We show you some simple tips for how to study smart and fast, and ensure you retain all of the important information.
When you’re a student, it seems that there’s never enough hours in the day to get what you need to do done. Whether it’s attending lectures, writing notes, reading resources and textbooks, or working on assessments, the 168 hours that we’re given in a week just doesn’t cut it.
Thankfully, there are some techniques you can learn about how to study smart and fast. This doesn’t mean rushing through your work and making errors, but rather becoming more efficient with the time you have and ensuring that all of the information you learn actually sticks. Smart studying isn’t that hard to do, not with our tips on how to do things a little differently.
#10: Mix Up the Way You Learn
When we sit down for a study session, we usually have our notepad and pens or a laptop to type on. Although these are certainly handy tools, to truly get the best out of study we need to be using different modes and mediums. Make notes, type, draw diagrams, listen to lectures, create a mind map, or search online for new resources. As different types of media stimulate different parts of the brain, you have a better chance of retaining what you’ve learned.
#9: Study a Variety of Subjects
If you have a big test coming up or you’re struggling to learn about one specific subject, research has shown that it’s better to spread your study time over multiple areas. This might feel like it’s counterproductive, but you will be able to study smarter and faster if you cover off a bit from each subject and then move onto a new one, rather than overcrowding your brain with only one or two topics.
#8: Read Out Loud
Do you remember when you went to school and your teacher would always make someone read aloud in class? This wasn’t just to see how well you could read, it is also a proven way to get information to stick. When you’re dealing with important information, data or dates, say a sentence out loud that sums it up. Studies have shown that this will help you to retain the information because you’re hearing it and seeing it, so it works with two separate parts of your brain.
#7: Nootropic Supplements
What better way to study faster and smarter than with a natural supplement that’s actually been proven to improve your memory and cognitive thinking? Students are one of the key groups that can benefit from taking a regular nootropic supplement or stack because it will give them the edge that they need. Most nootropics require some time to build up in your system before you can get their true benefits, so it’s something you should start taking right away to reap the rewards.
#6: Avoid Multitasking
You might feel as though you’re getting a lot done when you check your emails, write a few notes, and then read some pages of another book. The multiple studies done on multitasking would prove you wrong, though. Countless findings have concluded that trying to do more than one thing at once makes you dumber, slows you down, and decreases the quality of your work. Set a timer for yourself if you have trouble staying focused on the task at hand and then move onto the next one.
#5: Get Enough Sleep
It’s no secret that sleep is the solution to so many of our problems, and not surprisingly, it has a lot to do with our concentration levels. If you didn’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep the night before and don’t have time for a quick half hour nap, you’re probably not going to be studying very smartly. Aim for a healthy sleep every night and try to avoid studying when you’re seriously low on energy.
#4: Periodic Reviews
Make a timetable for yourself that means you’ll be reviewing your notes so far at set intervals. Studies have shown that cramming isn’t a smart way to learn things at all, and you’re better off learning something and then reviewing that information at set times. Depending on when you need to learn the information by, you might want to review it once every couple of days and give yourself a break in between.
#3: Take Notes by Hand
Sure, it’s a lot easier to type things on your laptop and forget about them, but that’s exactly what will happen – you’ll forget. There are two reasons why it’s better to write by hand, and they make this a smarter way to study. First, you’ll be less distracted by everything else on your computer, and secondly, scientists have shown that you’re able to process and reframe the information when you write it by hand.
#2: Test Yourself
Don’t wait for your lecturers to test you on what you’ve learned, do it for yourself. Numerous research findings over the year have highlighted the importance of self-testing, no matter what you’re learning. Make up some questions at the end of each study session and then go through each one to see how well you do, and you’ll be more than prepared for when the real deal happens.
#1: Be Kind to Yourself
If you’ve ever worked for a harsh and domineering boss, you’ll know how your work suffers when you’re unhappy. The same goes for studying, so you really need to be kind to yourself. Ensure that you take regular study breaks that will keep you motivated and give your brain a chance to switch off for a while and regain its energy. Some studies have also shown that setting a reward for each study session can improve learning and memory formation, so think of something healthy and simple to treat yourself with.