Have you ever studied for a test by cramming all night, attempting to remember it all in one shot? If so, you know how ineffective that method is. Studying is an art. It is something to be learned. Moreover, your high school study habits will not be very beneficial in college. The classes are longer, capstone projects and tests more intense; as such, creating strong study habits rests on you.
In this article, we will examine some of the most time-efficient ways to study and retain information.
Finding a proper place to sit down free of distractions is imperative to your study habits. Make sure it is a clean space, with only the things you need. There should be enough light so you can read clearly and strain your eyes. Ditch the phone and keep the noise minimal.
Also be sure to keep on hand some snacks – things such as nuts, trail mix – and water, to keep you fueled and hydrated. Studying for long hours can become taxing, so make sure you find a comfortable space.
To some, this might seem counterintuitive. You would want to use all the time available to study, right? Indeed, but you also need to make time for breaks. Studies suggest that spacing out your study time helps you retain information, instead of cramming it into hours on end. Breaks can be rejuvenating and good for mental health. Take a step back and go outside for a walk around the block, bask in the sunshine on a porch, and stretch your body. Sometimes the breaks are as important as studying.
Simply rereading your notes is not an adequate way to study. This does not challenge your brain to retain the information. By using flashcards, you are forcing your brain to learn and recall answers. The act of writing out flashcards can help as well. Writing things down has been shown to aid in memory retention when studying.
Any type of noise will eventually become distracting. But music with lyrics can be especially problematic. Studies have shown that some types of classical music can aid in studying, but some people work better in silence. It’s a personal decision, but quiet spaces make it the best place to study in. If you do decide to listen to music, make sure it’s something instrumental.
Instead of attempting to study an entire block of information, try breaking it down to make it more digestible. For example, for the first hour, you can focus on a theory, the way it works, or who started it. Then, branch out from there. Breaking things down makes it easier to remember what you are studying. When you achieve the goals you set, do not forget to reward yourself with a break or do something you enjoy.
Much like anything else, consistency is key. It can be hard to get into a good study schedule, that’s why writing it down can be helpful. There are two specifically beneficial times to study: the first is right after you learn it. Studies show that you’re more likely to retain the material if you study it within 24 hours of learning it. The second-best time to study is right before you go to sleep. While you sleep, your brain is working hard to retain the latest information.
Figuring out how to study is important for your collegiate life and goals. If you’d like to learn more about how to study efficiently, Test Prep Score has all your tips, tricks, and advice. Make sure you subscribe to our blog for routine updates.