7 Tried and True Study Tips
Since the 1930’s when Allen F. Morgenstern created a work simplification program and coined the idea of “working smarter, not harder,” this has been the battle cry of the American worker. But this concept does not just apply to people in the workforce. Students can also adopt techniques that allow them to work smarter, not harder. Learning expert, Jim Kwik, has several tips that students can adopt to help them maximize their study time and retain more information.
Tip #1: Quit trying to multitask
Multitasking is fruitless...and it’s a myth. Multitasking requires you to switch between tasks which causes you to lose focus and lose time. Believe it or not, it takes 5-20 minutes to regain your focus each time you switch back to a task.
Tip #2: Stop cramming
Did you know that sleep helps people form long-term memories? When students stay up late studying or pull all-nighters before a big test, they are actually cheating themselves. The information they are studying doesn’t readily convert into their long-term memory bank and they are more fatigued the next day when recalling the information is necessary. Studying is most effective when you take frequent breaks and get good sleep.
Tip #3: Tune out distractions
There is no limit to the number of things that can distract you or your student when you are trying to study. Turning off your cell phone or listening to a white-noise app can help you tune out these distractions and make focusing easier. There are also some excellent study apps like Dewo and Freedom that block out distracting websites, minimizing the temptation to pick up your phone.
Tip #4: Implement spaced repetition
Repetition is good. Spaced repetition is even better. When you or your student study material at increasingly spaced intervals, this information moves from your short-term to your long-term memory. Check out Anki, an app that facilitates spaced-repetition learning.
Tip #5: Practice active recall
It’s easy to confuse recognition with recall. When you recognize something, it’s familiar. This requires some sort of trigger. For example, when you reread a chapter in your science book, you recognize the content and may mistakenly think you know it and quit studying. When you recall information, however, you pull information out of your memory bank without a trigger—a necessary skill for test-taking. Instead, close your books and quiz yourself periodically or recall all the information you can remember about a given topic. This is a much better indicator of how well you’re absorbing new information than simply rereading material.
Tip #6: Smell your way to successful learning
Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by a smell followed by a flood of memories? Smells have a unique way of helping people recall stored information. Much like a web, they attach themselves to memories and, when that smell presents itself again, it pulls that memory along with it. Use a new scented Chapstick or put on an essential oil or a scented lotion that you don’t normally wear when you’re studying a hard concept. Then, on test day, bust it out again and benefit from the web of information that’s triggered by that particular scent.
Tip #7: Study to music
Music is powerful. It has the innate ability to lower anxiety, decrease fatigue, help you relax, help you manage pain and increase your physical performance. Music also helps improve memory. When you study to classical music, particularly music from the Baroque Period, you can more easily tune out distractions, relax, focus and retain information.
If you are looking for more study tips so you can study smarter, we would love to help! Feel free to contact us! If you or your child are struggling with learning and can’t seem to make headway, take our free brain skills assessment and discover any underlying cognitive issues that could be addressed.