How to study smarter, not longer


For many people, studying means pouring yourself into your textbooks and notes for hours and hours only to end up stressed, exhausted, and with not much progress made.

The first step to studying smarter is to figure out how you learn. Everybody is different and one person’s method may not be as effective for another.

Here we have listed down some tips on how to study smarter – which can be more time efficient, more effective, and reduces stress.

Write it down

Writing something down by hand increases memory retention as well as understanding.

The act of writing was found to have cognitive benefits because writing letters – as opposed to typing down letters – activates more regions in the brain, telling it to process the information more deeply. It prompts you to think about what you are writing down and therefore helps you retain information more effectively.

Use mnemonics

The use of mnemonics is a memory technique to help retain and recall information easily by associating new information with rhymes or rhythms. This memory-enhancing strategy uses visual or auditory clues and helps your brain better encode and recall important information.

One example is ROY G. BIV for the colours of the rainbow.

Avoid multi-tasking

Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking does not improve efficiency, rather, research indicate that it negatively affects your results.

Focus on one task or subject at a time and avoid distractions such as social media, responding to texts, cooking while studying, etc. This increases the amount of time needed to learn material and decreases the quality of the learning.

Quiz yourself or have others quiz you

Testing yourself allows you to get a better understanding on what information you have successfully retained and what you need to study more.

Taking a quiz forces your brain to retrieve data – which aids retention. It also enhances long-term retention more effectively than spending the equivalent amount of time repeatedly reading the information.

Read it out loud

Reading out loud and hearing yourself speak helps your brain store information as a long-term memory.

The dual act of speaking and hearing makes a word or statement more distinct in long-term memory and hence has a beneficial impact on memory.

Take breaks

Studies have found that including breaks to your study routine can improve your focus and attention thus helping you retain information more effectively.

It is important that the activities done during said break allows you to return refreshed and focused – such as stretching, light exercise, running a quick errand. Avoid napping, huge meals, and junk foods as these things can hinder your ability to stay attentive and concentrate.

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