Here’s another reminder of some of our favourite study tips, brought to you by one of our favourite researchers Andy van Lix – with some subsequent amendments by yours truly 🙂
He reminds us that the most effective study habits are those that help implant information into our long-term memory – not only our short-term memory.
- Keep the area around your desk neat and tidy. If possible, the area should also be quiet. If you are having trouble finding a quiet place to study, try the local library or a park. The library is a perfect place to have peace and quiet, and a great way to meet new friends in your break! (Yes – people do exist in real life, and off your screen!) While a park may not be as quiet, the fresh air is good for oxygen intake – and that is pivotal for optimum brain performance.
- Have a scheduled study time for each school day. Our brain works best when it has routine. If you stick to the same study schedule, you’ll have a better chance that your brain builds neural pathways to help you study best at those times.
- Sit down for 45 minute intervals, followed by 15 minute breaks. Having an easily attainable goal, like sitting for set duration of time, is effective for increasing motivation. 45 mins at a time is plenty – then take a break! Not too long a break that you unwind the mind completely, but just enough time so you don’t get bored.
- Reward yourself if and only if you have met your goal for that study session. For example, if you plan to study one chapter and succeed, then you may reward yourself by doing something pleasurable. Don’t give in to the temptation of “well I almost got there, but I’ll just do more tomorrow to make it up!” – Stay the course! (Examples of positive reinforcement are: food, exercise, screen time, etc.)
- Prepare questions for your teacher or tutor. This will help you identify areas that you don’t understand, and let you address key areas quickly. Teachers will love seeing the initiative you’ve taken and are likely to be very helpful and receptive.
- Put any new words or concepts to use. The more you use the learned information, the more likely you will be to remember it. This is especially true for language classes.
- Finally, have a quick two minute session of meditation before you finish up. You will find that practicing a touch of mindfulness at the end of a study session will help solidify what you’ve just learnt.
- Procrastinate. Cramming is not beneficial for producing long term memory.
- Highlight. Highlighting is a form of procrastination, because you are saving note taking for later. This means you must use the book twice instead of once. Typing or writing the notes out by hand actually helps reinforce them, anyway!
- Leave your smartphone nearby during study time. No matter what is happening on SnapChat, it’s not worth the distraction! Studies have shown that simply having the smartphone in the same room is enough of a distraction. Put it in another room, and treat yourself to it after you’ve achieved your goal for that session (See Point 4 in the “Do’s”)
- Study just after you have eaten. Studies have shown that the brain slows down just after a meal. Try to have break between food and study when possible.