How to study effectively is a question that pops up often. Today, students face a lot of pressure to not just learn but to excel in their studies. The ascension of online education amidst the coronavirus pandemic has brought about a paradigm shift in the field of education. In this evolving scenario, it is important for students to stick to the basics and scientifically proven methods of learning. For instance, we all have heard about some make-believe stories about toppers who supposedly studied for sixteen to eighteen hours every day.
In fact, parents, teachers, and even students sadly believe that the quality and quantity of learning depends upon the number of hours a student puts in and consequently many students view a huge amount of time spent sitting around with study material as a matter of pride. This and many other such myths have been debunked by scientific research in pedagogy. In this article, we present to you some scientific as well as practical tips that will unequivocally help students in learning more effectively.
1.Follow a spaced-out study routine
Rome was not built in a day, and neither is attaining mastery over a subject possible in said time. Studying for ten hours a day before the exam can prove catastrophic while spacing out the same amount of dedicated time over a period of say twenty days could be much more fruitful. This situation can be explained through a leaky bucket analogy. Our memory works like water in a bucket that has a small leak. The bucket can’t hold any more water while it is full and if you try to refill it when it is full, the excess water will simply overflow and not pass through the bucket. But, if you wait for some time after the bucket gets filled up, then space is freed up due to drainage from the leak and water can be refilled up to the brim again. Similarly, the brain can’t store too much information in one sitting, but after some time, old memories keep on fading, and space is created for new memories which can be used to relearn the concept that you forgot. When it comes to how to study effectively, one should bear in mind that this is the most rewarding way of studying. Also, one must avoid pulling off an all-nighter on the examination eve, as sleep deprivation and overburdening the brain markedly hampers every facet of brain function including logical thinking and processing speed which is counter-productive to your goal of performing well at exams and extremely unhealthy at the same time.
2.Revise by Teaching Others
A popular learning technique called the Feynman Technique, named after its creator Richard Feynman, a legendary Nobel prize-winning physicist, states that to learn and retain a concept with utter clarity, one must teach it or pretend to teach it to a novice. You can teach it to your parents, siblings, or even on various study groups on different platforms. Feynman used this technique himself and according to him, it proved immensely beneficial to him. It basically involves four simple steps to learn anything effectively. This is yet another important point to be kept in mind while taking about how to study effectively. First off choose a concept you want to learn. Then teach it to someone else and identify your learning gaps. If you get stuck, revisit the study material and lastly simplify your explanation and create analogies just like a teacher does to explain a tough concept simply, but in doing so, the teacher attains an even better understanding and a greater level of mastery over the course content.
To test yourself regularly, along with teaching others is the only reliable indicator of the effectiveness of your learning and identifying areas that need polishing. Therefore, ensure that you test yourself regularly by giving mock tests.
4.Incorporate regular mini-breaks in your study session-
As previously discussed, it is humanly impossible to study efficiently for sixteen to eighteen hours daily for anyone. Even, if anyone does it, it is still a waste of time as our brains simply can’t function for that amount of time non-stop. A scientifically proven and practical approach is the 50-10 rule or the 25-5 rule which is basically studying in sessions fifty minutes or twenty-five minutes study and ten or five minutes of break. This routine can prove immensely useful for any student.
There are umpteen articles on how to study effectively. The point is to understand these tips and put them in to practice. Teachers can try these in their online classrooms. These are some well-researched, tried, and tested tips that are very practical as well and will definitely help students in studying more effectively and excelling in their classes.