Jot down and participate
Let’s face it; lectures are boring (unless you have a really dynamic speaker). In order to help you get as much useful information from these lectures, bring a note book with you and take notes. The act of taking notes is not only for recording information but it’s also to help you pay attention by keeping you engaged in the lecture. As a follow up, be sure to ask questions…any questions. The act of mutual conversation between you and the lecturer is another form of engagement that will create a mental link to the information being shared.
Set-up A Schedule… And Stick to It
Cramming for an exam the night before is not the wisest course of action. Rather, plan ahead and schedule manageable study times throughout the week. This will make it easier for you to retain the information you study.
There’s nothing wrong with being a sleepyhead, especially when you’re studying most of the time. Getting a good amount of sleep every night replenishes the energy you used up during the day and repairs the worn out cells of the body.
Eat for Your Body and Mind
Foods that contain vitamins and minerals that is good for the brain is essential when studying. Blueberries, blackcurrants, sage, nuts, green leafy vegetables, fish, whole grains, tomatoes and vitamin B complex supplements are just some of the surefire brain boosting foods that you’ll want to load up on to enhance memory retention.
Sweat It Out
The most effective brain exercise is physical exercise. Sweat it out in the gym or go jogging at a nearby park. Yoga, Zumba and some martial arts routines are amazing in keeping you calm and collected so your brain is always refreshed with a good supply of oxygen.
Choose A Comfortable Study Area
A comfortable study area is important, like a study table in your room, a nook in your home library, or anywhere there’s good ventilation and lighting. However, make sure this area isn’t too comfortable or you’ll fall face down on your book and in minutes, you’ll be snoring away.
Put All Distractions Aside
Make sure you don’t have anything on you that will distract you from the task at hand. Have all those unnecessary gadgets and gizmos turned off and somewhere out of your reach. This also includes computer distractions such as social media, entertainment, games, and blogs.
Organize Your Study Materials and Supplies
Pens, extra sheets of paper, neon markers, pencils, erasers, your notes, books or just about anything that you need should be within your arm’s reach when studying. This way you don’t have to get up and walk around the room to find the stuff you need and risk getting distracted. The only time you need to stand up should be when you take your bathroom breaks, study breaks and when you are done studying.
Prepare Your Heart and Mind
Prepare your mind and clear it from all distractions in order that you may concentrate on the subjects that you have to study. Your mind should not be concerned with the fight that you had with your loved one or the everyday troubles that you have to face.
Create An Outline
If you’re not quite sure what to study first, list down all the things you need to study and make an outline out of it. Start with your notes or your recorded lectures and make sure everything that you’re told to study is covered and noted.
The SQ3R Technique
Since a huge chunk of your study time is spent on reading, try employing reading techniques like the SQ3R. It teaches you to “Survey” the contents of the book or reading material, “Question” the reasons you need to read the material, “Read” and understand the text, “Recite” the salient points in what you just have read and take down notes if there are any, and “Review” take a few days or a week to go over what you read in order to better familiarize yourself with the material.
Employ Mnemonic Devices
Employ mnemonic devices which aim at translating information into a form that the human brain can retain better than its original form. For example, if you want to remember the colors of the rainbow. Remember the name Roy G. Biv. It sounds like a weird name but in reality it stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.
If you’re trying to memorize a process, like how the human digestive system works, drawing a flowchart is a great tool to use especially if you are a visually receptive individual and respond to illustrations or abstractions. You don’t have to make a really detailed flowchart like the ones computer programmers would use, just make sure the arrows are correctly situated or the drawings are easy to relate to.
Take Breaks… Relax…
Relaxation should be part of your study schedule. Take fifteen minute powernaps, walk break, game time, anything that is not related to studying.
Study Now And Study Again Later
If you’ve read the chapter once, there’s no harm in reading it one more time. Reading it all over again helps you remember the information. Just make sure that you understand what you’re reading so it’s easier for that information to switch over into your long term memory.
Create Tools For Reviewing
Flashcards are one of the best tools for studying. Jot down important information such as definitions, key points, name, dates, etc. and take the flashcards with you wherever you go. Throughout the day, pull them out and review the information you jotted down.
Study With Friends
There are a lot of benefits from studying in a group. Group interactions will help you cement the information discussed in your memory. Moreover, different perspectives on the given study subject could broaden your understanding and application.
Don’t Study While You’re Sick… Or Better Yet, Avoid Getting Sick
When you are sick, the best thing to do is just rest. It’s almost impossible to fully engage your mind in studying due to the major distraction of pain, discomfort, drug side effects, etc. Rest and full recuperation is the best course of action.
Sing Like No One’s Listening… But You
It sounds a little crazy but for some people, it does work. Change the lyrics to your favorite nursery rhyme or novelty song with the lines from the chapter you’re trying to memorize. Before you know it, you’ll be humming that which you have been trying to memorize.
One glass of water can go a long way for your brain’s health. Try to avoid coffee, power drinks, caffeinated drinks, etc. and instead drink water. After all 78% of your brain is, in fact, water.
Record Your Notes And Learn From Yourself
Does your professor suffer from that horrible monotone voice? Why don’t you replace it with your own instead? Try recording yourself reading a good summary of your notes. Then, you can replay yourself and viola, no more monotone voice (unless of course you suffer from the same ailment).
If Plan A Doesn’t Work, Move On To Plan B
Never push yourself with a routine that you’re not comfortable with because it’ll only strain your mind and not help you study any better. It may take some time to figure out what the best study habits are for you. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to gradually adjust them to what works for you.
Practice Makes Perfect
There’s no way around it, practice makes perfect. Repetition is one of the best ways to solidify information that you are trying to study.
Studying is Fun… Trust Me
Studying is probably one of the least enjoyable things to do for some people. However, it helps if you don’t see it as a chore. Rather, see it as a leisure event where you’re just reading for the heck of it. It may sound really far out but the more you like the topic and the more you get engrossed with it, the faster it gets absorbed into your brain.
Positivity, Courage and Confidence
In everything that you do, how you face the issue will eventually show in the outcome. Confidence plays an important role in studying. The more confident and open-minded you are the more determined you will be when it comes time to answer the questions on a test. Never think you cannot learn something. Never!