I received a lot of study-related advice from teachers and fellow students throughout college. I thought some of the study tips I heard seemed strange. like the kids who remained up all night doing papers or reading chapters after chapters in a textbook. I enjoy sleeping much too much!
I eventually discovered my own method of studying, but I was still interested to see if there were other strategies that would be more effective. I’ve done the research and gathered some effective study techniques that are supported by science for any learner.
1. Take Things in “chunks”
The concept of chunking may already be familiar to you if you’ve taken a psychology course. According to the hypothesis, learning related concepts in little doses helps people recall information better than just trying to cram as much information as possible into their heads at once.
Everything depends on the working memory’s capacity and how our brains convert short-term memories into long-term ones. Psychologists have repeatedly found that people can recall a list of 5 to 9 numbers or names with ease. Accordingly, the typical person can recall 7 things on a list after a brief period of time.
Although cramming allows students to absorb a lot of knowledge at once, most of what they learn is lost since their working memories are unable to store it all. To avoid knowledge loss due to cramming, group related topics together. According to studies, participants tend to recall more items from a list when they can connect certain items to others.
Therefore, attempt to group facts together based on their features if you find yourself in the (less than ideal) position where you need to recall a lot of information in a short amount of time. Alternately, use a pattern you can identify in the data to tie together concepts that at first glance seem unconnected.
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2. Avoid Getting Caught up In the Forgetting Curve
Have you ever heard of the Forgetting Curve? You’ve probably heard of learning curves. According to research, when people examine what they learned after an hour-long lecture, they are significantly more likely to be able to recall the knowledge. Unsurprisingly, one’s ability to recall information for a longer period of time increases with repeated exposure.
This hack relies on the working memory to function, just like chunking does. Every day, people consume an amazing amount of sensory data. The brain must choose what knowledge to retain and what to forget because not all of this information is crucial. The brain gives information that it has already processed more attention when deciding what should come first.
If you examine what you’ve studied every day for a short period of time rather than cramming, you’re more likely to remember knowledge from your lectures. If you don’t have time to go over everything you learned in a class every day, at least make an effort to make sure you have thoroughly studied a subject before a test.
This can be accomplished, for example, by actively reading the pertinent content from your textbook prior to the lecture, making notes, and then going over your notes that evening just before bed. It is obviously beneficial to study your notes one more before an exam, and the more time you have to do so, the less you will need to memorize before the test. In the long run, it may even save you time!
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3. Consistently Exercise Before Studying.
The effects of exercise on cognition are both long-term and short-term. Your sympathetic nervous system is activated when you workout because your body interprets the physical stress as you battling or running from an opponent. Your brain reacts by receiving an influx of extra blood that is nutrient- and oxygen-rich, in order to make decisions that it believes, could save your life. Even the production of new brain cells—neurogenesis—which was previously believed to be impossible—can be facilitated by exercise.
Additionally, exercise stimulates the hippocampus, a part of the brain. The hippocampus is vital for memory and reasoning, according to research. Along with temporary improvements in cognition, consistent exercise can really halt the hippocampus’s age-related atrophy.