Study tips…that actually work!

Some of us opt for re-reading, others opt for the ole’ highlighter and notes and others opt for none at all. These study techniques whilst seemingly may sound effective, here’s a secret, they’re really not as effective as you think. Shock horror!

Why are they not effective you ask? Well, let me tell you. At GSPT, we think it has something to do with the fact that re-reading or highlighting old notes does not prompt students to think and draw links between concepts. There’s no real application of what they’ve learnt.

So, what you may ask is effective? Again, let me tell you…

Exercise my friends for one! Sure, exercise and working out can give some appearance by-products (i.e abs) but it also has some hidden brain benefits. Take a break from a study session or scratch that, even before the study session has started, go for a walk! Or a run! Or a hike! Exercise like this can get the blood pumping and allow for more oxygen to get to the brain. If that’s not enough motivation for students to get out outside before they hit the tools is that it can increase their levels of alertness, meaning all that squabble on the page can be turned into comprehended concepts.

The next thing to do is, break that study down. Put it into malleable chunks that your brain and motivation can handle. Don’t go too hard to quick and burn out. Pace yourself. Breaking down study sessions into these smaller bursts of time, allows your brain to ‘relearn’ the concepts and content introduced throughout the term or year. In doing this, it strengths the brain’s memory and allows the student to absorb more.

It makes sense logically to cover biology then physics and then maths. Subject by subject. But why not mix it up? Just like breaking down those sessions, why not give it a go and do mini-blocks of study about different concepts, but still make sure they’re related. This notion and practice of ‘interlearning’ and solidifying the pattern of mixing these concepts will ensure the brain can grasp and retain knowledge a little better.

Flashcards everybody! This one’s an oldie but a goodie. While it might seem similar to reading over notes, it actually reminds your brain to retrieve the information. Write down some key concepts or prompts, and draw cards randomly to test your knowledge.

Teach it to someone else. This one might seem silly when you’re the one that’s trying to learn. Funnily enough, when students are told they need to teach a certain topic, there’s more engagement with the topic. Thinking about how you would explain it to someone else aids in making sure your own comprehension of the topic is up to scratch.

Ditch that device. Ditch it. Do it. We all know that nowadays, everyone has a new limb, scientifically known as the smartphone. But that limb can be a nuisance when you want to study. It dings and lights up and creates more distraction than being in the living room with the rest of the family! So, for now, detach the limb. Trust us, it’s for the best.

Need a change of scenery? Move to another room in the house, perhaps a quieter room or a room where everyone else is being productive or even outside. Pitching yourself a new study tent in new surroundings makes the brain switch up the alertness and allow students to focus and retain their content.

We’re sure these tips and tricks will get the brain ticking just in time for those exams!