There’s a good chance that you aren’t getting the most out of your study sessions. You could be getting
better scores without having to invest a second more of your time—you just need to study smarter.
When you’re learning new material, it can be overwhelming when you think about how much time you
need to truly understand it all. These studying techniques can help you stay focused and take on more
information with shorter study sessions.
Universities have been working hard to help you figure out how to get better scores. Their main suggestions are the following:
1. Study in chunked sessions: Your ability to retain information diminishes after about 25-30 minutes, so break it up into multiple, smaller sessions. Reward yourself with fun activities during your breaks.
2. Have a dedicated study area: Don’t study where you do anything else. Don’t study in your bed, where you play games (even if it’s your computer), or in front of the
3. Take good notes: Find a note-taking method that works for you and expand on them after your class lecture to increase retention and understanding.
4. Test yourself: The act of recalling a piece of information, particularly if it is hard to do so, strengthens your hold on it. And forgetting can be just as helpful if you look up the information right away; the odds are low that you’ll forget it again. Kornell and Bjork’s studies suggest that only about 2/3 of college students routinely quiz themselves, and a majority of students study only one time for upcoming exams.
5. Mix content: This applies to your initial review as well as practice tests. When you focus on the same information for awhile, your brain gets lazy. It is better to study distinct but related concepts—such as a series of math different formulas—in each sitting. This forces your brain to figure out the similarities and differences between the pieces of information and figure out when to apply each one.
Lastly, divide everything you learn into two categories: facts and concepts. Facts are things that can fall out of your brain and you may need to come up with a mnemonic device in order to study them.
Concepts are the glue that hold entire big picture together, making them the most important part to study. Concepts are why you’re studying something to begin with and, once you learn them, they stick with you. Stop wasting hours studying at only a third of the pace you could be going and study smart.