As students, we’re always trying to find the best ways to invest our time. As they say: work smarter, not harder.
The integration of new technologies in our day to day life has changed the way our brain works, our attention span and our capability of memorization, but it has also allowed us to adapt to all those changes.
So whether you are in college or in school, here are some psychological tricks and innovative study techniques to help you with your final exams:
Join an online study group
Finding people to keep you accountable has always worked and now it’s as easy as opening your laptop. Go online and find a study group, commit to staying connected for a few hours and turn on your camera. This way you’ll have to stay focused.
The Feynman Technique
A method of learning developed by Richard Feynman, a Nobel prize-winning physicist. It’s as easy as taking the subject you’re trying to learn and trying to explain it out loud as if you were explaining it to a 12-year-old. Bonus points if you can actually find around a 12-year-old or someone that would work just as well, otherwise just imagine it. If you don’t think your explanation was good enough, refine it and simplify it until you understand every concept to the core.
Listen to your notes
When time is short we all know how stressful it can be trying to read as fast as you can and realizing you haven’t retained any of the information. If you’re trying to save some time, download an outloud reader to listen to your notes while doing other tasks. This way you can revise while washing the dishes or walking your dog. In case you don’t have your notes on a digital document you can download a scanner app that will turn a quick photo into a digital document like word or pdf.
Workout before studying
If you’re struggling trying to find some concentration try working out, it can be a 10 or 20-minute workout at home. Exercise is proven to improve cognitive performance and memory, plus it will help you get in a better mood and reduce your stress. Try it next time you’re in a rut.
Find some audiovisual content
After hours reading, it can be hard to retain information, that’s why we should change it up once in a while. On youtube you can find an explanation of any subject you could imagine, this way instead of trying to focus on reading you can relax while absorbing all the knowledge in a more enjoyable way.
Create time intervals
It can be hard to start a task when you know you’ll have to spend a lot of time doing it. If this is your case try setting your own time intervals in which you are going to study, without any distraction, and the time intervals in which you are going to allow yourself to relax. The time intervals should be short, set a timer, and the relaxing intervals should be spent doing something active like going for a walk. This way you won’t get tempted to lay in bed longer than you should. It’s similar to the Pomodoro technique, but you get to choose your own times.
Read with a different accent
While you read, enunciate the words out loud and change your pronunciation as if you were a foreigner. You can try british, scottish, whatever accent you want. You’ll focus for a second on the words, retaining them a lot easier and it’s a fun way to keep studying when you cannot find the motivation.
Everytime you encounter a word or a sentence that ‘s hard to memorize, just draw little details that pop up in your head next to the words you’re studying. Are you trying to learn a famous poet’s impossible last name? Just draw whatever comes to mind when reading it, associate that thing with him, it’ll be a lot easier to remember. And if you are studying in a digital format you can always use emojis.