One of the most beneficial ways to begin the studying process is to set yourself up for success from the start. Consider the following tips.
1. Stick to Print:
Tablets and other eLearning media are convenient and portable, but research suggests that traditional print materials still have the upper hand when it comes to studying. Some researchers argue that adopting interactive habits like scrolling, clicking, and pointing enhances the academic experience, but more than 90% of students polled said they prefer a hard copy or print over a digital device when it comes to studying and school work. Furthermore, a psychology lecturer finds that students required more repetition to learn new material if they were reading on a computer screen versus reading printed material.
2. Listen to music:
While some experts argue the ability to concentrate during silence or listening to music while studying is left up to personal preference, many agree that playing certain types of music can help students engage parts of their brain that help them pay attention and make predictions. Not to mention, listening to music may improve your mood and change your whole outlook about studying in general.
Stress hinders learning. Researchers find that stress lasting as briefly as a couple of hours can engage corticotropin-releasing hormones that disrupt the process of creating and storing memories. Taking study breaks to exercise or drawing a few deep breaths will help your studying if they lower your stress level.
4. Change Your Scenery:
A change of scenery impacts learning and concentration abilities. Psychologist Robert Bjork suggests that simply moving to a different room to study could increase both your concentration and retention levels.
5. Use Active Recall:
This controversial method of studying was a hot topic in 2009, when a psychology professor published an article advising students against reading and rereading textbooks — which, he argued, merely lead students to thinking they know the material better than they do since it is right in front of them. Conversely, he suggested students use active recall: closing the book and reciting everything they can remember up to that point to practice long-term memorization.
6. Don’t Overlearn:
Once you’ve been able to cycle through your flashcards without making a single mistake, you may feel a sense of satisfaction and call it a day, or you may feel a charge of adrenaline and be tempted to continue studying. When you come to this fork in the road, keep in mind that a sharp onset of diminishing returns during “overlearning.” With a limited amount of time to study each topic, you’re better served moving on to something else.
7. Stop Multitasking:
Multitasking is a myth. You may think you’re killing two birds with one stone by texting while studying, for example, but you’re actually forming poor study habits. According to researchers, so called “multitasking” extends your study time and ultimately may damage your grades.