How to study effectively?
If you’re a student, you’ve probably wondered – what is the most effective way to study? How to study effectively?
That’s a smart question, because most people unfortunately waste their time with stuff that just isn’t effective.
So, I asked the cognitive psychologists over at The Learning Scientists for some tips.
After all their research into the science of learning and absolute best-practice study skills, here are their top four strategies to bring out your inner genius.
The First strategy:
The first strategy is called spaced practice.
5 hours of study crammed into one intensive session is not as good as that same 5 hours spread out over two weeks.
You’ll learn more and get better results with the same amount of time or less.
It’ll be less stressful than the panic of cramming, and because you’ll learn more, you’ll also reduce the time you need to study in the future, because you won’t have to re-learn the same information.
Make a plan and schedule short study sessions into your calendar.
This is not about marathon, intensive periods of study.
Review information from each class, starting a day later. After you’ve covered the most recent class, go back and study important older information to keep it fresh and don’t just re-read your notes – that’s ineffective.
The second Strategy:
Leave 2-3 days between study sessions on the same subject, the key is consistent short study sessions over time. Switch between ideas during a single study session for a particular class, this is called inter leaving. Don’t study one idea, topic or type of problem for too long.
Switching will highlight and contrast the similarities or differences between topics or types of questions.
If you’re doing problem solving, switching can help you choose the correct approach to solve a problem.
This strategy will encourage you to make links between ideas as you switch between them.
You want your mind to be nimble and easily able to jump between ideas and know how they relate to each other.
Make sure you study enough information to understand an idea before you switch.
You will need to figure out what works best for you.
Don’t spend an entire session on one topic, but don’t switch too often either.
Try to make links between ideas as you move between them and for your next study session, change the order you work through topics, because that will strengthen your understanding even more.
Switching will probably feel harder than studying one topic for a long time, but remember, we want to use what’s most effective, not what’s easiest.
The Third Strategy:
When you have your textbook and notes in front of you, ask yourself questions about how and why things work, and then find the answers in your class material.
Explain and describe ideas with as many details as you can and connect the ideas to your daily life and experiences.
This forces you to understand and explain what you’re learning, and connect it with what you already know.
That helps you organize the new ideas and makes them easier to recall later.
Creating ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions makes you think about how ideas are similar or different, and that improves your understanding.
Start with your notes and textbook and make a list of the ideas you need to learn.
The Fourth Strategy:
Make connections between different ideas and explain to yourself how they work together.
The specific questions you ask and how you break down ideas depends on what you are studying, it might be math, science, history or something else completely.
Human memory hooks onto concrete information better than abstract information, so, always look for real life examples you can relate to.
For example, ‘scarcity’ is an abstract idea. You can explain it as ‘the rarer something is, the higher its value will be’. But we’ve used abstract terms to explain an abstract idea. Not so helpful. So, we use a specific example to illustrate the idea.
Think about a ticket scalper. If you purchase a ticket to a sports event at the start of the season, the ticket price is reasonable but as the game day gets closer and the two teams are now at the top of the ladder, more people buy tickets.
This scarcity drives up the cost of the tickets and the ticket scalper charges more for the tickets. That is a concrete example of an abstract idea.
You can collect examples from your teacher or professor, search your textbook or notes, and look out for examples in your daily life.
Thinking of your own relevant examples is most helpful for your learning, but be careful to confirm with your teacher that your examples are accurate and relevant to the idea you are learning.
Now you know the four study strategies and you might have got an answer on how to study effectively.
Academic research says are the most effective.
Thanks for reading this blog.
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