The habit of studying from images and texts, beyond being a way of growing intellectually, has obvious negative aspects .
The clearest of these is that on many occasions it is done out of obligation, which means that in addition to the work involved in learning a content, one must manage the time and anxiety produced by this psychological burden. There are also other drawbacks, such as the risk of seeing one’s health deteriorate by sitting too long or straining one’s eyes, and even having difficulty sleeping.
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To study well, it is better to know some psychological tricks
The conclusion from this is that studying is good, yes, but it is better to do it efficiently . Saving us avoidable efforts and dispensing with study habits and strategies that only lead to fatigue and frustration. Furthermore, the habit of studying can occupy many hours a week, a month or even throughout one’s life, and that is why it is worth asking ourselves am I studying in the best possible way?
To help you evaluate your study methods, you can read a series of tips on how to study efficiently to optimise the time and effort you devote to your learning .
However, when following these study tips, you should assume the principle that studying better is not studying longer. That’s why some of these keys are not so much about studying itself, but rather about how to better distribute your time.
Tips to study better in your daily life
Let’s learn a few simple tips and techniques to improve our study skills. If you apply them to your routine during the course, it is highly likely that your academic grades will go up significantly .
1. Cut the study time into small pieces
Research on attention processes and study performance shows that it is better to control the time spent studying by setting a rather low time limit for each session . Ideally, study time should not exceed 30 minutes, since we find it much easier to assimilate information that comes to us in short, repeated bursts than in a single long, tedious one.
The point is to keep the brain at 100% at all times (by the way, keeping sleep at bay is sacred, and for that nothing like a good night’s sleep).
2. Create a study routine
Proposing a study schedule and following it does not serve only to offer an image of maturity and neatness, since it has notable effects on study performance . Approaching learning in a disorganized way is a way to end up studying late at night, when sleep and tiredness take their toll on our ability to concentrate. In addition, getting used to a schedule will make it easier for us not to skip study times and allow us to give them the time they deserve.
In that sense, the same one that works for gymnasium exercises also works for memorizing and assimilating information. Don’t leave it all for tomorrow!
3. Create summary notes on individual sheets
Don’t rely too much on the technique of underlining text. Underlining does not help to memorize the text if it is not reviewed several times, and anyway sticking to memorizing the sentences that have a line under them keeps us anchored to the way the information is distributed in the original text.
On the other hand, making outlines and small summaries on pieces of paper forces us to reformulate the information we have read and, moreover, makes it easier to create combinations of notes that are different from those in the text but that help us to understand better what we are reading, since we can put the pieces of paper together or separate them in any way we want to assimilate the information in the desired order.
4. Keep distractions away
It may seem obvious, but it never hurts to remember it because these distractions can take the most unsuspected forms and it is good to identify them . Your blacklist should include Facebook, your mobile phone and the television, but you can include other elements of your daily life and do your best to isolate yourself from all of them during your study time (remember that they are short, so… it’s not too much to ask!).
Doing this before you start studying will help you not to fall into temptation once you have started.
5. Prepare your study material first
Having everything you need ready will keep you from getting up to go get things and therefore distract you. Moreover, associating this set of objects to the study will make it easier for you to enter into the dynamic of studying … although you won’t know exactly why it happens!
So pay attention to organizing the books and tools you need before you sit down to poke your elbows. If you have everything perfectly organized, it will be easier for you to have all the resources at hand and be more efficient during your study hours.
6. Propose (at least) one unit of study for each session
Set a topic to study and study it. Organizing related information by staying on a topic or category of any kind is much easier than studying scattered and messy pieces of information. To do this it is good that you read the lesson once to create a mind map of the location of the topics in the text and then focus on each of them .
7. Flee from literal memorization
Make the information contained in the texts your own. Relate it to episodes in your life, rephrase it in your own words and use examples you know . That way you will achieve the meaningful learning you need, much more resistant to the passage of time than that based on memorizing data that doesn’t make much sense.
8. Flee from linear memory
Think, above all, of similarities and differences between concepts , pieces of information that in the texts you have studied do not appear very connected but that could be in certain exam questions, for example.
9. Practice constantly
If you have the possibility, evaluate yourself with exams or questionnaires about the subject you are studying . This may seem like a waste of time if you think that time well spent can only be spent “soaking up” the information to be studied, but it is not at all, as it will help you to detect failures and also serve to measure your progress and therefore keep your motivation high, which will also have a positive impact on your performance.
10. Explain the lesson to someone else
This is literal. Explaining in your own words what you have learned is possibly the most valuable study advice, as it will bring you two great benefits. On the one hand, rephrasing the lesson is a way of mentally reviewing what you have studied , so the time you spend on this will help you to better assimilate what you have studied before.
On the other hand, it will help you to evaluate yourself, detect points that you thought you had learned but that at key moments give you problems, and offer you a fairly accurate picture of your progress.