How to Train Your Brain for Better Study Results
Here are some study tips to help you find a study process that best suits you.
Some people are just born with the gift of memorization. They can look over textbooks and written notes and commit key ideas to memory with little to no effort. For the rest of us, it’s a little harder. Between multiple classes and having to constantly distill large amounts of information from lectures into cohesive ideas and thoughts, studying can be sort of hit or miss. Just ask anyone who’s ever read over the same 20 textbook pages over and over again only to realize that they still have no idea what that text was talking about.
For us, studying is more about the process. Or, more aptly, finding a process that helps us comprehend our study notes and remember them so that we can recall them and apply them to future lessons and exams. So, it’s good to know that studying, comprehension and memorisation is a fairly researched field and there’s a lot of interesting study tips out there that can really transform your study sessions. Here are a few study tips that can turn those all-nighters into something a little more productive and less time-intensive.
Adopt the Right Mindset
The way you approach studying has a direct impact on how well you remember the information you studied. A study published in the journal of Memory & Cognition in 2014 found that when participants were prepped before reading a passage of text that they needed to understand and partially memorise, they recalled information much better when they were under the impression that they would have to teach the information to other participants later on. This proved that the mindset in which you approach studying (and learning in general) can either make, or break your ability to absorb and recall important information.
Make Associations Between Similar Ideas
The same way that many people use associations to remember simple things like names is also a common technique for remembering more complex ideas. One way to create strong associations with new ideas is to pair them with existing ideas that you already know. For instance, when learning a new research statistic about a topic that you’re already somewhat well versed in, find ways to associate that new information to make what you already knew stronger. Associating new information learned with old information that you’ve already stored in your memory is a much better way to retain it.
Repetition is Key
The last piece of the puzzle, after making associations to other bits of information, is to drill it into memory through repetition. This could be through reading the information over the course of a week, or reading the text out loud (to help commit it to memory). More importantly, you need to organise the key points and ideas from your studies in a way that helps you quickly and easily review important pieces of data. Specific note taking strategies can help you organise your class notes in a way that helps you nail down important information. Once your key notes are down on paper, review them on a consistent basis to help ensure that all of your relevant notes are completely committed to memory.
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