Updated: Feb 24
Students are told to study, but they genuinely don't know how when it's time. More often than not, students think of studying as rereading their notes, highlighting and underlining the text, or seeing a math example, yet, these are some of the most ineffective ways to study! Rereading notes or taking information in is called passive studying. The best methods to study are when you’re actively engaging with the information and challenging yourself! Utilizing the most productive strategies can feel the least effective because they challenge the brain and can be somewhat frustrating. However, this type of productive struggle leads to better learning. Here are five research-based habits to enhance studying
You are actively recalling and withdrawing information from your mind. Essentially, you’re persuading the brain to remember information, such as “fishing” information from your mental “lake”. Some ways to easily implement retrieval are utilizing flashcards, filling in the blanks, and asking yourself questions before looking at an answer.
Review previously learned information. For example, when studying for a math test, weave or mix in problems from previous chapters that require different types of calculations. Actively engage with the content by mixing up the studying. How do you do this? Schedule in 5-minutes to practice previous learning. Although this strategy may feel frustrating and cause you to make mistakes, the benefits of the struggle outweigh the discomfort!
Plan to distribute the studying! The brain runs out of gas and can only absorb so much in a sitting—Schedule brief study sessions throughout the day with breaks. Give your brain the time and space it needs to recharge.
I can’t stress this one tip enough! The brain consolidates all learning during sleep. During sleep, the brain replays the day and decides what to store and want to discard. Sleep allows the brain to encode and store new learning. Know and get the sleep you need- most young adults need 8-10 hours each day.
Think about your learning
When out and about, think about new learning. Try to picture what you heard or read in detail. Like Beth Harmon, the main character in the Queen’s Gambit, rehearse this information to fire and wire your neural pathways.