1. Study in manageable blocks of time.
One of the most common misconceptions is that you need to have long study sessions to cover a vast amount of material. This is actually a hindrance to your brain’s ability to retain information.
2. Create a consistent study schedule.
In order to help your brain prepare to retain information, try setting up specific times during the week for designated studying. If you have a specific study schedule, your brain will recognize the pattern and become more receptive to new information during these study times.
3. Make connections between your various study topics.
If you only memorize a few concepts but can connect those concepts to your other fields of study, that will help you to access information that you were previously unable to memorize.
4. Use flashcards rather than just rereading your notes.
A common study habit for many is to repeatedly reread their notes and highlight the key points. However, studies show that this is a generally ineffective habit. A better practice is to use flashcards. Why is this? When you continually reread things, you are not challenging your brain to truly understand the concepts.
5. Set specific goals for each study session.
An easy way to ensure that your shorter study sessions remain concise and effective is to have a specific study goal. Instead of overloading your brain with a large variety of information, it is better to focus on learning a specific concept. This helps to improve retention and confidence in that particular subject.
6. Explain the concepts you’re learning out loud.
Another way to better understand the topics you’re studying is to teach them to others. Explaining a concept aloud will strengthen your understanding of that concept and your ability to recall the details.
7. Test yourself with practice questions.
If you are able to find a practice test about the specific concept or test you are studying for, be sure to take advantage of it. Practice tests are a great tool for highlighting which concepts you need to focus on further. Taking practice tests also inspires confidence in the subject of testing.
8. Find study environments where you can be productive.
In order to help with neural retention, it is beneficial to find your “special” study place. Try to find a quiet space where you can be alone and focus on studying without distractions.
9. Don’t listen to distracting music while you study.
While music can inspire a sense of calm or motivation, it can also be distracting. Although certain types of classical music have been shown to assist your brain with information retention, upbeat music with lyrics can make it more difficult to focus.
10. Put your cell phone away while you study.
Of all the distractions students face while trying to study, cell phones are likely the most significant one. While text messages and social media are great forms of communication, they have no place in the study environment.