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12 Techniques to Study Effective and Study Smart

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Many people still assume that long hours of studying is the only way and the best path to be a straight-A student. But did you know? Studies show otherwise! Research shows that highly successful students actually spend less time studying than their friends. They just find more effective study techniques that suit them.

It is important to remember that you don’t have to spend all your time studying for a test. It is great to commit, but in the end, you will only exhaust yourself. It only makes you feel tired on the D-day. So, here it is. I found 12 scientifically proven study techniques to help you study more effectively.

  • Study Break

We often feel guilty for taking breaks even though we know we need them. However, it is important to periodically refresh your mind and energy by taking study breaks. Study breaks are essential, so you’ll be able to restore your ability to focus, restore your energy, and put you into a “diffuse mode of thinking”.

Research recommends that you do external tasks that allow your mind to wander, such as sleep, walking, exercise, meditation, etc. It’s highly not recommended to use social media while taking breaks.

  • Reward System

Rewards are beneficial to stimulate learning and motivate you to study. Teachers often use this technique to motivate their students to learn and participate. Not only will it encourage you, but it also results in better outcomes since you feel a sense of achievement.

There are several ways to reward yourself while studying. You can take a nap, listen to music, talk to people, watch one episode of your favorite TV on Netflix, etc. Your choice!

  • Dedicated Study Area

Setting up a dedicated study area can sharpen the mind and improve concentration. It allows for less disturbance or distractions while studying. It also enhances your focus.

Create a study area that is suitable to your preference. Whether you prefer complete silence or a bit of ambiance noise, set up the surroundings that enable you to be more focused. An ideal study space usually has ample sunlight, distraction-free, and plenty of fresh air.

  • Rote Memorization vs Active Learning

Rote memorization is a memorization technique based on repeating the material again and again until you get through with it and begin to memorize. It enables you to quickly recall basic facts and helps develop foundational knowledge.

Meanwhile, active learning is a study technique that involves and connects students with meaningful material in the classroom’s activities and learning process. It encourages understanding, relates to new information to prior knowledge, and focuses on the outcomes.

Both are beneficial and helpful, but it is more recommended to use active learning as you will understand the materials better.

  • Study Groups

Students feel more connected and more likely to study in groups, thanks to social media’s increasing use. Effective study groups can help you learn materials more deeply and concretely.

Not only that, but you will also gain a better understanding of the materials. Study in groups helps eliminate procrastination, hones people skills, gets better perspectives, and makes you feel more confident. So, why not try it out once in a while?

  • Highlighting Books (Recognition vs Recollection)

Many students use this technique to help them connect important ideas from the materials they learn.

Tips: only highlight after you’ve reached the end of a paragraph or a section. Limit yourself to highlighting only sentences or phrases per paragraph or underline the keywords instead of full sentences. You can also highlight your notes from classes.

  • Remembering (Recollection)

This technique activates more areas within your brain. It builds more connections in your mind to the information thus, you’re likely to retain more information.

Remembering the materials while studying helps you recall the information when you take an exam or discuss the materials in class. It also allows you to store the materials in your brain so you can study can be more effective.

  • Sleeping (REM Sleep)

It is stated above that you can sleep between your study breaks. Sleep allows your brain to rest, thus helping you to consolidate long-term memories.

REM sleep is an effective study technique because our brain is almost as active during REM sleep as when we are awake. It is beneficial for learning, memory, and mood. It also helps your physical and emotional health.

  • Taking Notes

Note-taking is important, especially during classes, as you will get additional information that is not found in textbooks. It helps you remember concepts, develops meaningful learning skills, and better understands the topic.

Effective ways to take notes is to come to class prepared (meaning that you have at least do reading prior to class), minimize distractions while taking notes, compare your notes with your friends, organize and structure your notes, write clearly, and review your notes after class ends.

  • Active Recitation

Active recitation will stimulate your memory during the learning process. There are several ways to use this technique, such as study using flashcards or spaced repetition (using time intervals between study sessions).

Active recitation is considered effective as it will help you remember important information and improve your ability to recall that information in an exam.

  • Study from Books (SQ3R = Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review)

SQ3R is a comprehension strategy that helps students think about the text they are reading. It activates your thinking and reviews your understanding throughout your reading. It consists of five steps:

  • Survey, review the text to get the initial meaning from the headings
  • Question, generate questions about the reading from previewing it
  • Read, as you read, you need to look for answers to the questions you formulated beforehand
  • Recite, recite or rehearse the answers to your questions and make notes about your answer for later studying
  • Review, review the text to answer the remaining questions and recite the questions you previously answered. 
  • Mnemonics (Acronyms, Interactive Images)

Mnemonics, also known as a memory aid, is a technique that helps you remember an idea or phrase with a pattern of letters, numbers, or relatable association. Mnemonic devices include acronyms, poems, songs, images, etc.

Mnemonics is an easy and effective way for those who struggle with memorizing a certain complicated subject or concept. It allows you to quickly and successfully learn and remember key concepts in a variety of subjects.

So, from these 12 techniques, which one suits your personality and learning method the most?

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