You must have heard that, as a student, you need to study hard to achieve academic success. However, research has shown that this is not entirely true. A lot of students feel overwhelmed or forget what they study, even after studying for a long time. The reason is that while they are trying to study hard, they are not studying smart.
Studying smart involves using methods that are proven to help you learn and remember better without wasting too much time or energy. Using these techniques makes learning easier for students and improves academic performance. We are going to highlight some of the most effective strategies that will help you study smart as a student and how you can make the most of them.
Discover Your Learning style
Knowing how you learn best is super important for doing really well in your studies. Everyone has their own special way of taking in information and understanding things. Some people are visual learners. That is, they learn better by looking at pictures or diagrams; some are auditory learners, meaning they learn better by listening to explanations. Some prefer a very quiet environment, while others don’t. Some students study better during the day, while others do better at night.
So you are going to figure out your learning style. You can think back on times when you did really well in a subject or when you had trouble with a specific topic but somehow were able to figure it out. These can give you clues about the ways you learn best.
Once you know your learning style, you can use it to your advantage. If you’re a visual learner, you can use pictures or mind maps to remember things better. If you’re an auditory learner, you might try reading things out loud or making audio recordings of your lecture notes and listening to them.
Use Active Study techniques
Active study techniques are a powerful way to maximize learning and improve academic performance. These techniques involve engaging with the material interactively and dynamically rather than passively reading or memorizing information. Active studying can help students retain more information, enhance critical thinking skills, and develop better study habits.
One effective active study technique is called retrieval practice. It involves recalling information from memory rather than simply reviewing it. You could also create flashcards or practice tests to reinforce what you have learned through repetition.
Examples of Active Study techniques
- Use Flashcards
- Rewrite the notes in your own words.
- Explain the material in your own words; speak it aloud.
- Create questions based on what you are reading.
- Practice answering questions while studying.
- Connect theories to real-life examples or stories.
- Break down diagrams into smaller parts to understand how they work together.
- Join group discussions and group study sessions.
Take Breaks During Study sessions
Taking regular breaks during long study sessions can significantly enhance productivity and concentration. Studies have demonstrated that students can maintain their focus for longer periods when they incorporate short breaks every 45–60 minutes. These breaks play a vital role in helping us retain information more effectively.
When we engage in continuous study without breaks, our brains can become fatigued, leading to decreased attention and retention. However, by taking short breaks, we give our minds a chance to recharge and refocus.
During these breaks, consider activities like stretching, taking a walk, or simply closing your eyes for a few minutes. These activities help to clear our minds and prepare us for the next study session.
However, avoid activities that are too stimulating or distracting, like scrolling through social media or playing video games, which may not provide the same restorative benefits as more relaxing activities. The goal of these breaks is to rejuvenate our minds and maintain a balance between study and relaxation.
Get Enough Sleep Before Study sessions
Getting enough sleep is really important if you want to learn better. Our brains are like supercomputers, and they need enough rest to work at their best. When we don’t get enough sleep, our brain doesn’t function properly, and we might have trouble thinking clearly, remembering things, and learning new stuff.
Studies have shown that getting around 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night is super important for our brain to work at its best. It helps us stay focused, remember things better, and be ready to learn new things each day. So, make sure to get enough sleep to give your brain the power it needs to perform at its peak!