Do you aim to perform better in school, high school, or university by studying less? I know it’s difficult to grasp this concept of studying. We learn how to cram a book, but never try to understand how our brain learns the information Maybe all your learning methods prove to be the wrong way. What if you are studying the wrong way?
In this article, we will give you a deep insight into how to become a better learner which will sharpen your memory, laser eye focus on the studies, and automatically your performance in the test will be impressive and shocking.
It doesn’t matter if you are already a bright student, as you will learn new techniques of learning, even video games can boost your learning( Stay with me, I will tell you how). And if you are a weak student who struggles with learning and memorizing things, Grab a cup of coffee or tea to learn some new and scientifically proven methods to increase your learning efficiency.
Let’s dig deep into the process. of learning.
Take a break and why it’s necessary:
Are you one of those students who stick to studying for 6- 7 hours straight? Stop right now, I will tell you why.
So there are two types of memory; Working memory and long-term memory. Working memory is short-term memory. Your brain can take only a limited piece of information at a certain time. Think of it as an octopus having only three arms. It differs in person, some have four, while others have five arms. If you try to study right before the exam day, you will try to cram the information in one day, and you are loading your brain with a lot of information,that’s practically not possible.
The long term memory has information that is permanently stored in your brain, you have no issue recalling that information.
When you take breaks while studying you shift your attention from focused to diffuse modes. Diffuse mode is a relaxing mode, you can utilize this time to make coffee or tea, read a fiction book, watch movies, or even run. GO back and forth between focused mode and diffuse mode to learn effectively and perform better in your test.
Let me tell you a secret here, in diffuse mode, your brain is trying to build new neural connections and working on what you learned in a focused mode in the background and you don’t even know about it.
For learning effectively, you can use the Pomodoro technique. It’s a technique where you focus on your learning for 25 minutes and take a break for 5 minutes. In this way, you can memorize the information better. Great students who topped the exams have used this technique to memorize the information better.
Focus and concentration:
Focus is very important and most students struggle, focusing on their studies. Our brain has a lot of ideas and thoughts popping in our minds, every second. Make sure to avoid all kinds of distractions while studying. Find a calm place where no one can find you. When you try multitasking, it doesn’t help. I described in the earlier section that your brain can hold a limited amount of information at a time. Even if you think that you are learning information in a room full of noise, your attentional octopus(working memory) is holding that task with one arm. The part of your brain is involved in that background task.
So no distraction, no noise, and no multitasking. You think you are learning better by chatting with a friend while having a look at your book in between, this is a scientifically wrong method. You may be able to remember that information, but it will be for a short duration. Use productive breaks for chatting with a friend, making tea, taking shower, or running.
Great learners are successful because when they study, they study with full focus and when they take a break, they take a break. And please do yourself a favor and don’t use your phone during breaks. Break where you do a physical activity can help your brain to make new neural connections. Using a phone can activate certain happy hormones that can make your five-minute break into a two hours break. And you will make no real progress.
Take smart study notes:
Notes making is not about writing down every line that is in the book in the form of headlines and using different colored markers. Neurologists and scientists introduced a smart note-taking method. Notes should be easy and concise. So that it’s easy for you to revise them before the exam day.
Let me tell you how to take notes. Divide your page into two sections with a straight vertical line. On the left side, write down the names of important ideas and concepts of the topic. On the right side, describe the details of particular ideas and points. The notes will now look more organized, concise, and to the point. Now you can test yourself by placing your hand by hiding the right side( detailed one) and test yourself. Other students who prefer not to make any kind of study notes can still perform better in their studies by taking notes from their friends.
Concept mapping is another smart way of taking notes. In this technique, you interlink one thing with another by making a flowsheet. So you can make either both kinds of study notes or stick to one method.
Are you the one who rereads the same page again and again instead of exercising your brain to recall and test the information? It’s difficult! right? The minute you close the book, nothing comes to mind and you are unable to memorize what you just learned. You find yourself stuck and wonder why you can’t remember anything.
Active recalling and active learning is the best way to learn and remember information. When you read one page of the book, make notes, revise the key ideas, and take your time to remember the information(It’s completely fine if you are a slow learner). Now close the book and test yourself, what you remember. You can even write the information on paper. Writing what you have learned can help you retain the information seven times better. Only testing yourself and active recalling can make your studies one step ahead. You can also teach this information(Feynman technique) to family friends, brothers, friends, or a friend to test you. The purpose is to exercise your brain, as it will give a signal to your brain that information is important and you need to remember it.
Any of the study tips don’t matter if you don’t have a healthy sleep cycle. Researches have shown that when you sleep, your brain starts making new neurons, and clipping those neurons that are weak. When you try to consume all information in one day, it does not give enough time to your brain to work on the neurons to build strong connections. It will be hard for your working memory to help you on the exam day, and three are higher chances that you will feel like the information is slipping from your mind, it will be hard for you to pull the information from your brain.
If you study one hour daily in ten days, that is way better than studying ten hours in one day. Help your brain make a new and stronger neural connection so that it does not wipe off all the weak connections. Cramming all the information in one day will not give enough time to move the information from working or temporary memory into long-term memory. So it’s obligatory for you to have adequate sleep before the exam day, even if you see your friend studying till 3 am. Have consistent sleep of 7-8 hours instead of chunks.
LEARN SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT:
You don’t waste your time anywhere other than studies when you are a medical or engineering student. Many people have the mindset that students who dream to be the top student should not take part in games, sports, or art competitions. Learning something new which doesn’t relate to your studies in any way is a kind of exercise to your brain. It can activate new neurons in your brain. Learning something new that practically has no link with your studies, will make you smarter, sharper, and eager. Activities like learning piano, learning mandarin(Chinese), jogging, physical exercise, painting, drawing, journaling, gardening, or anything you can create.
If you are a student of biology, learn something about coding or if you are an engineering student, take painting classes. The students who practice art and creativity perform better than those who are only limited to books.
Videogames and exercise improve your focus:
According to research, exercise helps our brain to retain information effectively. Any type of physical activity that can put your heart muscles into work like running or jogging, doing push-ups will help you to focus and learn better. A protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) is only released when you involve yourself in physical exercise or workout.
Video games, especially spatial games which require a lot of focus, can help to improve your concentration, improve your memorization. It can help to improve your focus while studying. So you know even playing video games is not as destructive as your parents think. It can boost your memorization. But beware of addictive games. They are not healthy in any way. Games like chess, elevate, lumosity, and Unblock me are easy solutions for those who are easily distracted while studying.
These are some of the learning tips that can change the game of your learning. Use these tips in your learning strategy and get ready to see the wonder. You can perform better by studying less with a laser-sharp focus.
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