How to study better and faster

As this blog is not just about administration but also about learning, this time I am going to leave you with tips and methods that you can apply in your study time.

This article will be divided into tips that you will be able to apply in a general way and methods that you will be able to carry out depending on the subject of study. Let's start

Organize the study

Before opening any book you will have to organize yourself with the subject, which means asking yourself: "What do I have to learn?" And "How am I going to do it?". For this I recommend that you obtain the following information:

  • Academic Calendar: schedules, beginning and end of the course, date of partial and final exams.
  • Information on the subjects: you must find out if the content of the subject is theoretical or rather practical, the complexity of it and the demands of the teachers.

I recommend that you set up a calendar with the dates of exams and practical work to be delivered, which also includes personal events, such as a birthday, since they are events that will take time away from studying.

Place of study

You must have a space that is exclusively for study. Your desk should be tidy and before you start, check to have everything you need at your fingertips. If it is at home, try to be away from television in a quiet environment and devoid of distractions. Yes, I know it is not easy but the idea is that you identify those factors that are harmful and minimize or eliminate them.

Some tips to achieve this: in case you don't live, you can only talk to your family or the people you live with so they know and understand that at certain times you have to study. Another option is to take advantage of those quieter hours such as early morning or night. Going to the library or another similar place is another possibility.

Study Sessions

When we begin to study our attention span is high but as the minutes pass the performance goes down. That is why it is recommended to study for periods of 25 or 30 minutes maximum, since from that moment our attention and concentration begin to decrease. When pausing, our ability to retain information returns to an optimal level. In this way, you will implement the Pomodoro Technique, the method used to improve the administration of time spent on an activity.

The technique consists of dividing the time into intervals of 25 minutes of activity, called pomodoros, followed by 5 minutes of rest, with longer breaks every four pomodoros.

There are many mobile applications that fulfill this function, they will even allow you to silence all notifications while you study.

Study routines

You must try at what time you do more to study: in the morning, before going to work or going to work, in the afternoon or at night. Once this is done, try to always keep that schedule, since your body and your mind will know that you have to study.

Another key point is to set study objectives, but not measured in hours but in quantity of sheets or material to learn. If, for example, you say: "Today I am going to study four hours", it is most likely that you actually study half the time, hopefully. However, if you say, "Today I am going to study six sheets", you will have a measurable result: the number of sheets. The good thing about all this is that you can add certain rewards. For example: "If I learn these 6 sheets before 06:00 p.m. I can go out with my friends"; motivating you to study better and faster.

Study techniques

To memorize in the long term, I will discuss some techniques with scientific support that will help you remember concepts and facts more effectively.

Spaced repetition

Spaced repetition, also known as spaced review, is a memorial learning technique that consists of learning a certain material by allowing more and more time to pass between one training session and the next.

This technique is used to memorize content and practice skills over time, rather than intensively for a short period of time. The space between workouts increases progressively as learning solidifies in order to use the effect of spaced memory, which we will discuss later.

This spacing of learning allows a greater maintenance of the memory: every time the memorization exercises are practiced, a new review of the information that is being carried out is carried out. Even intensive learning tends to be maintained to a lesser extent if regular practices are not carried out later.

Spaced repetition is especially useful when trying to learn by heart and permanently a large number of different elements. Examples of this may be the mathematical formulas or vocabulary of a foreign language.

Perform self-assessments

A 2011 research published in the journal Science analyzed 3 methods commonly chosen to study: memorize and repeat, draw diagrams and schemes, and make assessments.

To verify effectiveness, 200 students were followed up, which they divided into 3 groups, each with a different study method. The researchers found that the 3rd is the most effective, and improves the volume of learning by up to 50%

Conceptual maps

Using concept maps represents a great advantage since you can reduce a large number of sheets in an outline. It is dynamic when reviewing, avoiding possible distractions that are generated by having too much text.

The steps to make a concept map are:

  1. Identify the topic and the focus question that will help you develop your map.
  2. Find enough information about the topic.
  3. Highlight the main ideas.
  4. Identify the concepts that you consider most important and necessary to explain your idea, summarizing them with keywords.
  5. Begin to raise the most important concepts at the top of the sheet and the least important at the bottom.
  6. You can relate concepts from different segments of the map through cross links and their respective link word.
  7. When you finish, read the work from beginning to end so that you make sure that all relationships are correct and that the focus question was answered.
  8. Make the corrections you deem appropriate.

According to a Harvard study, other methods such as handwriting and alternating study subjects can improve your performance.

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