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  • Writer's pictureVerina Salama

Study Smarter, Not Harder: 10 Helpful Studying Methods

As school is back in business, most students have to get back in the zone when it comes to studying and while there are plenty of ways that students can study throughout the year, not everyone can find a study method that works best for them. Whether it be the ways teachers explain things or the types of work they assign, some teachers might not make the materials click into their students’ minds because the way they teach isn’t suitable for all students. To combat these types of problems, here are some methods to try while studying!

 

Simplify Your Notes Many students mistakingly write their notes word for word and when looking back at them to study, you can’t understand half of what you wrote! A way to make notes easier to understand is to simplify them. Whether that be by searching up a simple definition/explanation or coming up with your own, simplifying notes can make studying quicker and can make the notes stick in your brain.


Association Studying terms you have to memorize can get very stressful, especially if there are a lot of them; a way you can remember them is through association. Connecting terms with keywords in their definitions is a quick and easy way to study many terms at once! You can also associate terms with personal examples, songs or references to remember them more easily. Draw it out Sometimes drawing a small picture or diagram will help the materials stick to your head. Even small drawings can help you remember what you need to learn! It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just something quick and simple to help you remember it.

Make flashcards

This method takes a little more time than others, but it works well for many students. You can write the term/question on one side and the definition or answer on the other side. Flashcards don’t have to only be physical; resources that allow you to make flashcards, like Quizlet, and educational game platforms: Kahoot, Quizzes, Blooket and Gimkit. These are all really good ways to study, whether you’re alone or in a group!


Draw it out

Sometimes drawing a small picture or diagram will help the materials stick to your head. Even small drawings can help you remember what you need to learn! It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just something quick and simple to help you remember it.


Watch it If your teachers don’t show videos relating to the materials, it can make understanding things harder, especially if there aren’t many examples they use while explaining. That’s why another way to study better is to look up videos! Videos for education made by many people worldwide are a great source of information and there are a variety of them so that you can find and watch what you’re looking for! Of course, YouTube is a great source of educational videos but many platforms specify in educational information. Study groups

Studying alone can cause your mind to wander off track and not get many things done so a great way to stay on track is to create or go to a study group! Studying with people can help you understand more because they can explain what you need help with or don’t understand and work it out until you get it. Being in a group can also help stay on track and have discussions that explain the material.

The Blurting Method

The blurting method is where you read over your notes and on a separate sheet of paper, you write down all the things you remember and then compare what you wrote to your notes. This method helps you think about what you read more to understand and retain the information. The more you use this method, the more you’ll be able to keep the information in your head.

Explain it to someone

When you try to read a lot of notes, you might not be able to understand it all that well so another great method to study is to try explaining the topic to someone who doesn’t know anything about it. Explaining it to someone else makes you think about it in depth and in a way that makes you understand as you make them understand too. If the person you’re explaining to asks questions while you explain, it helps you think more to try to answer all their questions and is a great way to review what you need!

Annotation

If you don’t like watching videos or doing extra things, annotation is an excellent choice when it comes to studying! Annotations are just the little things you add after the notes are taken like highlights, underlines and/or circled sections. This is a great way to make the important points visually stand out from the rest of the words. You can also use annotation with the other methods previously mentioned to help further your studying capabilities. Other tips and tricks!

While these aren’t necessarily studying techniques, here are some extra things you could do to enhance your studying experience: Listen to music - Music can help many people focus, it’s recommended to listen to music without words for minimal distraction, but songs with lyrics are just fine too! For individuals who find it difficult to concentrate while music is playing, white noise is a great option to stay focused without distracting your thinking. Chewing gum - While it might sound absurd, chewing gum has been proven to enhance focus and memory! Try chewing gum while studying and make sure to chew the same flavor while taking a quiz, test or exam to enhance your performance. Time management - Time management can help you be more organized in what you do. Give plenty of time to study and make sure to incorporate short breaks in between to improve your productivity. Environment - It may be hard to focus sometimes when there’s lots of movement and noise around you, so if possible, try to find a quiet area where you can study without getting distracted.

 

While studying may seem like a dreadful task, there are ways to make it easier and more enjoyable to make the time go by quicker. These methods, tips and tricks are only some of the many available so if they don’t suit you, try asking teachers or people close to you for advice on how to study better. Don’t forget that studying is important and going based on memory alone isn’t always helpful so just remember to study smarter, not harder!

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