resist the temptation of procrastinating.
.1. Study when sleepy
The first thing that we can all do when studying is to study when we are tired. This might seem as if it makes no sense at all, but actually it is the ideal way to ensure that we retain the memory of what we are reading through the night and that we think about what we have read during our dreams and when we wake up in the morning. Late night study might sound a little odd but it makes perfect sense when you delve into it.
2. Short bursts
We cannot stress this point enough, but you should NEVER study for more than an hour at a time. When you are studying for a long period of time your mind wanders and your brain becomes tired. There is no way that after the first hour of study you will be retaining even a fraction of what you are reading. Instead, take an hour burst and a 30 break before you go back to it again, and don’t study for more than 3-4 hours in a single day because it won’t do you any good at all.
3. Tell a story
We all remember this little adage:
Never Eat Shredded Wheat
And this is what we use in primary schools to teach us about the locations of directions on a compass. When you come to learning concepts or phrases which you aren’t too sure on, it is always helpful to use on of these story devices to associate words and letters with something new. For example you could be thinking of the word difficulty, and the song from Matilda might pop into your mind immediately. Think about the different things you can use to make learning easier and this can be a huge help.
4. Ask someone to keep you on track
If you are like most of us and you have a habit of putting things off until the last possible minute, you could be losing out on a lot of learning potential in your life. To make sure that you stay on track and that you are always ahead of the game, you can ask a friend or partner to keep you on track by giving you study tasks and deadlines to follow. For example you can think about asking your friend to give you a test on each chapter of work once a week and to text you regularly to make sure you are studying as you need to. This motivation can be just what you need to stay in track for longer.
5. Visual aids
Not everyone is able to learn using a book and a piece of paper, and we don’t blame you if you are one of these people who cannot learn in the traditional way. A great aid to learning is visual aids, and you can find these in a range of different places and with different uses. There might be diagrams and infographics, photographs, and even YouTube Videos online which help you to learn songs about DNA and other scientific concepts. Sometimes learning lyrics to a song or watching a compelling documentary is what you need to retain information and do well on your exams.
6. Test yourself
Whenever you teach the end of a chapter and you are looking for a way to consolidate what you have just learnt, you need to give yourself a test on the subject. A lot of the time there will be tests available at the end of book chapters and there might be tests you can try online to help you with your work, and this can be incredibly useful for your overall learning. Testing yourself ensures that you understand the concepts you have read and it will show you if you need to go back and read something again for good measure.
7. Write it out
If you don’t like to sit and read a textbook for hours on end (who does?), then you might actually find it a lot easier to write out notes of the work as you read through and then use these notes to prepare you for a little test. Reading through a paragraph in a book and being able to summarise what is said in your own words is a great learning technique because it shows that you understand what it being said on the page. It is also a great way to consolidate and retain information in your head which can be useful for a test.
8. Read out loud
It might sound a little bit silly at first, and you might want to make sure you are alone before you do this, but reading out loud can have a similar effect as writing something down because your mind is processing what is there on the page and you are able to really think about what you are saying, where in other situations you might not be able as much. It gives you the essential tool to retain and comprehend a concept and it will engrain itself in your mind much quicker.
9. Drink up
Hydration is incredibly important in our life in general and it goes the same way when we come to learning a new concept. It is important to remember that our brain is a physical organ with real cells inside which contain our thoughts and memories, and just like every other cell in the body, they need water to survive and thrive. Make sure that you always drink lots of water during hot study because it will help to keep you focused on the task ahead and it will allow you to stay healthy throughout the process.
10. Have a treat
It is important that you treat yourself a little bit like a donkey when studying. And what we mean by that is that you should have an idea for a treat dangling in front of you for the duration of your sturdy period and once you have completed your work you can have the carrot. For example you could treat yourself to a meal out with your partner, a night out with friends or even simply a new dress you’ve had your eye on for a while. Treats and rewards work as positive reinforcement and they make us more willing to work for things.
11. Study group
If you always find that you hate being stay in silence at home studying, you might want to instead think about being part of a study group of your own. Study groups are great because if you are struggling on projects or assignments and you are tempted to buy term papers to submit, a group of other students can give you the tools and ideas to complete the work yourself.
Like we mentioned earlier, you cannot study until you completely wear yourself out because this just isn’t the right way to go about things and you can end up burning out completely, unable to retain anything at all. Instead you need to consider taking time out at the end of a long study session and relaxing for the rest of the day. Take a bath, watch a movie and play on a game to make you feel more relaxed and ready to tackle the day.
Meditation can be a great factor in making sure that you are able to relax after a long session of study, and it can also be effective for reducing the stress you start to feel in the weeks leading up to and exam. If you can spend just 10 minutes mediating each day it can really make a huge difference to your day and it will allow you to focus on your work effectively.
14. Teach someone else
Honestly, one of the best study methods of all might be the one you never even thought about and this is teaching someone else. When you have been studying a subject for a long time and you are ready to take a test, you might find it helpful to actually teach the subject to someone who has no idea of the concept. When you are forced to teach someone who has no idea on a concept you have to learn how to put things into simple terms and to make sure that it makes sense to anyone who reads it. If by the end of a session your ‘student’ can understand the concept too, you are into a winner and you are exam ready.