Surely it has happened to all of you that during the exam period, and after several hours studying, your brain says: “Enough!”. You have reached your top, and however much you continue studying you will not memorize or learn anything. Therefore, it is time to take a break and discover how to study smarter not harder?
We tend to have the mistaken belief that by being several hours studying, without resting, we will learn much more. Well, you can learn a lot and study less: the key is to use the time in your favor and have the different tools that I will provide below. This will help you be more effective in your study.
How to study smarter not harder?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has found myself in the previous situation and who, to maximize the results of his study, has searched for some video on YouTube to learn better and in less time. Well, I want to tell you that doing a little search for that social media, I found a video that I found very interesting, but that, unfortunately, was too long (at least I thought that when I saw it).
The video (which I leave at the end of the text) is very productive. In the recording appears a professor of psychology at Pierce College in Los Angeles (United States), Dr. Marty Lobdell, who for more than 50 minutes holds a conference in which he gives several tips to study less and be more productive in the study. But so that you do not have to visualize the entire audiovisual content, and for those who do not speak English (which I know that many of you cost), I have taken the trouble to write this article and extract the most important ideas, which will surely be useful.
7 tips to study smarter
When we learn new material, it can be overwhelming just thinking about everything we have to digest (mentally speaking) and the time we have to spend sinking our elbows. To avoid unproductive hours, do not miss the following lines.
1. The study in fragmented sessions
Studying in fragmented sessions means that you must study by blocks of time. If for example, you study for 3 hours, you will be more productive if each “x” time stops. It is better to study 2 hours with breaks than 3 hours in a row without stopping. Professor Lobdell explains that a recent study concluded that the average time we need most people before starting to have learning problems is about 25-30 minutes. Therefore, to study better you have to do small study sessions and then rest for 5 minutes.
At the time of taking a break, it is necessary to do some fun activity or away from the studio. In addition, the expert also recommends giving a prize once the daily study session has ended, for example, going to the cinema. Positive reinforcement increases the study habit.
2. Having a specific corner destined for the study
Having a specific area for the study refers to having a place where you only study. That is, you do not eat, you do not watch television, you do not play the console, etc. It also means that you study there, not in bed or on the couch (except in the library). This is positive because it helps to be more focused and, in addition, allows you to leave that study space during the break. It is about having a place and an ideal environment to be more productive studying.
3. Study actively and know the difference between recognition and memory
Dr. Lobdell explains the difference between recognition and remembrance. Recognition requires a stimulus that elicits the response, and that stimulus may not be present in an examination. The memory has to do with learning concepts rather than data. A word can be the word arm, however, a concept can be the fact of knowing how the arm works, for example, mechanically. Studying actively allows you to memorize concepts and, therefore, favors memory, which will always be better than learning data.
4. Take good notes
Find a good way to take notes to be useful to you, and review them from time to time. If when you finish the class you realize that there is something in the notes that you have taken that you do not understand at all, ask a classmate (and even the teacher) about the subject. Having the notes up to date greatly facilitates further study and understanding of what you want to learn, in addition to reducing study time.
5. Be prepared to teach what you have learned
You must be prepared to teach what you have learned to another person because it shows if you understand what you have studied or not. You can write a summary to know if you have understood it or make it appear that you explain it to someone. This will facilitate the memory and help you to detect the aspects that you do not master.
6. Read the texts effectively
The professor advises that to read the texts effectively, we use the SQ3R method, which allows us to retain the information more efficiently. But what is SQ3R method? Well, this method is based on the following sections.
- Before reading, inspect the text: it refers to examining what you are going to read before entering to delve into the content. Look at the title, the summaries of the chapter, the reminder tables, etc.
- Ask questions while you are inspecting.
- Read actively: answer the questions posed previously, analyze the boxes, answer the questions posed by the text, etc.
- Recite what you have read. For example, taking later notes.
- Review, but continuously.
Many times we know the concept perfectly but it is hard for us to remember the data. For example, we can know the concept of afferent and efferent neurons, but we get confused when remembering which one is which.