If you are a student, these “best ways to study” methods are for you.
Many students struggle at school. Not because they lack mental ability, but they do it the wrong way. Most students spend their time studying their lessons inappropriately. Why inappropriate? Because there are better ways to study. And these techniques are scientifically proven.
Students of today’s generation have millions of resources to use. But they use it incorrectly. If you read this article through the end, you’ll be equipped with scientific-based study habits that can help you maximize your potential as a student.
How to study effectively
1. Forget less.
Obviously, if you want to remember more, you need to forget less. But how? As we experienced, our brain seems to hold information very shortly. In fact, you may hardly remember what was discussed in your class yesterday.
Fortunately, research findings found that there is a chance to remember more from the class. Most experts suggest that there’s a high chance that you remember the information if you review it again within 24 hours. Spacing is important in studying.
In other words, you will remember better if you take time interval in your studying. But the spacing must be close to the time when you first learn the lesson.
For instance, you learned something on Monday, it is better to review your lesson on Tuesday. Do not wait until Thursday or Friday before you review the previous discussion.
Time spacing in studying your lesson allows you to avoid information overload. And most importantly, it makes you more efficient.
This scientific fact argues that cramming is not one of the best ways to study.
2. Study when you’re tired.
Another best way to study is to review your lesson after a tiring day. Usually, before bed. Well, this may be against the conventional academic norm. But there’s actually a scientific explanation on this.
Studying before bed gives you a better chance that you will remember what you study. Experts call this “sleep-learning.” This process allows your brain to learn the information you tried to remember even during a sleep.
3. The active recall technique.
While most of us believe that reading notes or books repeatedly can help the learning process, one expert disagreed. A psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis argued that re-reading books and or other materials can mislead people’s perception. For example, if you read your notes over and over again, you may think that you know everything on that subject.
But the truth is, you’re not. What makes you think so is because reading does not require memorization. So everything sounds easy to you.
According to the same expert, one of the best ways to study your lesson is not by repetition. Instead, through the process what he called “active recall“. That is closing your books or notes after reading and try to memorize everything that you’ve previously read. Arguably, this process trains your brain to have better memorization ability.
4. Use the tradition paper notes.
While technological advancement makes our life easier, gadgets such as tablets are not good in reviewing lessons. Studies found that using traditional or printed materials are more effective when it comes to studying compared to using gadgets. This means that students learn more by using traditional reading materials than on screen.
5. Avoid multitasking.
While most of us think that doing many things simultaneously makes us productive, the truth is, it’s not. In fact, multitasking is a bad habit. A study at the University of Connecticut in 2015 found that multitasking is bad for students’ grades. Doing many things simultaneously is simply a waste of time. Why? Because your brain cannot attain to more than one stimuli at one time. Instead, one of the best ways to study is to focus on your notes and avoids gadgets.
6. Don’t rush, focus.
Many students think that being great means fast. This is a wrong perception of how greatness is achieved. In fact, rushing will most of the time, result in mistakes. Take cramming for example. Most students who cram in their assignments and other requirements mostly have poor output.
Experts suggest that accuracy is more important than speed. The good news is that we can all become accurate in what we do. How? Through practice. The more you practice, the more you become accurate and efficient. That’s why successful athletes spend over 90% of their time practicing their skill than the actual fight or game.
In other words, practice is more important than the actual game. Here’s why you need to practice and what happens to your brain if you practice.
Not too long ago, Assistant Professor Alaa Ahmed and her colleagues at the University of Colorado-Boulder conducted a study that investigates how practice affects the brain’s efficiency in a given task.
The students were instructed to do a task (to move a cursor on a screen by manipulating a robotic arm). The researchers then measured the amount of effort the brain produce while doing the task.
The finding suggests that when the task is performed repeatedly, the amount of energy that the brain uses decreased by about 20 percent.
“Whenever we learn to make a new movement, we form and then update an internal model – a “sensorimotor map” – which our nervous system uses to predict our muscles’ motions and the resistance they will encounter. As that internal model is refined over time, we’re able to cut down on unnecessary movements and eliminate wasted energy.” – Alaa Ahmed
In school, practice is very important. It could be practicing a quiz or approaching major examinations. Here are the top four benefits of practicing academic tasks.
- Practice on tests allows you to determine what area of the subject matter needs more time to study. Doing it can help you spend your time more efficiently.
- Practice tells you what areas you are already mastered and use the available time to focus on areas that need improvement.
- Practice helps you retain more information.
- Finally, practice eliminates test anxiety.
Undoubtedly, practice is one of the best ways to study your lesson.
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I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.