Spending hours every day studying, may not be the most effective way to learn.
For many students, high school and college / university, there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all of their school work, job and social responsibilities. So they quickly learn that they must study smarter. This means learning to improve the amount of information that the student can absorb in the shortest amount of time possible. By learning some good time management strategies, reading techniques, and learning personal learning style students can study smarter and achieve their goals.
Start by figuring out your personal learning style. Some students absorb more information by reading it (visual), hearing it (auditory) or touching (tactile). It’s important to understand which of these techniques works best for you so you can more easily absorb the material. Most research has determined that students who both hear and see the information will learn it better but when you incorporate the learning style that is yours first you’ll learn even more.
Recite the information as you read it. In other words, read through a paragraph or section and then, out loud, quiz yourself or recite the information so that you are both processing it and hearing it. This helps students to understand the information better and faster because it is active learning. It also points out areas that the student is making mistakes and gaps in their understanding.
People who are visual learners will benefit from taking full notes during lectures and while reading sections. This is because they learn most rapidly from reading the information or writing it down. Audiotape the lectures and take notes later if you aren’t able to get the full amount of information down during the class time. Notes should be in your own words that you are paraphrased from the lecture. This reinforces learning much more than underlining or highlighting in a book or notes because it is mechanical and active.
It is best to review the material directly after a class time or reading because it will create more firm pathways in the brain when it is reviewed quickly. Students find that the beginning and end of the material is remembered best so don’t overlook the middle sections.
Research has found that students who learn new material and then ‘sleep on it’ will better remember the material. Unless the student is physically or mentally overtired they should spend an hour before bed studying material they want to remember the next day.
Study in 20 -50 minute chunks of time and take a 10 minute break to stretch and get the blood moving. Spend your time on your three most challenging classes every day and early in the day.
To maximise your time management skills, make a list. Stay on top of deadlines for class work and tests and keep your lists active. Know what you have to study and when, so that papers and tests don’t sneak up on you. Lists will help you identify your goals, save you time and give you something to rely on than just your memory.
By learning to study smarter and not harder, students can fit in their social obligations, study time, class work, job and family into a short 24 hour day – and still achieve the goals they want.
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