5 Best Study Techniques

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Active Recall

Active recall is the method of remembering material. It is an efficient way of moving information from short-term to long-term memory so that you can easily remember it again when you need it, such as for a test or exam. So the method goes that if you want to remember a fact, don’t just read it, don’t just underline or highlight it, try to recall it without looking it up in your notes. If you can successfully remember it, you have used active recall. If not, learn it and then try again.

Frequently asking yourself a question and then challenging your brain to remember the answer is an interactive exercise which moves knowledge from your short-term to long-term memory.

One way to easily exercise this technique is using flashcards or an app like Anki. "Anki" is the Japanese word for "memorization"!  It’s a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it's a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn.

Anyone who needs to remember things in their daily life can benefit from Anki.

I’ve used Anki in various situations in the past. For example, I find it is an excellent tool when you are learning a new language. I would put various phrases and conjugations into it and then I would practice them using spaced repetition that Anki provides to actively recall them.


Study Schedule

Whenever I crushed exams in a given term, it was always because I was sticking to a clear and organized study schedule. There are many ways you can go about planning yours out, and yours will certainly look different than mine but here is how I do it.

  • First, I figure out when all of the tests, assessments, and exams are during the semester. This lays out a clear picture when you look at your calendar.

  • Next, you need to figure out what are all of the steps you need to take in order to do well in these assessments.

  • Now you can schedule these steps in your calendar. Perfect! You are ready to get started. The sooner you start executing your small tasks the better! This way you will make sure you are ready when you need to be.

Take Breaks

To do well in your class you will need to do your coursework, your projects, and essays. The best way to make sure you are staying productive is to apply as a study technique that suits you best. When I study I listen to some relaxing music that helps me focus, and I use the Pomodoro method. There are a lot of resources and apps out there to help you apply this technique. The Pomodoro method makes you focus for 25 minutes with 5 or 15-minute breaks in between the productive chunks of time. It is one of the simplest methods but it is very effective and I use it all the time, even when I'm writing a blog post like this one!

To make time management more fun, check out an app like Forest. It helps you stay focused by planting trees in your virtual garden. It adds a fun new aspect to your study sessions.

Study every day

Staying consistent is incredibly important. Once you get the hang of it, studying and achieving pretty much anything will become much easier. As hard as it might be not to procrastinate, staying on top of your goals has to be the priority. Your study schedule will help you figure out how much time you need to spend on your daily study sessions. I find that if you start right at the beginning of the semester or school year, revising for just one hour a day turns out to be enough.

The notes you make in class are a crucial tool, both in helping you to stay on top of things as you progress through school and for the purpose of revision when the time comes for exams. If you work on them properly, your notes will ultimately be far more valuable than any textbook or revision guide, however fancy: they’ll contain your own personal insights and ways of understanding topics. They’ll be tailor-made for you, by you.

- Stephanie Allen, Oxford Royale Academy

If you are able to stay disciplined you will save yourself from a lot of stress during your exam month. You will be able to sleep better and focus on other things, like your social life!

Revision

Being disciplined and learning how to study is a step that every successful student had to take at some point. We all know how hard it is to stay focused with all of the distractions around us. It's super easy to take the path of least resistance.

This is perfectly fine for the ordinary person, but if you want to be extraordinary you need to do extraordinary things. Being prepared for the right moment is the best thing you can do for yourself. In studying terms this means looking at the lecture material prior to the class.

It is again one of those things that seem like extra work but will, in reality, help you tremendously when the exams come. After the class, make sure to look at your notes and summarize. This way you are making sure that the knowledge you picked up is solidified.