My teachers and fellow students gave me a lot of study-related advice as I progressed through college. I thought some of the study tips I heard were just ridiculous. like those kids who remained up all night doing papers or reading chapters after chapters of a textbook. I can’t get enough sleep! After some time, I discovered my own method of studying, but I was still interested to see if there were other, more effective strategies. I did the research and compiled a list of study tips that are supported by science and are helpful to all students.
Acquire knowledge through “chunking”
You may already be familiar with the concept of chunking if you’ve attended a psychology course. The notion holds that learning related concepts in manageable chunks, as opposed to trying to cram everything about a subject into your head at once, tends to help you remember things more effectively. The ability to work memory and the process by which short-term memories are converted to long-term ones in our brains are the key factors in all of this. People can recall a list of 5 to 9 numbers or names with ease, psychology research has repeatedly demonstrated. It follows that, on average, a list of seven things can be repeated back within a few seconds.
Although students who cram might be absorbing a lot of knowledge at once, most of what they learn is likely to be forgotten because their working memories are unable to store all of those facts. Combining related topics can help prevent knowledge loss caused by cramming.
Avoid being affected by the Forgetting Curve
While learning curves are well-known, are you familiar with the forgetting curve? According to research, people are significantly more likely to remember details from a one-hour lecture when they examine what they learned later. Moreover, it should come as no surprise that longer periods of memory are associated with repeated exposure to information. This hack depends on how the working memory works, just like chunking does. The amount of sensory data that people process daily is remarkable.
Work out consistently before studying.
The long-term and immediate impacts of exercise on cognition are both present. Your sympathetic nervous system is activated when you workout because your body interprets the physical strain as an enemy attack or flight. Your brain reacts by receiving an influx of extra blood that is enriched in nutrients and oxygen so that it can make decisions that it believes could save its life.
Even the formation of new brain cells, or neurogenesis, a process that was once seen as impossible, has been shown to be a result of exercise. Furthermore, physical activity stimulates the hippocampus, a part of the brain. The hippocampus plays a crucial role in memory and reasoning, according to research. Regular exercise can prevent the hippocampus from shrinking with age in addition to providing temporary cognitive improvements.
Do your homework before bed.
In a joint study between Notre Dame and Harvard researchers, it was discovered that learning new word pairs before a restful night’s sleep, as opposed to learning them the next morning before 12 hours of being awake, helped subjects retain unrelated word pairings more easily.
Long-standing theories suggest that sleep strengthens the memories we create throughout the day. Surprisingly, it appears that staying awake has the exact opposite effect—it interferes with our memories and makes us forget some of what we’ve learned. This is only further proof that it’s best to avoid working late. Consistently try to get 7-8 hours of sleep, and you might want to plan a study session before you go to bed.
Interrupt extended study sessions to improve concentration
The need to devote yourself to lengthy study sessions can come to you. Having an occasional study marathon is fine, but you should be sure to take frequent, brief pauses. According to research, when people attempt to concentrate on one subject for an extended amount of time, their thoughts begin to wander.
When you repeatedly hear a sound, the same scenario occurs: you get used to it and it fades into the background. When trying to focus on a task, the concept is the same. In essence, you start doing things mechanically rather than intentionally. It seems that taking quick pauses can help you regain focus and study more efficiently.
If you are interested in obtaining the most from your study sessions or you are aware that you have trouble concentrating while studying, try this: Set a timer for the amount of time you think you can study without getting distracted (you could even use the timer to measure the amount of time between when you start studying and you notice yourself getting distracted), then, once that time is up, take a brief break to divert your attention with something else, like getting a coffee or starting a load of laundry, before sitting down to study again. Your ability to reset and return to learning should result from this.