The art of studying is not one to be taken lightly. Everybody has their own interpretation of what constitutes good and effective studying techniques but only some of these techniques work. Many people say that cramming the night before an exam is a good technique to employ but in all honesty, it really is not. You need to consistently study over an allotted time every day for several weeks for your studying to be effective. The core goal of any study program is to embed what you want to know in your long term memory as opposed to your short term memory bank. In this article we’ll cover some short facts which will help you achieve that goal and help you get the grades you deserve.
The first and most important step is to plan a definitive time for your studying each day. By this I mean a time whereby you will study each day, without fail. This helps to create a habit that your brain will stick to and thus will more likely focus and retain more information from your materials. Not setting a definite time will only cause you to procrastinate and let your work just pile up until you cannot take it anymore and we don’t want that, do we? You must plan smart, to work smart!
The second step is to get into the habit of reviewing the last thing you studied from your previous study session before moving on. Even if you were studying Maths and you had to do a quick ‘refresher’ on say, a Chemistry formula, such little ten minute refreshers of your previous session is key to unlocking the long term memory bank.
Studying is best done in small increments and not large, three hour long cramming sessions which are practically a waste of you and your brains time. One of the most effective study routes is to study in 30-40 minute blocks and spend the next 10-20 minutes walking around, having a stretch or eating some healthy food to replace those vitamins and refresh your mind. Taking a regular break enables you to effectively refresh and relax your mind so that when you come back to the task at hand, you can concentrate easier, study more and most importantly, retain more information on top of what you have already learnt. I personally go for a quick run on my treadmill or do some push-ups during my study breaks. This way I not only keep a healthy mind but a healthy body!
Next is a simple tip that I say is probably one of the most important. If you can avoid it, do not study at night. Most people are less efficient at night and you will want to study when your brain is at is most active and that is certainly not when everyone else in the house has gone to bed. However, if you must study at night then you need to ensure that you set a time where you will cease all studying. You do not want to tire yourself out studying and you do not want to be tired whilst you study!
My own little personal tip to round this off is to make a game of studying. Make it a personal goal to reach page 20 of the book before you finish or take note of how many times you can read a page before you can recite the facts you need. Making a game of it, makes it that much more fun!