If there is one thing numerous students struggle with, it’s their capacity to study. This is particularly true of important exams. Now, one of the reasons for this is that most individuals aren’t aware of how to study properly. Instead, they rely on outdated tactics to help them retain information.
Well, the good news is that there are more efficient ways to study and remember what you have learned. If you are interested in discovering science-backed techniques for recalling facts and figures better, here is what you need to know:
Learn Information Over a Longer Period of Time
If you have ever tried cramming for an exam, you will have already realised that it doesn’t work. This is because you are trying to force an excess of information into your memory over a short period of time. Thus, it is unlikely that you will retain much of what you have learned.
According to research, it is much better to memorise things over a longer period of time. First, though, break up your study material into smaller chunks of information. This way, you will find it easier to grasp various concepts, particularly if they are quite complex.
Once you have done this, review the information periodically over a longer period of time. Do this consistently and you will discover that you are able to recall everything you have learned. So, as you probably know already, you really shouldn’t leave your studying for the last minute.
Read Out Loud to Yourself
Most students tend to read through their textbooks and notes silently. This is probably something that you do as well since this is what you have been taught. Well, there is new evidence to suggest that you should be reading your notes and texts aloud.
Understand, when you are reading silently, it is mostly a passive act. As such, you may find it more difficult to cement the information in your mind. However, when you speak the words out loud, it becomes an active task. This engages your brain further, helping to consolidate the memory.
So, once you have gone through your notes, tackle them again. Only this time, make sure to say the words out loud. You just may find that this tactic has a greater impact on your studying routine.
Take Practice Tests Often
Simply studying alone isn’t going to get you very far when it comes to completing exams. This is because most exams aren’t straightforward and don’t test what you know directly. Instead, they utilise different formats to determine how much you know about a particular subject.
So, if you were to simply memorise various facts, it may not help you achieve a high score. Instead, completing practice exams may prove to be more beneficial to you. This is especially true with major tests that follow a particular structure.
This has been proven by a certain study. It found that individuals who took the same kind of tests over and over again often performed better. For one thing, the test takers were able to retain information a lot better. In addition, the participants were also able to transfer what they knew more effectively as well.
Mix It Up
Most individuals prefer to focus on a particular section until they have learned it. Then, they will test themselves and move onto the next part. While you may have some success with this methodology, you will do better if you switch it up.
So, what does this mean? Well, scientists ran an experiment and discovered that interweaving topics were often a lot more successful than block studying. This strategy works because it cuts down on the risk of you forgetting the material.
If you simply memorise some facts and then move on, your brain is likely to forget them as you take in new information. However, if you keep switching up your learning material, you can make sure that you continue focusing on certain topics for longer. As such, they will remain at the forefront of your mind.
So, try to alternate your sections during a particular study session. When you are testing yourself, make sure to follow this technique as well.
Take a Break
Are you someone who tries to study for a long period of time, without any breaks? You may feel that you are managing something impressive but such a tactic may not be as useful as you would imagine. Think for a moment – just how much can you remember after this major studying session? You may not be able to recall as much as you should.
This is because researchers have discovered that your brain doesn’t work well when studying for longer sets. Instead, it is much better to take short breaks every now and then. This gives your brain time to rest and refocus. So, when you start studying again, your brain is ready to absorb this new knowledge more readily.
Get Some Exercise
If you really want to do well on your tests, it is time to start working out each day. This may sound like a rather odd strategy but it has been shown to work. Numerous studies have shown that individuals who work out regularly have prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex volumes that are larger than people who don’t exercise.
These parts of the brain are associated with thinking and memory. So, by exercising regularly you may be able to increase your ability to retain information and problem solve as well. What’s more, exercise has also been shown to help you think more clearly by decreasing stress.
You don’t have to hit the gym to experience these benefits. Instead, try going for a jog, brisk walk, or a hike. Simply going outdoors and getting some physical activity should do the trick.
These are the most scientific ways that you can improve your studying capabilities. So, go ahead and include them in your routine today. Within a short period of time, you will discover that you are able to learn more efficiently and remember everything you study as well!