections from what you’re learning to other things you already know can significantly increase your chances of recalling more and more knowledge. This way, you’ll be adding layers of new information to existing knowledge that makes retention and recall far more successful.
Teach someone else
They often say that the best way to learn something is to teach someone else. If you’re finding it hard to comprehend a certain topic or subject, attempting to explain it to someone can help you understand it yourself. Something may not make sense in your mind, but when you say it out loud, the pieces can be put together far more easily.
If you’re finding that information just doesn’t seem to be sticking around, you must keep calm and remain patient. You probably know more than you think you do. Take restful breaks often and do your best to prevent any distractions interfering with your learning state of mind.