Get enough restful rest before studying to ensure optimal study performance. Aim for eight hours each night prior to studying. Eat food that’s high in proteins and fiber to keep your mind sharp while also limiting sugary snacks, and take breaks during study sessions.
1. Take Notes
Notes are an effective way to jot down information you hear or read, which can then help your memory recall it later. There are various note-taking methods, and finding which works for you could make all the difference to your study habits. When taking notes, it is crucial to listen actively and record any ideas that arise during class discussions. Doing this will allow you to remember key concepts while saving time when studying later on.
Transcribe the full lecture verbatim may work for some, but for others it can be daunting and distracting. Instead, focus on key points and questions instead; try the Cornell method which divides a page into three sections for questions/cues on the left, notes in the center, and summary at the right side. Mind mapping can also be useful when studying complex subjects like chemistry or history; the technique helps organize information in branches that link ideas together while also serving to memorize vocabulary words.
2. Read Aloud
Reading aloud can be an effective way to boost memory. Studies have revealed that recalling information easier if read aloud, rather than just thinking it over in your head. Doing this engages multiple senses – your eyes as you read, mouth as you say and ears when hearing yourself read aloud. Reading out loud is also a powerful way of helping students better comprehend how text works. When teachers pause during read-alouds to verbalize internal dialogues, students can listen for words they need to remember in order to answer any questions related to the story.
Reading aloud can be an excellent way to encourage student engagement during class book discussions and demonstrate how readers access and create meaning from texts. Reading aloud also presents teachers with the unique opportunity of exposing students to books above their grade level; however, reading aloud should be distinguished from shared reading in that the teacher acts as primary reader and facilitator while students practice comprehension strategies through guided or independent reading lessons.
3. Focus on One Task at a Time
Studies show that humans cannot focus for more than an hour at a time without becoming distracted and their learning will suffer as a result. If you try to go beyond this limit, your learning could suffer significantly and distractions will likely surface as a result. Start by conducting a self-test – set an hour timer, and see how long you can study before your brain signals you to take a break. Once you understand your study concentration level, planning will become much simpler.
As soon as you sit down to study, eliminate distractions and focus exclusively on one task at a time. Close other pages on your web browser, place your phone on “Do not disturb” mode, and devote one space for your studies – this way your mind will come to associate that place with studying more easily over time! Break down large assignments into manageable chunks to lessen distraction and make studying more bearable, such as writing two pages each day for five days for English class (if that seems daunting and discouraging). Also try making studying less boring by connecting new information with something familiar like water (studying cave stalactites for instance can remind one of a waterfall), such as noting how they resemble waterfalls.
4. Take Breaks
Breaks during studying may seem counter-intuitive, but taking them can actually increase productivity. By helping you refocus and avoid burnout, taking breaks allows your mind to relax while helping to remember information for longer than without breaks. One way to take a break is by switching tasks (known as interleave). For example, if studying biology becomes overwhelming for you, reading for your literature class or writing a paper might provide relief. Interleaving may also help if you’re struggling to grasp difficult concepts or equations.
Exercise as another way of taking a break. Research shows that physical activity improves concentration and memory retention. Engaging in short cardio workouts, jumping jacks or push-ups may provide just enough relief from mental fatigue to recharge the mind and help increase concentration. Finally, take a break by doing something creative. If you’re visual learner, associate the data you need to memorize with pictures or turn it into a story – studies have shown that people tend to retain stories more readily than numbers or facts alone.
5. Reward Yourself
If you want to speed up and optimize your learning, ensure you incorporate all elements of the study cycle: previewing, attending class, studying, reviewing, and testing. Missing out on even one element could mean missing out on invaluable learning opportunities. If you’re having difficulty keeping yourself motivated, try rewarding yourself for every successful study session. Be it with treats, watching an episode of your favorite TV series, or hanging out with friends – rewards can foster positive habits and make a huge difference in how quickly and effectively you learn.
Keep breaks in mind as well. While it might be tempting to cram all your homework and studying into one session, research shows that taking frequent and well-timed breaks will actually increase learning. As with anything, sleep is also vitally important to improving brain function and memory retention. Finally, be realistic; developing new study habits takes time, so give yourself credit each day when you make effective studies sessions! By following these tips you’ll be amazed at just how productive your studying sessions become!