When learning at a university or college, you will need to study on your own initiative. This can be a challenge sometimes, and life can hinder your ability to retain study information.
Get Hands-On with Your Subject
For some subjects, it’s best to learn by doing. You can read a thousand books about something, but you’ll never really understand it unless you’re there and a part of it. One great example is the medical field. But this also applies to other subjects, like getting up close to art, sticking your head under the hood of a car, or going on geography field trips. In addition, a hands-on approach is more attractive to the brain, and the information is more likely to be stored in long-term memory as an experience than as pure data, which you can remember right away.
Retain Study Information by Taking Breaks
You might want to try to study as much as you can in one sitting. But because of how your brain works, this isn’t a good way to learn. Taking a break is not the same as giving up. But you should not study all at once. Instead, you should study in short bursts more than once. When you read hard for about 40 minutes, your brain can start to drift off. Also, this can make it hard to remember what you’ve learned. The Pomodoro method says that the best way to study is in 25-minute chunks with short breaks in between.
Think About What You Have Learned
If you read for a long time and then do something else, you will forget most of what you just read. Instead, you should think about and talk about what you’ve learned. This moves the information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, where it will be easier for you to understand and remember. This process, called “elaboration,” helps you remember what you read, listened to, or watched by giving it more meaning. It also helps you understand more about things that are hard to grasp.
Remove Procrastination Distractions
A lot of students end up cramming because they put things off earlier in the study period. Of course, some do it more often than others. But people always put things off, no matter their age, gender, or even IQ. Here are a few of the most common things that get in the way:
- Incoming emails that have no relevance to your study.
- Overheard phone conversations likely to stir up drama or a conversation.
- Social media platforms that cause you to lose track of time.
- Listening to music that hinders your study pattern and causes you to stop.
- Always saying yes when someone asks you to do something fun.
Everyone has to deal with these things. But you can keep your mind on the task at hand if you stay organised, set clear study times, and give yourself time to rest and recover. This will help you avoid putting things off and make sure you get the most out of your study time.
Get Some Sleep After Studying
Right after you learn something or do something, it’s still fresh in your mind and easy to remember. As time goes on and you do, read, and learn more, memories start to fade. Also, new memories are easily lost because they are fragile. There are things we can do to make the consolidation process a lot better. One of them is sleep, which might come as a surprise to you. One study found that students remembered almost 20% more information if they slept in three hours or less of studying than if they waited up to ten hours.
Group Data to Retain Study Information
You can sometimes learn a lot in one study session if you read a lot. And it can be hard to remember this when working with hard information like numbers, facts, and figures. But you can help yourself remember about seven pieces of information at a time. So, for information that is longer than this, you can group it into sets that look like years to make it easier to remember. For example, the string of numbers 1,9,4,2,5,6,2,5,2,4,1,4 is turned into 1942, 5625, 2414. When information is broken down in this way, it is much easier to remember.
Get a Friend to Test You
Testing is a good way to make sure you remember and, more importantly, understand what you have learned. This can be done with the help of friends. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that being involved in the making of study materials is a good way to make sure they stick in your brain. Sometimes study materials provide questions in your textbooks. But you can also make up some questions yourself. Even just reading text with the goal of making up questions based on what you’ve read is helpful to better understand and retain information.
It’s easier than you think to retain study information with some minor adjustments. Try getting hands-on with your subject, remove all distractions and have a friend test your knowledge.