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Most of us keep studying well after we’ve finished school and graduated from university. So for those who might have forgotten what it’s like to learn new information or want to discover how to study more effectively, here are a few science-based tips.
- Study in short sessions. Study for 20-30 minutes, and then take a break. Brain processes small amounts of information over a longer period of time much better than one huge chunk of material in one sitting.
- No all-nighters. Even though is sometimes seems like a good idea to just spend a night cramming in all the information, it is far from an effective study method. All-nighters make your memory less functional and hinder your ability to concentrate and multi-task. Plus the lack of sleep will make you drowsy and anxious in the morning impairing your alertness, reasoning, and problem solving.
- Use flashcards instead of highlighters. Flashcards actually help the brain link key concepts together and absorb the information much better than highlighters. One of the reasons for this is that flashcards help you to not get distracted by all the other information in the textbook.
- Study with a specific goal in mind. Do not try to cram in all the information there is. Focus on one certain thing you want to achieve or understand. For example learn how to conjugate French verbs or use a specific chemical equation.
- Try teaching someone about something you’ve learned. It will make your brain organize the information logically in order to convey it to your audience.
- Take advantage of the practice tests. They will let you prepare better for when you will have to take the test for real. You will be more relaxed and confident about your knowledge. Plus, practice tests are a great way to find the gaps in your knowledge of the material and work on them.
- Study in a space that is meant for studying only. Choosing a designated space will help you to not get distracted. It also helps to choose specific study times, they, together with a designated study space, will put the brain into a study mode. Also, don’t forget to take everything you need for studying with you, like pens or textbooks, so that you don’t have to stop in order to go get them.
- You might want to stop listening to music while you study. Although some researchers have found that classical music may help study, music usually distracts rather than helps. You will probably absorb the information better if you study in silence.
- Turn off, or better yet, leave your phone elsewhere. There is no need to say that checking your phone every 5 minutes for social media updates and new massages will not help you concentrate.