Every student wants to do well at college, but many students attend college without really knowing how to study. Everyone studies and learns differently, but there are some ways to help students learn more effectively.
- Do not stuff:
Too many students stuff the night or even the hour before their exams. Unfortunately, this is not a best way to learn! Students should constantly review the material during the week before the test. This helps students remember what they are learning and keep stress levels low.
- 2. Make connections between materials:
Try to make connections during your studies. Do not just remember notes, keywords, or sections from the textbook. Put key words together to understand the big picture. Pick up the hard topics that you may not understand well, rather than avoid them, and hope you memorize the night before. Draw diagrams as needed to see how everything fits together.
- Stick to printed matter:
Although the technology is great and many textbooks are now available in an online format, it is important to use printed materials such as notes and printed copies of the textbook. Avoid taking notes on a tablet or laptop. Reading on an iPad or Kindle causes you to read up to 10 percent slower.
- Listen to music:
Certain types of music can help you learn more effectively. It increases the mood and can sharpen the focus. Maybe you should not turn on heavy metal, but classical music. Music attacks different parts of the brain that help you to be more attentive and make more connections.
- Sleep well:
Do not stay up late the night before the exam, regardless of whether you have studied or not. When you are rested, you can concentrate on the test. Pulling an All-nighter may impair your testing abilities and cause additional anxiety or stress.
- Teach the material:
Teaching other students, friends or roommates is a way to test yourself to see if you really know the material. If you can’t explain a topic to someone, you probably do not understand it very well yourself. Verbalizing thoughts also helps break down big ideas and concepts.
- be prepared:
Make sure you have all the materials you need before you start learning: pencils, paper, calculators, snacks, books, etc. If you miss something, you may be distracted when you search for it. Avoid possible interruptions of the study period and prepare yourself for everything before the start.
- Speak out loud:
If you re-read notes or materials during the study, you should read the sections aloud. At first glance, it may seem a bit strange, but it may be easier to remember facts and information that you have repeated aloud. In fact, a student is 50 percent more likely to remember something he or she said aloud than just to read.
- Take a break:
Do not study for hours. Take breaks between subjects or categories. This prevents you from being overwhelmed, increasing productivity and increasing focus. After about an hour and a half, the brain does not assimilate the information so efficiently, and you probably will not remember things later. Take a short break of five to ten minutes before getting back in. Do not be overly distracted; be prepared to learn again after a few minutes.
- Different material:
Do not always read the same page with notes. Vary the theme of the study. This helps the brain to make more connections. Upgrading the material also helps to avoid routine and promote critical thinking. For example, after solving 20 addition problems, you probably solve the 21st problem the same way. If you turn it on and add subtraction or division problems, you’ll need to use analysis skills to find the best strategy for solving the problem.
- Move around:
A designated place seems to enhance study, but studies have shown that studying the same material in different places helps to better store the information. The movement not only stops the learning time but stimulates the brain as it reconnects with the material. Maintaining a study place can help to improve the concentration of students who are easily distracted, but they should still take a break and change scenery.
- Place outside of study:
Instead of trying to learn everything at once, break it up. Investigate smaller sections over a longer period of time rather than crushing much material in a short amount of time. Constantly reviewing small sections, rather than remembering everything at the same time, helps students learn more effectively and keep information better.
- Practice the test:
Take any available practice test to familiarize yourself with style and format. Follow the study instructions, if provided. Another strategy for better study is to compile and answer test questions. Especially after the first test it is easier to predict what questions a teacher might ask. When you think about possible test questions, you can better master the material, and you can even ask some of the actual test questions.
- Write it down:
Studies show that writing what you learn helps you to remember it better. Copy notes, definitions, or dates that was important to the lesson. The physical action of writing the information helps the brain to remember more easily, and the exercise can improve your writing skills.
- Exercise before:
Before studying, consider whether you want to exercise. Exercises have shown that they support the brain by increasing blood flow, which makes you more alert throughout the learning session. The pre-study training improves the speed of the brain and the cognitive functions. In this New York Times article, you can find more benefits of brain exercises.
- Find out what works best for you:
One of the most important tips we can offer is finding out what works best for you. Everyone learns differently and stores information in different ways. Maybe practicing before studying is a great way to concentrate, but others are just too tired to learn. Find out which of these techniques suits you best and put them into practice.