Studying – “the devotion of time and attention to gaining knowledge of a subject.” – Google, 2019

I’m already motivated.

But, studying can be a skill in itself. So let’s not jump in hastily.

Does mindlessly reading through your notes or textbooks sound like an effective method of studying?

Unlikely.

The memory is like a muscle, you can train it to be stronger.

Everyone learns differently and there is no wrong way to learn. So even if your way seems strange to others, you need to play to your strengths when trying to learn a new concept so that it really sticks.

7 different learning styles

Did you know there are 7 different types of learning styles that everyone falls into.

  • Visual (Spatial) – prefers pictures, images and mind maps to help process information

  • Visual (Spatial) – prefers pictures, images and mind maps to help process information

  • Verbal (Linguistic) – prefers to read content aloud or have someone speak the information so they can process it

  • Physical (Kinesthetic) – doesn’t learn something until they do it. they like to draw their own diagrams or role play to learn new information. They may also constantly be in motion and speak with their hands

  • Logical (Mathematical) – Learns only when they understand the bigger picture, along with the logic, reasoning and systems behind the concept

  • Social (Interpersonal) – prefers to work with others and finds they learn best in groups

  • Solitary (Intrapersonal) – prefers to study alone in order to retain information

So which one are you?

By being able to relate to a particular learning style may flick the switch to a flood of knowledge coming your way.

Motivation overload now I know, tell me more.

By being more aware of how you learn, you may find yourself retaining more information faster, remembering new names (we’ve all been there) and picking up new skills easier.

Where do we start?

Let’s look a handful of study strategies that may help you think through the materials and retain the information.

Stick to print

Tablets and computers are convenient and portable, but it has been said that students required more repetition to learn new material if they were reading on a computer screen versus reading printed material.

Plus, you can’t highlight and scribble notes on a laptop!

Exercise first

Studies show our brainpower gets a boost following even a short workout.

Breaking a sweat shortly before cracking the books can make you more alert, open and able to learn new information during your post-workout study session.

Relax

Stress hinders learning. Stress lasting as briefly as a couple of hours can engage corticotropin-releasing hormones that disrupt the process of creating and storing memories.

Take study breaks to exercise or meditation will help lower your stress level.

Curve of forgetting

Scientists started exploring the curve of forgetting as early as 1885, and the concept remains useful in today’s study habits.

The gist is this: The first time you study something new, you retain up to 80% of what you learnt – if you review the material within 24 hours.

Fortunately, this effect is cumulative; so after a week, you may retain 100% of the same information after only 5 mins of review.

This is much better than cramming and students should study closer to the day of learning, rather than the day of the assessment or exam.

Active recall

Close that textbook.

Active recall is stimulating the memory to recite everything you can remember from what you just learnt.

The more you practice, the more you will be able to remember (working that memory muscle).

It can also assist in consolidating long-term memory.

Feynman method

Physicist Richard Feynman created this organisation-based learning method – It’s all about deconstruction and reconstruction of ideas.

Let’s break it down.

Firstly, identify what you want to learn.

Secondly, try explaining it as you would to a 5-year-old.

The Fenyman method is ideal for using analogies to further illustrate your concept.

Stop multitasking

Look at you go, researching your next holiday destination and building your social media following.

You may think you are killing 2 birds with 1 stone by texting while studying, but you’re actually forming poor study habits.

According to research, multitasking extends your study time and ultimately may damage your overall effectiveness when it comes to information retention.

Join a study group

Studying doesn’t always have to be an individual activity.

Benefits of a study group include:

  • Explaining the material to each other
  • Being able to ask questions about things you don’t understand
  • Quizzing each other or playing review games
  • Learning the material more quickly than you might on your own
  • Developing soft skills that will be useful in your future career
  • Networking and finding people with common interests

You can join the ASTRA Student Study Group today.

Know when to call it a day

Yes, you really can get too much of a good thing.

Although your studies are important, they shouldn’t be the only thing in your life.

It’s also important to have a social life, family time, get plenty of exercise, watch baby Yoda on the Disney Channel and take care of your non-study responsibilities.