Having an emotional wreck-down the evening before an examination that determines your overall grade is a universal experience for students worldwide. After all, there is no denying that cramming is the ultimate studying strategy for most students. Whereas some studying habits may allow students to pass their high school exams with flying colors, one can not say the same about college examinations.
For some students, being motivated and staying consistent is easy – however, others frequently have to work harder. While most people think the key to getting better grades is spending more hours studying, this statement isn’t entirely true. The secret to becoming an ideal student is to study smarter instead of harder.
If you are a visual learner, for example, you may explore mind mapping and incorporating posters into your study technique. You can use StoryboardThat to find a poster template to represent your study material visually. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding an effective study method. Therefore, we’ll help you understand the methods you can try to implement to study effectively through this article.
Study With Greater Intensity for Shorter Time Periods
To be an effective student, one must manage their time effectively. Students often think that staring at their textbooks and studying for hours and hours at once is the best path to getting ideal straight-A grades. If your current method of studying involves reading the textbook numerous times, highlighting every piece of information you come across, and praying that you can miraculously retain the information, you should revise your strategy.
We live in an era dominated by technology. The advancement of technology ultimately means a variety of distractions. Many students frequently choose to multitask and switch between tasks by scrolling social media every few minutes or watching a show along the way. They fail to see that multitasking is not practical for learning. When a student switches between topics or tasks, the brain spends a lot of time restarting and refocusing.
If you study physics for nine hours straight and decide to watch Netflix simultaneously, we hate to break it to you, but you will have a low intensity of focus. On the other hand, a student who dedicates an hour or two to focus solely on their studies will be able to grasp the information quicker and cover more content than they would have while they multitasked.
In order to be more productive, it is a good idea to avoid multitasking and spending lots of time focusing on low-intensity work with frequent distractions. Instead, try working for shorter periods at a higher intensity. One of the most impactful ways of studying is to divide your study material and workload into multiple sessions and allow some rest between them.
If you have only twelve hours before an important exam, it is better to divide your time into shorter periods. For instance, studying for an hour and a half with a short break after that and repeating it several times is better than staring at your books for twelve hours straight.
Implement Retrieval Practice
Students often study to prepare for an exam. Therefore, there is no doubt that testing has a negative connotation at this moment. However, testing is an incredible way of measuring how well you know your subject and is a form of active retrieval practice.
Many students focus on re-reading and revisiting the studied content instead of testing their ability to retrieve information from their memory. While reading your textbook numerous times is an integral part of the studying procedure, retaining information requires actively engaging in the material.
Instead of restudying the content, a student must direct their efforts toward attempting to recall the information from memory. A student may achieve this by taking a practice test or solving a past paper.
Retrieval practice makes a powerful and effective study method, especially when combined with dividing your preparation into several sessions. Testing out whether you retained the information across multiple days and repeating the procedure until you attain 100% accuracy and remember even the slightest details is the best studying approach.
Use Active Learning
A student may incorporate active learning organically into their studying technique using the three R’s approach – read, recite and review. To use this method, a student may read a short piece of text, put the source away from them, and attempt to recall the information and explain it in their own words.
Once they retrieve the content from their memory, they must check what they remembered with the source to ensure accuracy. A student must repeat this procedure until they are satisfied with their ability to explain the content in their own words without glancing at their source material.
One of the best ways of testing and retaining information is to put yourself in the shoes of a teacher. Grab a stuffed toy, your five-year-old sister, your best friend, or simply a character from your imagination, and attempt to explain the study material in your own words. By doing so, you can identify what topic you struggle with the most. As you go along, it is wisest to interlink the study material with real-life examples, as a teacher does. Initially, most students teach the concept to someone with their notes next to them.
However, you should eventually be able to explain the material to someone without relying on your notes. Have you ever read a few lines in a textbook and discovered that you forgot everything you just read? The best way to combat this issue is to link the content you just read to prior knowledge, and think about how you would explain the content to a five-year-old child.
After that, think about the questions a five-year-old could ask about the content. If you can answer those questions without facing any difficulty, rest easy! It is an indication that you know the content well.
Rather than cramming all your study material during an intensive ten-hour-long marathon, it is much more effective to space out your study sessions. Dividing your study sessions and focusing on active retrieval is the best way to study effectively. Switching up your study methods and finding what method suits you best is essential.