Of the hundreds of various ways to study, what are the best and most efficient techniques? Finding what study technique works best may take significant trial and error. It may be a single strategy or a combination. The following methods are most commonly recommended and have been deemed some of the most effective.
Exercising Before Studying
Exercise has been proven to increase energy levels; any physical activity, whether done for a short or long duration, can get the heart rate pumping and blood flowing. With exercise, one’s creativity and mental energy improve. The blood that flows to the brain when activity is done enhances concentration and focus while studying. Exercise has also been shown to strengthen memory. The area of our brain in charge of retaining information is directly related to the proteins that are being released into the brain from physical activity.
Chewing has been proven to improve the brain’s ability to grasp concepts and increase activity in parts of the brain related to memory. Like exercising, chewing increases heart rate without all the physical activity. This also means increased oxygen delivery to the brain. Anything that improves the delivery of transmitters to the brain is a cognitive enhancer to some degree.
Keep in note the next time you study for a quiz or exam: choose a flavor of gum and just start chewing it throughout the studying process. When it comes time to take the actual test make sure it is the same flavor of gum being chewed. This technique will improve concentration and help jog your memory during the actual exam.
The Feynman Technique
The Feynman Technique aids in the ability to develop a deeper understanding. This technique is known as one of the best ways to learn anything. It is broken down into 4 steps: 1) Choose a concept you want to learn. 2) Explain it to a 12-year-old. 3) Reflect, Refine, and simplify. 4) Organize and review. The whole idea of explaining it to a 12-year-old is to force yourself to simplify a complicated concept. Studying using the Feynman technique might make it much easier to understand and remember simplified concepts.
Active recall forces you to retrieve information from your brain, rather than the traditional way of trying to put information into the brain. It involves taking a topic you wish to learn, creating questions based on that topic, and then repeatedly testing yourself on those questions. It also makes you aware of the topics you don't understand and require additional attention. Due to this technique, it will be significantly easier to recall information.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique requires the following steps: Pick a task, study for a duration of 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break, then every 4 sets take a longer (15-30 minute) break. The Pomodoro technique promotes sustained concentration and staves off mental fatigue. If the task requires extended periods of focus, you can experiment with the length of study to break ratio.
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Owen, Michael. Osmosis Blog. “Active Recall: The Most Effective High-Yield Learning Technique”
Scroggs, Laura. Todoist. “The Pomodoro Technique”