It is a new decade and with it comes new resolutions and development milestones. You are probably fretting over how you will go back to school and acquire another degree before you hit 40, with everything getting complicated due to the tight schedules you have at work. Maybe 2020 is your last year in college and you are freaking out at the thought of sitting your final exams within the next 10 months.
Whichever your current situation, just reassure yourself that with the right learning techniques, you are going to pull this off. It is possible to immerse yourself deep into a learning experience, get the most out of it, and come out on the other end of the learning curve sufficiently prepared to succeed in your forthcoming challenge. This post intends to share and explain 10 scientifically proven ways to study better in 2020.
Trying to cram an entire topic within a day will in most cases lead to frustrations, depression, and many other mental problems that come with fatigue and sleeplessness. Let’s face it: It is not humanly possible to learn hundreds of new concepts in one sitting. If you want to remember most of the new information you learn, it is best to divide the information into small, digestible chunks and then familiarize yourself with one chunk at a time. You will not feel overwhelmed.
Revise studied content earlier
You will study better and more effectively if you revise every new concept immediately after learning it, as opposed to revisiting it on the eve of the exam. Studies suggest that you stand a better chance of retaining new information when you review new information closer to the day you learned it than closer to the day when you are needed to put that information to use, say in an exam or interview room.
Test your memory by rewriting what you’ve learned
Without prior planning, take out a blank sheet of paper and a pen and try to write short notes about a new topic you studied without referring to an external source. Ensure that everything you write on that paper comes from your internal memory. That act of retrieving information from your brain helps you remember more of it and in case you’ve forgotten important bits, you are able to note the areas that you need to rework on before the D-day.
Exercise before settling down to study
Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day improves your brain function and overall health. It improves your heart rate and feeds your brain with important nutrients that consequently increases your attention rate, memory retention rate, and amps your problem-solving abilities. Make a habit of running, biking, or walking for at least 30 minutes before you sit down to study.
Self-assessment is key
If you are in the coaching business, for example, you need to self-assess yourself regularly to not only know whether your career is on the right course but to also know whether or not you are equipped with the core coaching competencies. You don’t have to be studying for an exam. It could be that you just read up on how to have strong verbal communication skills or how to listen and give creative solutions for different clients’ problems. The new knowledge will stick if you assess your performance continuously and in a wide range of scenarios.
Sleep well after studying
A good night’s sleep is necessary for a healthy brain. We do most of our learning during the day, but it is when we sleep that our memories stabilize in regards to the new information we consume during the day. Studies say that being awake for more than 12 hours after learning something new increases your chances of forgetting most of the content you learned.
Taking breaks is of paramount importance
Overworking and stressing your brain just because you have an exam tomorrow will do your memory more damage than good. The effectiveness of your cognitive abilities is tied to the breaks you take within an hour of intense study.
Learn with the aim of teaching
If you know that whatever you learn today will help you become an authoritative source of information tomorrow, your brain is able to organize information in a more logical and memorable way.
Don’t just read content over and over again
Reading the same content for a million times leads to confusion. It messes with your ability to remember and process new information. Occasionally, close your eyes and try to remember what you read an hour ago instead of rushing back to read your notes again.
Prepare for what is to come
Knowing what you are up against helps you prepare sufficiently and to study for the relevant content only. It is easier to retrieve important information in an exam room if you focused all your mental resources to studying for that one test, as opposed to when you studied non-examinable content within the main topic.
Thanks to science, you now have 10 tips that will help you get the most of your study time. Change your learning techniques today and adopt these smarter and better techniques. 2020 is definitely your year of academic and career breakthrough.
Written by Lisa Mottins, University of Florida– Psychologist, Cyclist and Writer
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