Would you like to learn faster and remember more? This is usually the number one struggle for most students. When studying is poor or ineffective, the consequences are usually low self-esteem and low grades. Today, we’re here to help you improve and crack the code on how to study smarter. Here are some evidence-backed learning strategies for school students that will not only increase how fast you study but also how well you do so. Be sure to put them to work today.
Visualization entails the representation of content- usually in textual content- into visual cues or representations. Various studies indicate that visualization can offer huge benefits in terms of avoiding cognitive overload which happens when you learn too much information at once. Moreover, research shows you can improve learning ability or comprehension by up to 400x through visualization.
So how do you visualize when studying? This entails drawing:
- Mind maps
Besides representing data in visual form, you can also visualize text by way of flow charts to make them easier and faster to recall.
2.Study with music
Nothing so loud that the windows shake. Instead, a soothing tune can help you relax and focus. But don’t just take our word for it. Consider the research by Florida National University, which finds that the right music can elevate cognitive abilities by activating the brain’s two spheres.
Additionally, music can act as a multisensory “exercise” for your brain, thus sharpening your ability to concentrate. As a general rule of thumb, research finds that instrumental music is usually the most effective for studying. String instruments in particular can have amazing results, but generally, you want to avoid verbose or fast-paced songs which can become too distracting and get in your way instead.
3.Say it out loud
Are you a silent reader? Silent reading is no doubt fast, but if you want to learn more effectively, you want to embrace effective study habits for students such as saying things out loud.
Studies by the University of Waterloo vouch for the effectiveness of reading information aloud, stating that this simple habit can:
- Trigger active learner involvement
- Result in long-term memory benefits
- Improve focus and concentration during studying
4.Test yourself regularly
You don’t need to wait around till test time at your school to write an exam. Learn to regularly test yourself throughout the school year, in addition to examination times.
That’s because several students have substantiated the benefits of regular testing, as one of the most reliable ways to improve memory retention and your ability to grasp or comprehend new concepts.
5.Space your sessions
Don’t wait till the last moment before an exam to read and re-read concepts over and over. Instead, science recommends that you should wait at least 6 hours before going over the same concept.
Some more tips from the American Psychological Association in this regard, include:
- Split up subjects throughout the week
- Study the same concept once only per day
- Study for a fourth of your weekly study duration in one day
- So if you want to study a subject for 12 hours, study it 4 times a week
Spacing out sessions can improve long-term memory as opposed to cramming things in quick, relentless succession.
Do you take notes while studying? According to several studies by US universities, our critical thinking skills and long-term memory go up a notch when we write information down more than when we don’t. That’s because the more you jot things down, the higher the level of neural activity in your brain.
Therefore, writing things down by pen is one of the simplest yet important study techniques for students that you would do well to inculcate into your habits.
Interleaving is the process of learning several concepts or subjects sequentially as opposed to focusing on just one skill set, subject, or topic (a study process called “blocked practice”). According to an Educational Psychology report, interleaving is one of the most proven scientific learning techniques and has been substantiated to hold the following benefits
- Improve your brain’s differentiation ability
- Enhance knowledge transference
- Improved categorization skills
- Heightened problem-solving capacity
8.Study before bed
Sleep is a powerful thing for the human mind and body. When you study concepts right before you sleep, you can tap into the power of what the experts refer to as ”sleep-dependent memory consolidation.”
While research placed the most effective study times to be between late morning through early afternoon periods, consistently reading before bed has been proven to bode well for long-term memory and can also help lower your chances of experiencing cognitive illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. That’s not to say you should push all your study sessions to before bedtime. But rather, work on your weak points before going to bed for the day to give the knowledge enough time to simmer as you slumber.
9.Learn outside, occasionally
Studying in the outdoors is obviously not ideal as a full-time arrangement. However, do so occasionally and the results can be tremendous. In fact, going by research from the University of Arizona, studying outside offers many benefits in comparison to indoor learning, namely:
- Sunlight exposure can elevate calm & attention due to amplified serotonin production
- Improved creativity. Nature can enhance creativity by 60%
- Reduced stress
Moreover, researchers found that 20 minutes spent outdoors can naturally boost your body’s energy by the equivalent of a cup of coffee, helping you to be more attentive when you study.
Sometimes, the best way to learn is to teach. Research by the University of Washington finds just as much, in what scientists today call the protégé effect. It basically finds that you’re bound to put more effort into mastering a concept if you know you’re going to be demonstrating your knowledge to someone else.
Therefore, strive to teach those at a lower knowledge level than you, and also to learn from others who might explain concepts differently, in a way that might be easier to comprehend than the initial information delivery.
Study hard and smart!
Most want to master study techniques for students so they can spend less time studying. However, there really is no substitute for hard work. You just have to put in the work to get good grades. But knowing how to study smarter will always make things a lot easier for you. Planning ahead is also key so that you’re not pressed for time and have to rush through your studies. Additionally, group studying is also an excellent way to comprehend difficult concepts faster