7 Effective Study Methods to Improve Learning
The best ways to study efficiently is to develop study habits that will shorten your time for learning, and will also help you create your own best way to study. Students often struggle with learning, because they do not create and utilise study strategies and study tools, which would accelerate their active learning and develop the best study habits.
These studying methods will help you how to study effectively, develop the best study habits, and shorten your time for learning, all whilst actively learning your most challenging subjects.
Start off positive
We all know that studying can be painful especially if the subject is not a topic that is an interest of ours. Approaching studying with a positive mindset is the first important method we should keep in mind when studying. Yes, we know that it is easier said than done but having a negative attitude towards studying can only reduce the effectiveness and be more time-consuming. Remember that effective work is always smarter than hard work.
Studies have found that having an increased desire to perform a task like study, work, exercise and so forth, actually improves how efficiently and effectively you will perform and learn. We understand that it is not always possible to convince yourself to love studying; however a positive attitude is a great study tool that will help you start studying effectively.
One way to keep a positive mindset is to leave all problems aside, whether that is a fight with a parent or a friend, whether your teacher was mean to you, or you just had a bad day. Stay focused on the subject and keep motivated throughout the studying process. At the end of the day, just remember that this course will help you get to the career you want to have.
Other methods to increase your motivation for studying include:
1. Think positively about the benefits of studying;
2. Do not think of studying as a waste of time, think of it as a method of developing your knowledge;
3. Do not compare your studying effectiveness with others. Study at your own pace, and develop the best study habits for you.
Find an environment that will help you study
Finding an environment that will encourage your study habits is one of the bests study tools you can have, because it deters you from distractions and temptations.
This method should be developed through the years of studying while one eliminates the surroundings that take their focus away. Find a peaceful place that suits your needs best. Some people study better in a library where it is quiet, some prefer studying at home where they don’t find a TV turned on as a distraction, or others choose to study in groups.
Make sure you are free from any intrusions in order to have a high productivity level. Most importantly keep cell phones aside and try being away from social media throughout the studying process. Take enough breaks to rest the brain, have water and food regularly to feed the brain, and be in a room with a temperature that makes you comfortable. Always have in mind that proper lighting while studying is a necessity, the last thing we want is having a headache or developing a future eye problem.
Use what you find convenient
Not using things that will potentially waste your time and only bringing essentials for your study sessions is one of the best ways to give yourself more time for learning. Pens, books, papers, stationery, research devices and so forth are essential studying tools and should be utilised to their full capacity in order to help you study effectively.
Nowadays we have the advantage of using Google research engine or YouTube for a more visual explanation. Use these channels to better understand the topic you are currently studying. Rewrite what you learned or draw diagrams.
Be creative - Steve Jobs famously said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something”.
Create mental associations – this is an easier way to remember information. Mind maps are excellent for connecting ideas and information by creating a visual overview of different connections. Mind mapping is a technique that is considered very helpful when it comes to studying and memorizing a vast amount of new information.
With this study method, you will be able to visually map out important facts and memorize them more easily.
Below, you can dowload and use an exam preparation mind map created with iMindQ software.
Shorten your notes as you study
Memorising extra study notes is more easily done if you shorten your existing notes to memorable and concise information, allowing for more space in your brain to take new notes.
This can be done by creating abbreviations, associating notes with feelings, places, smells, or other memories. Sometimes it might even help to forget certain notes if you know that the information obtained will not positively contribute to the upcoming task.
Overall, the human brain can be over-encumbered with too much study information, and strategies should be in place in order to relieve the stress and help you study efficiently.
Practice with peers or by yourself
Creating tests for yourself and your friends is a great way to see how much you have truly learned. By creating a test for yourself and or others, you are actually applying all of the knowledge you have gained through studying, and finding out how much you have learned. The tests you create can be as simple as you want, or as complicated as they need to be in order for you to get the best results from your studies.
Using tests as a method to applying your knowledge is a great addition to your study methods, and helps you find out how much you have learned in one studying session.
Record and Review
The two methods that go together and make life so much easier are taking handwritten notes during each class and reviewing them once in a while, preferably 1-2 times each week until the exam time.
Make sure you develop an ability to both listen and put your comprehension on a paper rather than copying it from the board. This enhances the capacity to understand the subject better and most importantly prepares you for an exam like no other method does since you won’t be overwhelmed and stressed before the exam.
Use the Right Techniques
Each individual has a different technique for studying. Finding the right skills and adopting them is essential in order to get the best results. How do we find these techniques? Techniques that students find that help are:
1. Teaching others – meaning to better understand it, try explaining it to others or to yourself using your own words;
2. Try speaking out loud instead of reading quietly;
3. Make a plan/schedule or set up goals for each week. Reward yourself after accomplishing them;
4. Exercise before an exam – this has been proven to boost your memory and help you perform better during an exam;
Have a routine – this has been proven to work best for successful people. Having a regular routine of everyday studying is better than staying up all night before the exam. Losing sleep is not good for the health and it is not as productive as if you were to spread out the studying.