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It’s safe to assume we’ve all crammed before a big test.
Some of us passed with flying colors, and others swore of “cramming” for the rest of their lives. If you’ve been through this situation before, chances are you looked into how you can improve your study habits.
Seeing how we all go through many years of school, we all figure out what works best for us. Furthermore, learning is a huge part of our lives because many of us continue to seek knowledge.
But sometimes learning and studying are pushed aside due to time restraints. This is all the more reason it’s beneficial to know how to study less and learn faster.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
If you’re not sure how to do this, keep reading. We’ve got study tips geared towards studying less, learning faster, and, most importantly, retaining more information.
Sometimes you have to take it back to the basics. Many have jumped on the cyber note-taking trend, but you don’t retain as much information, in all honesty.
Studies show those who take notes on their computer or iPad don’t retain as much information—compared to those utilizing the pen and paper method.
Why is this?
When you use a pen and paper, you process the information on a deeper level, requiring more cognitive connection to the information. This affords the process of taking notes with a pen and paper enhanced memory, increased focus, and improved critical thinking skills.
In fact, some people study for exams by repeatedly writing down the information they need to retain. The physical connection increases our ability to recall information.
If you tend to gravitate towards digital notes, taking them with pen and paper doesn’t mean you can’t transfer them onto your laptop later, or vice versa. The process of copying onto another format will only help you learn more.
At times, we’re in the zone, and we simply forget to give ourselves a breather.
Giving yourself small breaks between learning times is shown to boost productivity, decrease stress, and boost brain function—enhancing our overall learning capacity.
When we’re focused on a particular study for an extended time, we tend to drift off, losing focus and concentration. When this happens, we’re not genuinely grasping onto any of the key concepts we need to learn.
When you start to feel like your mind isn’t connecting to the information, take a quick five-minute break. You’ll see afterward your mind has reset and is ready to soak everything up.
One thing many educators learn early on is how students respond better to different learning styles.
There are seven different learning styles: visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary. They all have their own characteristics that are easy to identify because you know yourself better than anyone else, right?
Understanding your learning style is vital in figuring out how you can study less and learn faster.
When you understand what type of learning style your brain responds to, you can work more efficiently by implementing study habits that align with your learning style.
Outside of understanding your personal learning style, try to use new learning styles during study time. This exercises different regions of the brain.
We started off talking about those times we crammed for a big exam and how some of us failed in our attempt to stuff all the knowledge we needed into our heads in such a short amount of time.
Want to know a better way to go about study time?
Make sure you’re spacing your study time out evenly over a week or two. This way, you’re giving yourself enough time to get familiar with the concepts.
In light of the “study less” theme, you can implement 20-minute flash study sessions where you go over flashcards or readings and be done with it.
Also, there are apps you can use to create flashcards and use them in your downtime. You use to look at them while in line at the grocery store, waiting in a lobby for an appointment, or a quick glance before you go to bed.
When you space out study time, you retain information for a longer amount of time than when you try to cram it all in.
We all know how much of a difference adequate sleep makes in our lives. When we’re sleep-deprived, we can’t focus, are less productive, and feel bad all the way around.
Studies confirm there’s a strong connection between sleep and learning.
Big wow, right?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out we need sleep to function properly. Still, sleep has a significant role in memorization. REM sleep enhances the memory of new information introduced if it occurs within 12 hours.
This means studying a few hours before bed is most beneficial. It makes sense because reading and studying seem to make us sleepy anyhow.
Music soothes us in a variety of ways, especially when studying. It decreases performance anxiety, improves focus, enhances memory skills, and just puts us in an all-around better mood.
Everyone has a specific type of music they like to use when studying, with one of the most popular being lo-fi.
Lo-fi stands for low fidelity and contains various flaws such as hums, background noises, and distortions.
These “flaws” in the music activate specific parts of the cerebrum, enhancing focus and concentration because the brain’s frontal lobe works to pick these flaws out. This process boosts focus and productivity.
These are some top tier tips when it comes to working smarter, not harder.
When it boils down to almost anything, you have to know and understand your body and mind in this case. When you know your learning style, you can build off this knowledge, branching off into other learning styles.
There are tons of ways to study less and retain more knowledge. It’s all about knowing how your mind moves towards focus and concentration.
Most importantly, now you’re armed with new study habits that you’ll soon see profound results from.
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