Ways to Improve Your Learning and Study Skills
Studying is something everyone knows they have to do in order to succeed in school. What you might not know is how to study effectively. You may have different strategies that work for you, or maybe you are here to learn some new ones, but whether you are trying to improve your skills or learn new ones, you came to the right place. Here are some tips to help you study and remember information better.
- Writing by Hand:
The benefits of writing with a pen on paper can help improve your memory, creativity, and lower your stress. Since the act of writing activates parts of your brain that increases your comprehension, taking handwritten notes in class will help you understand more of the material. Writing notes will also help you focus and be more attentive in class which will lead to deeper thinking to keep your brain sharp.
- Reading material out loud helps you remember better:
Sometimes if you get distracted easily while reading a novel your teachers might have told you to read it out loud, and they were right. Reading out loud to yourself has been proven to be beneficial to your memory since you are both saying and hearing what you are reading. By doing both of these at the same time, your brain has multiple ways to remember the information and it will more likely be stored in your long-term memory.
- Taking study breaks helps you refocus:
The hardest part about studying is when you lose focus and then all your motivation to keep working is gone. Study breaks help your brain relax for a short amount of time before continuing, so you shouldn’t wait until your brain is exhausted to take a break. If you wait too long for a break, you won’t want to start studying again since you’ve overworked yourself already.
Setting timers for your study time and break time before getting into the groove of studying can be beneficial to your studying. These timers will be your signal to start and stop your breaks so that you can stay on task and not lose all your motivation once you take a break. Depending on how long you study, your breaks can be as short as 5-10 minutes every hour, or they could be around 30 minutes if you worked through multiple assignments without any breaks for a couple of hours.
Check out this article for more info on taking study breaks!
How and when to take study breaks for optimal learning | Brainscape Academy
- Study before bed:
The best time to study is right before you go to sleep. By doing this, the information you just studied will then be “moved” into your long-term memory when you sleep. This is a process of the brain called consolidation which happens when you sleep, so information studied before sleep will be retained a lot more than info studied at other times in the day. You still need to get a good amount of sleep each night, so trying to stay up all night to study for an exam might have a different result than you wanted.
- Good night’s rest:
Not getting enough sleep has many negative effects on the body and your memory is one of them. This can lead to lower grades and poor performance in school. Making sure you get enough sleep (roughly 9 to 9 ¼ hours) will not only help you feel refreshed but will also help you perform better in school and be able to stay focused in class.
Check out this article for more info on the benefits of sleep and studying!
Scientists Say Studying Before Bedtime is Best – Chronobiology.com
Overall, how you study can affect how much information you retain. Try to incorporate these tips into your study sessions, and remember to use techniques that work best for you since there is no “correct” way to study, just your own preferences and approach to it.
This article was developed by Sarah Dietrich, an Illinois State University student working as an Intern for the Always Unstoppable Campaign.
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