6 Ways to Study Smarter and Learn Fast
Time- the one thing that no one can get enough of, especially if you are a student, isn’t it? There is so much stuff to do, so many assignments to complete and projects to finish, and what about your social life? You need some time off from the rut as well, right? Long story short, as a student, you are always running late and have no time to spare. Throw in an exam, and the whole world seems to crumble down! If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Studying for exams wreaks havoc on most students. Just visit a campus during the exam week, there is chaos everywhere. Most students are stressed out, tired and scared. But the question is, must prepare for an exam be that stressful? Is there a way to study smarter?
Well, as it turns out, there sure is!
There are proven scientific ways and strategies that can help you perform better in an exam. More importantly, these strategies can help you retain the knowledge in a way that goes beyond scoring well in an exam. The smarter you study, the better understanding of the topic you have.
So, what are these strategies and how can you implement them in your routine to get on top of your studies? Let’s have a look, shall we?
A multimodal approach helps you study smarter
Don’t get intimidated by the big words here! Put in the simplest terms, a multimodal studying technique uses more than one media to supply the information that you learn. For example, in a multimodal approach, you will read about a concept and then watch a video or a demonstration based on the same concept. The theory is, more ways you study something, the better you remember it.
Now, there is some solid science behind this concept as well. Different media stimulate different parts of your brain. So, in theory, when you study the same concept in various ways, more of your brain areas are activated, and you learn more, study smarter!
So, how can you implement this technique to study for your exams? Well, here are some ways you can implement the multimodal method.
- Read your notes and the textbook
- Search and watch some online videos on the topic
- Look for some other media such as charts or graphics involving the concept
- Discuss what you know with your friends
- Make sure you are solving sample problems on the concept from different sources
Spice up your studying
Many students make the mistake of taking up a couple of subjects and studying them exclusively for days. Reading the same things over and over again can get boring very quickly. According to a ton of research on the topic, studying multiple subjects every day can help students to distinguish between the concepts better.
For instance, if you are preparing for four subjects over a week, it is better to study all four of them each day rather than studying each subject exclusively for a couple of days.
Now, the reason for this is quite simple, if you think about it. When you study the same subject continuously for an extended time, subtleties between the concepts can easily get lost. It can get difficult to distinguish between familiar concepts. On the other hand, if you take a break with some different subjects, you stand a better chance of distinguishing between the topics. In other words, you study smarter!
Make a schedule to study and stick to it
One of the worst things that you can do while studying for an exam is cram. It is a scientific fact that if you try to cram a lot of stuff right before an exam, you are bound to get confused. Besides, cramming is worst for long-term retention.
Periodic review of what you have learned helps you to retain more knowledge. Make sure that you are reviewing the material you learned every few days or weeks. Although it may sound a lot of work, periodic reviewing can get increasingly easy as the time passes by and you start to retain more. Sure, reviewing what you studied can be time-consuming at first, but by the time you are on your third review, you can get it done in the fraction of the time. Using this technique, you can study smarter for better retention.
Also, make sure that you have a schedule planned for the study/review session and stick to the schedule religiously. The amount of review you need depends on the complexity of the subject matter and your level of understanding, but make sure that you review the entire material at least twice before writing the exam.
Keep distractions at bay
Multi-tasking while studying is a bad idea. Several scientific studies are proving that multitasking can lead to loss of productivity and increase distraction. Focusing on one thing at a time helps you to get it done more efficiently. Avoid watching TV, listening to music or chatting while studying.
The more distracted you are, the worst you will assimilate the knowledge you are trying so hard to learn. You may think that keeping the TV on while you study won’t distract you, but it will, and you will lose focus.
Here are some things that can help you reduce distractions and get back on track while you study.
- Keep your phone away. Make sure you can’t get to it in the middle of the study session to quickly check your Twitter feed or something like that
- If possible, turn off internet access to your computer and log off from all messaging platforms
- As far as possible, don’t open a browser window that is not directly related to your studies
- Keep your study area clutter free
Test your knowledge and understanding of the subjects frequently
Testing frequently can be a great way to review your course material. Testing yourself also prepares you for the questions that you will see in your exam. There is a ton of scientific data that proves that the more you test yourself, the better you perform in the exams. Study smarter by testing your knowledge periodically.
Periodic quizzing yourself or your friends on a topic can increase the retention a lot. There are a ton of self-tests, quizzes and questionnaires online. Search for them and practice answering them every few weeks to test your retention and knowledge. The strategy has helped many students enrolled in Diploma in Accounting Courses in Malaysia a lot, and it will help you as well.
Establish mental connections
One of the best things to improve retention and understanding is to establish mental connections. Whenever you learn a new concept, make sure that you relate it to something you already know. Connecting two seemingly different topics can be difficult initially, but you can find a connection if you try a bit.
For instance, if you are trying to learn about the immune system, you can visualize the different types of cells as soldiers with different ranks fighting to protect their country.
If you establish successful connections in your brain, there is a good chance that you can remember them in the exam. As soon as you link a concept to something that you know, you become comfortable with it and remember it for a long time.
Learning for exams can be intimidating, it takes a lot of patience and practice. That said, some of the tips and techniques described above can make it a bit easier. You study smarter and retain more.
If you take one thing from this article, then remember this:
Studying for the exam is going to take time, it is going to take dedication, and it is going to be difficult. But with the right attitude, mindset and technique, studying can be made more relaxed and more importantly fun!
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