Practical Methods To Study Smarter

We’re all aware that students are frequently confronted with a plethora of material, complex concepts, and pressing deadlines. So, how can we study smarter rather than harder? You can either spend more time studying or learn to study more effectively to increase your marks. 168, That is the total number of hours in a week. If you’re a student, you undoubtedly think this isn’t enough. After all, you have many assignments, projects to work on, and tests to prepare for. You also have other activities and commitments. You want to have a social life, too. Wouldn’t it be great if you could study smarter, not harder, earn good grades, and have a balanced life? Of course, it does. The primary goal of education is not to achieve straight A’s. But knowing how to learn is an important life skill.

Get ready because we’re about to delve into a treasure trove of study ideas and practices that will boost your performance. These tips for being a study ninja range from setting clear goals and staying organized to engaging in active learning.

Set Goals

Firstly, when you are staring at a large chunk of a syllabus that you need to complete, a sense of overwhelm is natural. It, therefore, helps to make clear goals and, as far as possible, chunk them down. A list of clear study goals helps break down the seemingly overwhelming material into doable segments. Each time you complete a particular goal, remember to tick it off. This will give you a sense of achievement and make you feel in control of the situation.

Understand the Study Cycle

It is essential to understand what an effective Study Cycle is for effective learning. The concept, first developed by Frank Christ, speaks of the following elements in the cycle:

  • Previewing
  • Attending class
  • Reviewing
  • Studying
  • Checking your understanding

Simply following all stages of the study cycle will save you from burning a lot of midnight oil when confronted with an exam or a deadline. Remember, consistency is critical.

 Effective Study Cycle

Space Out

We typically associate effective studying with long hours of study. The secret, however, lies in studying over short periods. Clearly, how long you study isn’t as relevant as how effective your study hours are. Short, spaced-out study hours not only ensure that you can focus and concentrate and thereby retain information, but they also go a long way toward helping keep procrastination at bay.

Use Pictures

Visual representation of material can go a long way in retention. The use of diagrams is, therefore, helpful. It also helps you to use the mapping method when it comes to taking class notes. It essentially involves a graphical representation of material wherein you need to record the central idea in the middle and follow it up with branches and sub-branches. This method works well in visually representing the lecture and is particularly helpful when the lecture is content-heavy.

It also helps to create flashcards to record the highlights of a chapter.

Cover the most complicated topics first

Human tendency is to put off subjects that we find particularly hard. What it does for a student, however, is create a sense of overwhelm, knowing that they have a challenging area to tackle. Instead, it works better to tackle the topics you find difficult, first. Ensure you keep the time of the day that you feel most active for these topics. It will help you focus on these topics, but getting through these tough topics first will allow you to get through the rest of the syllabus without any anxiety.

Study actively

It always helps to study actively and frequently self-test to gauge your understanding of the material. Frequent practice tests will help you identify areas on which you need to focus. Active studying, however, isn’t just about taking practice exams. It begins right from the way you take notes and then read around those topics to deepen your understanding of the subject.

What also helps retention is learning the same information in various ways, as it is known to stimulate different parts of the brain. For instance, for a specific topic, you could read your class notes, watch a video around it, create a mind map, undertake practice problems, and more.

Illustration showing an open book with educational icons above it

Teach what you learn

Peer teaching can go a long way in reinforcing the concepts that you have learned. Teaching others reinforces learning and can become an actual test of whether you have understood the material. When you can solve all the doubts of your peers related to the topic, you can be sure that your learning of the subject is complete. They can also go a long way in pointing out the gaps of knowledge that may exist for you and that you could subsequently fill.

Do not multitask

Even though multitasking is projected as the order of the day today, multitasking can make you less productive. In studying, particularly, it will help to focus on learning while you are at it. During this time, it will help to keep your phone in focus mode so you aren’t distracted.

To Sum Up

Besides the above tips, remember to prioritize self-care. Get enough rest, eat well, stay hydrated, and give yourself regular breaks. Above all, ensure you have a positive attitude towards learning.

At Pragyanam, one of the best CBSE schools in Gurgaon, our focus is on holistic learning and the growth of our students. Our aim is to pique their curiosity so that they can remain learners for life.

Here’s to learning and success!

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July 2024