The 5 best study tips you’ll ever need
Learning something new is, more often than not, somewhat frustrating. And even though there is nothing better than building long-term study habits, sometimes we just don’t have that luxury. However, it is still possible to study effectively without compromising every other aspect of your life. You can begin to study smarter, and not harder, with these five proven tips:
Where you do it matters.
Choosing a poor location can harm your concentration. At home, maybe your roommate distracts you. Or maybe there isn’t enough natural light in that place you go to. Try to investigate several options before settling for one that doesn’t suit all your needs or habits. School or public libraries and quiet coffee shops are usually a smart choice.
Also, research shows that moving around can help retain more information. So instead of studying in the same place every day, go somewhere different as it forces your brain to form new associations with the material you’ve been reading, making it a stronger memory.
Whether you’re looking at a doctoral thesis or a simple essay, outlining is vital to studying smarter. Organizing what you need to learn into diagrams or summaries makes it easier to retain information as it helps processing it to its basic core. Just make sure you write your own material as everyone has his or her own way of putting information together.
Mnemonic devices, or memory games, consist in creatively linking pieces of information to common words. For example, to recall the value of pi one can rely on the sentence “May I Have A Large Container Of Coffee” (the number of letters in each word equals the numerals in pi= 3.1415927). The key to a good mnemonic is coming up with the most memorable sentence possible.
This works because we use our brain more when it comes to visual active images than for a list of items, and the more actively you use our brain the more you’ll memorize.
Have a healthy lifestyle.
Although this might seem like a no-brainer, as a student it might be hard to remain focused on your academic life with all there is out there to discover. The key is finding time for all the things you love and need to do.
Exercise and eating right also play a great part in productivity. Some herbs such as ginkgo, ginseng, or gotu kola, might help increasing your alertness and concentration and overall your mental abilities. Fatty acids, such as Omega-3, are also proven to reduce test anxiety. When it comes to working out, research shows that just half an hour of aerobic exercise can improve your brain processing-speed so maybe you shouldn’t be skipping gym during finals week.
A computer is, to most of us, a must-have in a study session. Nevertheless, scrolling through social media is always a huge temptation and usually more appealing than what you should actually be looking at. Thankfully, there are tools to help you stop procrastinating when you should be getting things done such as SelfControl, Anti-Social or RescueTime.
And while you’re at it, because perception and motor action are connected and reciprocally dependent, some studies suggest that we recall information better if we write it by hand that by typing.
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Author: Regina Nogueira