How To Study Effectively For School Or College – Top 6 Science-Based Study Skills

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How to study effectively, using 6 essential strategies. If you’re a student, you’ve probably wondered what is the most effective way to study? That’s a smart question, because most people unfortunately waste their time with stuff that just isn’t effective. So I asked the cognitive psychologists over at The Learning Scientists for some tips. After all their research into the science of learning and absolute best practice study skills, here are their top six strategies to bring out your inner genius. The first strategy is called spaced practice.

To make the most from your studying don’t focus on the time you invest. Focus on the quality of your study session over the quantity you do. This is one of the key things we focus on and we absolutely think you can get twice the results in half the time. Make sure you grab the free audiobook Unlimited Memory by a chess grandmaster which will absolutely transform your results overnight if you apply the techniques.

5 hours of study crammed into one intensive session is not as good as that same 5 hours spread out over two weeks. You’ll learn more and get better results with the same amount of time or less. It’ll be less stressful than the panic of cramming, and because you’ll learn more you’ll also reduce the time you need to study in the future, because you won’t have to re learn the same information. Make a plan and schedule short study sessions into your calendar, this is not about marathon, intensive periods of study. Review information from each class, starting a day later. After you’ve covered the most recent class, go back and study important older information to keep it fresh. And don’t just re read your notes that’s ineffective. Use the other strategies in this video.

And leave 2 3 days between study sessions on the same subject, the key is consistent short study sessions over time. Switch between ideas during a single study session for a particular class, this is called interleaving. Don’t study one idea, topic or type of problem for too long. Switching will highlight and contrast the similarities or differences between topics or types of questions. If you’re doing problem solving, switching can help you choose the correct approach to solve a problem. This strategy will encourage you to make links between ideas as you switch between them.

You want your mind to be nimble and easily able to jump between ideas and know how they relate to each other. Make sure you study enough information to understand an idea before you switch, you’ll need to figure out what works best for you don’t spend an entire session on one topic, but don’t switch too often either. Try to make links between ideas as you move between them. And for your next study session, change the order you work through topics, because that will strengthen your understanding even more. Switching will probably feel harder than studying one topic for a long time, but remember, we want to use what’s most effective, not what’s easiest.

The next strategy is for when you have your textbook and notes in front of you. Ask yourself questions about how and why things work, and then find the answers in your class material. Explain and describe ideas with as many details as you can and connect the ideas to your daily life and experiences. This forces you to understand and explain what you’re learning, and connect it with what you already know. That helps you organize the new ideas and makes them easier to recall later. Creating ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions makes you think about how ideas are similar or different, and that improves your understanding. Start with your notes and textbook and make a list of the ideas you need to learn.

Go down the list and ask yourself questions about how these ideas work and why. Then go through your class material again and look for answers to your own questions. Make connections between different ideas and explain to yourself how they work together. The specific questions you ask and how you break down ideas depends on what you’re studying, it might be math, science, history or something else completely. Check out the description below this video for some examples.

Use specific, concrete examples. Relevant examples help demonstrate and explain ideas, which helps you to understand them better. Human memory hooks onto concrete information better than abstract information, so always look for real life examples you can relate to. For example ‘scarcity’ is an abstract idea. You can explain it as ‘the rarer something is, the higher its value will be’. But we’ve used abstract terms to explain an abstract idea. Not so helpful. So we use a specific example to illustrate the idea.

Think about a ticket scalper. If you purchase a ticket to a sports event at the start of the season, the ticket price is reasonable. But as the game day gets closer and the two teams are now at the top of the ladder, more people buy tickets. This scarcity drives up the cost of the tickets and the ticket scalper charges more for the tickets. That’s a concrete example of an abstract idea. You can collect examples from your teacher or professor, search your textbook or notes, and look out for examples in your daily life. Thinking of your own relevant examples is most helpful for your learning, but be careful to confirm with your teacher that your examples are accurate and relevant to the idea you’re learning.

Make the link between the idea and the example, and you’ll understand how the example applies. Combine verbal material with visuals. Doing this gives you two ways of understanding and remembering the information later on. Find visuals in your notes and textbook and examine how the words are describing what’s in the image. Then do it the other way around how does the image represent what’s described by the text? Look at the visuals and explain in your own words what they mean. Then take the words for your class materials and draw your own picture for them. Try to create different ways to represent the information, and start to use this strategy when you practice retrieving your knowledge later on. And just to clarify, this is not about learning styles.

A great deal of research has shown that assessing your learning style and matching your study approach to that style does not improve your learning. Just because you might prefer pictures doesn’t mean it’s the most effective way for you to learn. You learn best when you combine words and visuals. And finally, this is the single most valuable study skill to help you boost your performance, so it’s definitely worth mastering. Practice retrieving everything in your head you already know about a topic. Put away all your notes and textbooks and write down or sketch out everything you know right now.

Why? Because retrieving your knowledge like this reinforces what you’ve learned and makes it easier to remember later on. But also, improvement comes with practice. If you want to get better at recalling information in exams, then you should practice recalling information now, just like you practice any other skill. Plus it highlights what you don’t know and that’s where you should focus your study time. Makes sense, right? So what’s the best way to do this? Take as many practice tests as you possibly can, even if you have to make them up and swap with a friend. Or just start with a blank piece of paper and empty your brain, write out everything you know, draw sketches or concept maps linking all the ideas together.

Make sure you do this a while after you’ve learned something, so put away your notes this is not about reciting information you’ve just glanced at in your textbook. Once you’re finished, check what you’ve written against your class material. What did you get right or wrong, and what didn’t you recall at all. That’s perfect feedback and shows you where you need to get better. Now you know the six study strategies academic research says are the most effective, here’s a simple way to recall them for your next study session.

If you’d like some free downloadable posters about these 6 strategies to put on your wall, follow the link in the description below this video. Thanks for watching, bye!..


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  • If I don’t cram I forget things and get bored, which makes it even more painful to sit down and get new information into my brain.

  • I have a big problem. For example, I decide to study physics from 3AM to 5AM in desire that I will learn everything I planned, but it becomes much longer because I don’t understand what I read, then I’m searching on internet for better explanation, then write some notes etc. And instead duration of 2 hours I spend 5 or even 6 hours to learn and understand everything I need, and then I don’t have enough time for other 12 subjects. Everything would be much faster that I study by heart without understanding, but I want to understand everything I read. (Otherwise I am attending Cambridge IGCSE programme,7 subjects, and beside that I must to study other 6 subjects based on national curriculum).

  • I’m having my GCSEs this year. What’s the best way to study? Is it effective to finish one subject completely and then go for the next or should I study a different subject every day? For example on day 1 math, day 2 bio, day 3 physics, day 4, 5, 6, 7 and repeat weekly. Also, is 4-5 hours daily enough?

  • Hello , hopefully this comment would be read by the people that made this awesome video. I am studying to become a court reporter / stenographer . I write in short- hand and am looking to constantly build my dictionary with common phrases we use in court and in general. I also have to increase my speed until I reach 225 wpm . Ideas on how to study would greatly be appreciated .