by James Collins / Contributor
Study at whatever level can be exciting or challenging to different students according to individual abilities. No one method is perfect for effective study; each student finds what works well and adapts while improving along the way. Keep trying different methods of study until you find one that is effective and at the same time comfortable.
Effective learning should be fun and not tedious. With personal motivation in learning, study comes easily and naturally.
Diversify your study program
To stimulate your brain for an effective study plan, use a different approach each time you learn the same topic. Use your textbook and class notes interchangeably for each session of revision.
Teach someone or participate in group discussions for effective recall. Practice by self-testing and check out online resources. To keep your mind stimulated, avoid focus on a single subject study, and instead study a little of every subject each day.
Revise to understand, not to cram
The mind easily recalls that which you know through understanding. Information that you understand is kept in the long-term memory and stays with you for long without effort.
Going over your subject with the intent to cram only stores information learned in the short-term memory, which is transient.
Lay a study program to review your work periodically and consistently for retention. Tell yourself, ‘I need to do my essay faster’ and set a timeline for it but let it not overwhelm you. If you think you need additional help with the academic writing work, seek professional help from EduBirdie.
Take notes by hand and compress information
Taking notes by hand involves synthesizing information received before transcribing the same down on paper. By synthesizing what you hear to reproduce in your own words, the brain retains subconsciously, and of course, writing down preserves notes for later use.
You may also pick a preferred set of mnemonic devices to help recall complicated equations.
Simulate exams by self-testing
Formal tests and self-testing are excellent methods of retrieving essential material at the end of a lecture and greatly improves performance later in exams, as demonstrated in a study by Keith Lyle, a psychologist at the University of Louisville.
To gauge the effectiveness of your study, include simple but frequent quizzes to enhance your understanding as you prepare for the exams.
Read aloud and connect to the familiar
In your study, you will notice that there are key parts and concepts like equations that you must remember as they are. One proven way of ensuring retention is to read it out loud back to yourself so that you both see it and hear it.
It is as though someone spoke it to you and it becomes easy to remember. You may also want to connect concepts to what is familiar, for example, kidneys to beans in the similarity of shape.
Set milestones and rewards
Set milestones you want to achieve by every study session and the reward on completion.
As you sit down in the morning to study, isolate what topics you want to cover and promise yourself to go for a coffee break with friends on full completion and not before. This ensures that you always finish what you start and is part of self-discipline in study.
This is often taught to employees in training by HR and has always proven effective so you must give it a try.
Focus your study on learning
To lighten the burden of study and turn it into a fun process, focus on learning or gaining knowledge as your main goal. This will excite curiosity and open your mind to learning and better retention.
Focusing on exams as you study is akin to focusing on clouds as you walk, you will surely stumble on something and fall (fail!). Focusing on learning helps you master the subject and sticks with you forever.
Take breaks and sleep well
Take regular breaks in between your study sessions and go for a short walk or listen to music to refresh your brain. Continuously staring at your notes for extended periods, diminishes concentration and wastes your time.
Regular breaks are reboots of sorts and get your brain ready for the next session. Study in moderation at night and sleep well for a refreshing rest.
To study effectively, plan to study smart. Experiment with different methods and pick one or a combination that suits you. Time in learning or any other endeavor for that matter is essential, so use it wisely to avoid panic as you near exams. For better results, include personal discipline as a habit in your study program.
James Collins is a study coach and career mentor working with college students to help them overcome their performance issues. He’s also a very good academic writer and works part-time to spread the knowledge and teach the students the art of writing. In his free time, he plays piano, indulges in gaming and reads autobiographies.