By Zoe Taylor
Studying can get tedious, it can get repetitive and sometimes it can get difficult. That’s why we’ve assembled some great ‘study hacks’ that you can use every day to make your learning experience easier and more interesting.
Highlighting your notes in different colours, writing key points on coloured post-it notes or writing/typing your notes in coloured fonts not only makes your study notes more visually appealing and interesting, it helps you remember them more easily as well. We are significantly better at recalling text and images if they are not just black and white. Psychologises believe that this is because “colour has a stronger appeal to the senses, prompting a better connection to parts of the brain involved with memory.” (source)
Get a little arty
As well as using colour, create drawings, mind maps and other visual cues to help you remember the information you’re reading, writing or listening to. This will make your study creative and fun, and like the use of colour create a better connection from the information to your memory.
Talk to yourself
While some say it’s a sign of madness, talking to yourself (or more accurately reading your notes out loud) will help you retain information 50% more than you will by simply reading it in your head.
Create a trail of treats
Of you’re feeling a little unmotivated while you’re studying, try laying out a trail of jelly beans, gummy bears (or whatever your preferred treat is) on your notes, so that every time you read a certain paragraph, you reach a treat and can eat it! Rewards are a really effective motivator.
Study just before you go to sleep
If you like to read just before you go to sleep, try reading your online text books or study notes. The brain strengthens new information and memories while we sleep, so chances are that any new information your ingest just before you doze off is going to stay put!
Create cue cards and either quiz yourself or get someone else to quiz you. It’s a quick and easy way to discover what you need to work on and what you already know well. They’re simple to make, too – all you need are some small pieces of card, or you can even just cut a sheet of paper into small squares and write the question on one side and the answer on the other side. The simple act of creating the cards will also help you absorb the information, as writing notes out is a great memory retainer as well. Make them colourful for that extra bit of retention!
Become the teacher
Switch from student mode to teacher mode for a second, and explain what you’ve learnt to others. It’s important that you don’t quote your notes word for word, because it’s not until you understand something enough to explain it in your own words that you have truly learnt it. While you’re at it, why not create a PowerPoint or KeyNote presentation for them? You can write the information out (in your own words) and implant it further into your brain while you’re at it! Don’t worry, you’re allowed to check what you’ve written down in the presentation after you’ve created it!
Choose your fonts wisely
Did you know that Times New Roman is the fastest font to read? If you type up your notes in this font, or even plain old Arial, you’ll be speeding through your notes like never before! And you’ll probably notice less back-tracking in your reading as well.
Use your nose
It’s a commonly known fact that your sense of smell is the sense most strongly linked to memory. So why not use that to your advantage? Spray a new, unfamiliar scent the next time you study and it’s highly likely to jog your memory on the topic the next time you smell it!
Meditation has an extremely positive effect on study in a number of ways:
(Infographic courtesy of edutopia.org)
Give all of these techniques a try and discover which ones work best for you. That way you’ll be able to keep using them to help you remember everything you’re learning!
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