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How to Study Better: 8 Study Techniques That Work

Study techniques

February 5 2022 - School is in season. This means nights at the library with your flashcards and highlighters. With blended learning and online classes, you need resilience to keep up with your lessons.

Got a big test on the horizon? Donít cram, as it increases stress levels and lowers memory retention. Want more study techniques?

Take a look at these eight study tips you can use to improve your study skills and challenge yourself! Study better and study smart to get to the top of your class.

1. Keep Two Schedules

Structure your learning to stay organized and stay on track. Sticking to a schedule is part of developing good study habits and building your executive function. Keep distractions to a minimum to stay focused.

Making a schedule isnít a study tip you havenít heard before. This time, make two schedules.

With all the academic stress, itís normal for people not to be on their A-game every single day. Make a schedule for high morale to push yourself and reach maximum productivity. Then, make a schedule for when skies feel a little gray.

Adjust your "bad day" schedule to the bare minimum to allow yourself some breathing time. Create a study schedule using a planner or online templates.

Aside from keeping track of time, you also have to keep track of your progress. Keeping motivation high is crucial for learning.

2. Use Retrieval Techniques

Youíre so used to cramming information into your brain. Letís see how you fare when dragging that information out. Retrieval is a means of learning wherein you practice the information to cement it into memory.

Itís one of those classic study techniques where you try to write or recite everything from a concept.

Try using a circular strategy. For example, "When was King Tut born?" The answer is 1334 BC. Follow this by asking yourself later, "What happened in 1334?" King Tut was born.

Make checkpoints during class or review to see if you still remember the information you digested.

3. Use Examples

Have you ever sat down in calculus class†and wondered when youíll ever use the information you're being taught? Learning has a lot to do with applying concepts in real life.

Did you know that classical calculus applies to projectile motion? Yep, throwing that ball has math in it and runs in a stepwise formula derivation!

Notice some of your friends acting out? Think of how that relates to your psychology class or health class.

Ever think about how fireworks come in different colors? Thatís all thanks to metals like copper, sodium, and strontium with a healthy mix of combustion reactions.

Add abstract and concrete examples to help you visualize your concepts as not only words on a page. This may even spark a greater interest when you see where the information takes you.

4. Reorganize Your Thoughts

Organization keeps you on track and gets work done faster. Often, people like to keep things in chronological order to make sense. Going any other way almost seems unnatural or chaotic.

However, your attention span dwindles when you know whatís coming next. Run through your topics, then break the predictability of your studies after youíre familiar with how things go. Open your notes at a random chapter.

Doing this forces your brain to retrieve connections from past and future sources instead of going with the flow. Refresh your ability to relate topics by reorganizing your approach.

5. Ask Why and How

Studying has a lot to do with memory work. In basic recall, you identify the "what" of the problem. However, did you ever stop to think if you understood the hows and whys that lie beyond? Foster a thorough understanding of your topics to aid with memory and learning.

Anyone can restate facts, but it takes more effort to understand why things are a certain way. Ask how they came about or why it matters. This builds a network of concepts, helping you relate topics, ideas, and processes with each other.

Learning and memory come like second nature when you tap into this network. Try this by breaking down concepts into their fundamentals.

For instance, itís easy to remember the formula for Boyleís law as V1P1 = V2P2. However, delving deeper, you understand that when you increase the pressure on a gas, its volume does decrease.

Relate this concept to how gas molecules collide more in a smaller space, increasing their kinetic energy and temperature. Knowing this bit of info, you know that pressure decreases volume while increasing temperature. Now you have the combined gas law where T2V1P1 = T1V2P2.

Simple, isnít it? Arm yourself not only with facts but understanding to help you ace that test!

6. Test Yourself

Reading and rereading notes and books is like reading the answer key to a puzzle. Take the next step and formulate challenging questions for yourself.

In doing so, remember to think outside the box. Channel your inner teacher and think of how they ask questions. They often donít settle for simple definition identifications.

Format questions in concept essays, or compare and contrast.

7. Teach Someone Else

Albert Einstein once said, "If you canít explain it simply, you donít understand it well enough." When you read a book, you may have the confidence to say you know the topic. That is until you have to explain it to someone else.

Explaining a concept to someone else helps you grasp concepts. Unlike the retrieval process, you add a social component by explaining to someone else.

Depending on the person youíre with, you may have to add more information to explain better. You garner a deeper understanding and more elaborate organization by forming these connections.

8. Give Yourself Breaks

A car running on an empty tank wonít move no matter how hard you hit the accelerator. Give yourself reasonable time to take care of yourself. That way, you donít feel like youíre depriving yourself.

Academic burnout is real and has physical effects compounding mental effects.†Look for ways to cope with academic burnout.

Use These Study Techniques to Improve Your Academic Standing

Building good study habits takes time. Discipline yourself, practice memory work, and deepen your understanding.

Thank you for reading our article on study techniques! To learn more about similar topics, check out our other articles. Learning is a lifelong process with skills you master over time; remember to study smart!

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