How to Study Effectively
Updated on 24 Nov 2023 • 6 min read • posted by Maria H
Have you been struggling to study effectively? Sometimes it seems as if we have more pages to read than time on the clock.
However, if you decide to study smart instead of studying hard, you are more likely to get the outcome that you desire. In this article, you will be given the best ways to study.
Choose a Study Spot
Assign a particular place in your home where you get your studying done. Also, take into consideration whether you will be studying in a group or by yourself. Having this in place helps you to approach your studying in a more systematic and efficient manner.
Use Background Sounds
A study published in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science found that listening to natural sounds during learning can enhance cognitive performance and improve mood. The study showed that participants who studied with music and listened to natural sounds had significantly better mood and task performance than those who worked in silence. So incorporating background sounds, such as sounds of the forest or ocean, can improve concentration and promote a positive learning experience.
Set Clear Goals
When you formulate a target, a specific destination is established to work towards. This creates a guiding light that encourages and steers your educational efforts. Implementing the S.M.A.R.T. goals technique aids in the creation of objectives that increase the likelihood of successfully achieving them.
Organizing assignments in order of importance is an indispensable phase in every study session. By using task prioritization techniques, you can reduce anxiety levels by focusing on one task at a time and experiencing a sense of authority over their workload. Without prioritizing assignments, valuable time may be squandered on trivial assignments, adversely affecting productivity.
There are many things that can distract us from studying: social media, messaging apps, noises, hunger or thirst, and even procrastination.
To cope with technology distractions, you can use website blockers or apps that limit your access to certain apps or websites during study sessions. For noise reduction - try using noise-canceling headphones, playing white noise or classical music, or find a quiet study space.
To overcome procrastination, try breaking up your study sessions into smaller, manageable tasks, using a timer to stay focused, or using a study buddy to keep yourself accountable. Make sure you have healthy snacks and drinks on hand during your study sessions, and take regular breaks to eat and hydrate.
Find out what study method you should try!
Engage in Studying
Learning something can be captivating or boring, it depends on the topic and your personal interests. However, you often just have to learn something, and being into the topic can help you to study effectively.
The best method to start with is active recall. Make it your habit, 3 easy and at the same time crucial steps: pre-class preparation, attention during the class, and the very process of learning using active recall. Active recall holds that in order to get the best out of studying, you need to actively improve your memory. It moves you from a passive approach to studying such as simply reading silently to an approach where you simply interacts with the material.
When it comes to reading we often just screen the text without and not being actively engaged in the material. What we advise you to do is to use the SQ3R method. It will help you develop active reading skills. The idea is to survey the text first, engage the brain, and enhance comprehension. Next, jot down and recite answers to engrain concepts and ideas in long-term memory for future recall.
Take Notes Smartly
Taking notes is helpful in keeping your mind alert. Good notes in class or during a study session provide you with an abbreviated yet potent set of information for effective studying. However, we often take a passive approach, simply copying down the contents of books. It is much more effective to use special note-taking techniques (outlining method, mind mapping, Q/E/C, Cornell notes, etc.). These strategies not only help organize information more efficiently but also contribute to a deeper understanding of the material.
Adopt Bite-Sized Learning
The bite-sized learning method means just what the name suggests – studying information in small bits or spending very short periods studying at a time.
With the constant reduction of attention span among humans in the 21st century, it is becoming more and more important that you spend 1-15 minutes at a time on any given learning objective. The focus that you will have in this short period of time makes learning more effective.
Teach Someone Else
It is always said that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it to someone else. One of the most effective ways to retain information is to practice the Feynman technique. The idea is to develop a habit of mentoring students in your class who are having a hard time grasping the concepts being taught.
Another creative way to deepen your understanding of a subject by teaching others is by starting a blog series on the topic that you are studying. You will be able to edify others while being better prepared to succeed in your next exam.
Spaced repetition system refers to the practice of allowing space between each study session. By integrating time intervals in your study schedule, you will be able to retain more even if you spend less time studying.
This works by tapping into the potential of what is called the spacing effect. This speaks to the fact that our brain is better able to learn new concepts by using intervals between exposure to the information.
How to study more effectively with this method? Let’s say you have an exam scheduled for next week. You should have a study session today. Your next study session would be two days from today. You should then have a final study session the day before the test.
The struggle we all have with procrastination is real and should not be overlooked. One of the best strategies for minimizing distractions is the Pomodoro technique. This approach with its best study intervals helps to keep you from becoming overwhelmed by studying and from burnouts. It includes stipulated work intervals and breaks.
An example of studying effectively with the Pomodoro study technique is as follows:
- Study for 25 minutes.
- When distractions come, write them down on a piece of paper.
- At the end of the 25-minute period, place a check mark on your paper.
- Break from studying for 5 minutes.
- After doing this 4 times, take a 30-minute break.
- Repeat the entire process.
Breaks are critical to learning effectively. These breaks help to maintain performance while studying, reduce the stress associated with studying, increase focus, and help with memory retention.
Meditation improves focus and concentration, which are crucial components of effective learning. By training the mind to focus on the present moment, you can better avoid distractions and maintain a high level of concentration during study sessions.
Stay Physically Active
Exercise not only combats fatigue but also elevates energy levels. If you find yourself lacking the drive to study, try incorporating a workout routine into your daily schedule. It doesn't have to be a full hour at the gym; a quick 20-minute session at home or a brisk stroll around your neighborhood will suffice.
Develop Yourself Сomprehensively
Do not hesitate to take on new challenges. Check out different online courses and develop your hard and soft skills. It's also never too late to learn a new language. It will not only improve your CV but also will open up new opportunities for communication and travel.
What is the best method of studying?
There are popular study methods:
- Active recall
- SQ3R technique
- Cornell note-taking method
- Feynman technique
- Spaced repetition
Experiment with different methods and then stick with what you find most effective. A critical part of being productive is being organized and consistent. Develop a study schedule and adhere to it, and always ensure you're spending some time each day on self-care and relaxation to avoid burnout.
How can I memorize fast and study?
To memorize and study effectively, you should strive to maintain a consistent study schedule and stay organized. Understand the topic conceptually first, then try to remember the information. Test yourself regularly to reinforce what you've learned. Visual aids can be very helpful for memory, so consider drawing diagrams or charts. Teach what you've learned to others, as it's an excellent way to test your understanding and retention. Finally, don't forget the importance of sleep and good nutrition – your brain needs rest and fuel to perform at its best.
How to study effectively for exams in a short time?
Ideally, the most effective learning happens when you consistently engage with the material throughout your course of study. However, if you find yourself needing to prepare for an exam in a short period of time, here are some tips:
- Identify the key topics likely to appear on the exam, using your syllabus or teacher's guidance.
- Focus on understanding these core areas first before moving to the smaller details.
- Utilize visual aids like Cornell notes or mind maps to help remember and understand complex concepts.
- Trying to explain these topics to others (using the Feynman method) can also be a highly effective way of reinforcing your own understanding.
- Be relaxed and meditate as if you are nervous, your brain won’t absorb the information efficiently.
- Despite the time crunch, don't compromise on your sleep and nutrition. These are crucial for optimal brain function and performance.
Learning to study more effectively is a critical part of your success. While all of these methods have been proven to be effective, everybody learns differently; therefore, it is best for you to try each of these methods to see which is most effective for you. Fight the temptation to be lazy in this process. By finding the approach that works best for you, you can achieve your academic goals while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.