Many of us these days are determined to studying not longer but smarter. But really, which tricks have scientifically been proven to work and can deliver you the best possible result for you? After reading the article, you will master these hacks and get this perfect exam grade!
First things first, research shows that it is way more productive to study in small, short chunks. Instead of cramming all of the material in a long, 10-15 hour session, try spreading the material over the big amount of days. It is more effective to have twenty 30-minutes sessions over the period of few weeks. That is because to the brain’s ability to better encode information into synapses in short, repeated sessions, as opposed to one large one. This also applies to various different skills, like swimming, tennis or soccer.
While cramming material for the test and pulling “all-nighters” may be your ritual, studies have shown that they have the direct correlation to the lowest grades. Prolonged study sessions without sleep can negatively affect your memorization and reasoning skills for almost five days! The simple solution for that is simply setting the times of the day when you will do the majority of your studying. It helps your brain to prime, by simply following a habit of studying by the routine, which will eventually make it easier to study because the brain will get used to learning at that specific time.
While many of us spend time studying by simply re-reading the notes or highlighting a textbook, it has been already proven that this technique may be ineffective. The key concepts remain unlinked and therefore, the topic is not understood. In return, by highlighting too much text, you may even worsen your understanding of the topic. It can detrimental, by drawing your attention to the less important details. On the other hand, flashcards have been proven to be excellent memory reinforcement tools whenever you are using them: your timed study session or a simple ride/walk home.
The other thing that would help in pursuing your material is to have a specific goal for each study session that you want to reach. Instead of aimlessly going over all of the material you have in your textbook or on the desk, doing the “studying”, simply pick one aspect that you want to get perfect at. Examples are: balancing chemical equations, solving kinematics problems, learning about meiosis and so on. And remember, if you can’t explain something to another person, it means that you haven’t studied the material well enough.
In studies where individuals were asked to memorize the passage, and then half of them received a task of teaching the material afterward, and the other half were told that they will receive the test after, participants that were expected to teach the material were much better at understanding the main points. When you are expected to teach, your brain organizes information in a more coherent way. Consider putting your little brother or sister and teaching them the material that you have just learned.
And of course, how can we live without PRACTICE PRACTICE and PRACTICE! In addition to putting your brain in the environment, practice tests also help identify the gaps in your knowledge which are based upon your mistakes. They also help you increase your confidence in the subject and overall performance.
Another thing that you want to pay attention to is the place where you are studying. Research shows that having a personal, designated spot for studying with every tool and supplies that you need is the best! However, you also need to change your studying spot from time to time, as the specific study spot may bond your knowledge to a specific attribute in the room, not allowing you to use the knowledge independently.
Do you listen to that perfect playlist of yours while prepping for the exam? NOT SO FAST! While some studies have shown that certain types of classical music may cause your brain to be more productive, by improving concentration, they have also shown that learning with rhythmic, full of lyrics songs may be devastating to the brain’s ability to focus and acquire information.
The last thing to do, if you haven’t already is to put away your phone!!! All of the texts and social media notifications that you receive drastically decrease your concentration. Also, if you are using the internet, try programs like LeechBlock to block you from using certain distracting websites.
In the end, let’s sum up all of the tips that you have acquired with this article!
- Spread the material over the big amount of days;
- Set the times of the day when you will do the majority of your studying;
- Do not over-highlight;
- Use flashcards to reinforce memorization;
- Have a specific goal for each study session;
- Teach the material that you have just learned to others;
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE;
- Have a designated spot for studying;
- Do not learn with songs that are rhythmic and full of lyrics, try classical music instead;
- PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE!
Feel free to use them all the time and best luck to you! We hope you’ll definitely receive an A for the next exam!