Students have a limited number of hours, in which they have to do homework, revise schoolwork, learn tests along with complying to other familial commitments; there is much to do but so little time to do everything. Being able to learn smartly, would not only help you learn faster in small amount of time but also will help you commit what you have learned to your long-term memory. The goal of education is to help you learn and understand what is being taught rather than only focusing on studying for final exams just to pass them. In addition to this, learning how to learn smartly frees up your time so that you can spare some time to work on hobbies or goals that you want to accomplish. In this article, you will find tips on how to study smartly. In short, you will be learning how to learn with these strategies given below. These tips, backed by science, will help you learn more effectively.
Here are 5 tips and techniques you can use to learn faster.
Learn information in different ways
When you open your notes to study a chapter on, for instance, organic chemistry, do not just stick to learning the class notes and keep on revising the information from there, move on to other ways of learning the same topic e.g. read the textbook or use online resources. Research has shown that using different media to study stimulates different areas of the brain; as more parts of the brain are activated – by using numerous ways to learn – the likelihood of understanding and retaining information increases.
For example, if you are studying organic chemistry, what you can do is make notes from online resources, watch video lectures online on the same topic, teach someone else what you have learned, do practice problems from online resources other than text book questions. It is important to note that it is not necessary that you do this in one sitting you can spread it out over the week.
Periodic review instead of cramming
The main goal of any learner is to store what is has been studied in the long-term memory. The process of moving things from short-term memory to long-term memory requires periodic revision rather than cramming all of the information in one day. Researches have shown that periodic review of items studied is a better way of committing information to the long-term memory.
For example, if you just learnt some basic grammar rules of Persian language, then your 1st review should be 1 day after studying the material, the 2nd review would be 3 days after the 1st review, the 3rd review would be 7 days after the 2nd review etc. How much you should review a topic depends on how long you want to remember what you learnt. If you want to keep the information for longer periods then it is important that you keep in reviewing it until you feel that you know the topic well enough.
Test yourself frequently
In research, there has been positive relationship made between self-testing and improved academic performance. Examining yourself on the topics, you have just studied helps you clarify key concepts and also identifies areas that you are not good at, which necessary if you truly want to succeed with exceptional grades. Self-testing allows you to engage more actively with the course material, which is better than passively learning the information from a textbook or class notes. When reading a topic ask yourself questions or do the exercises given at the end of the reading so that you learn smartly and efficiently.
Make notes yourself by hand
Most students have stopped making notes, rather they underline key points on their books and read those underlined points before exams. However, this is not the way to study smartly, but it is actually the opposite of it. When studying a topic it is important that you make notes in your own words, it does not matter if the notes are short and concise or long and detailed but writing the notes by your own hand matters. Research has shown that students who take notes perform far better on tests. You might ask, “Why is that the case?” The answer to this is that when students make notes they process information, shorten it down to their own words, and then write it; doing this forces the brain to process information and make sense of it.
For example, you can make notes of what teacher says in the class or you can use the textbook and make notes of what you have understood from the reading.
Many people, including students, believe that working on different tasks at the same time makes you more productive and helps you finish your chores/work more quickly. However, research has proved that multitasking makes you less productive and more distracted, which consequently lowers the quality of your work significantly. When people multitask, they are unable to focus on one thing properly, which results in poor performance and decision-making. This means that if you text and watch TV while studying you will not be effectively learning what you are studying, and in turn, you are just wasting your precious time. It should be noted that in order to be effective you should only work on one task at a time.
You can use some suggestions to improve concentration in a study session, make it more effective, and free from distractions.
Devote your time to one task rather than multiple tasks
Keep your phone away from you or put it on airplane mode
Turn the internet access off from your phone or computer
Turn off the notifications on your phone
Sit in a quiet place
Declutter your study area
Log out of social media platforms until you are done with your study session