How to Study More Effectively (Better Results in Less Time)

Too often I see people ask how they can study longer hours during the day or survive on less sleep. The idea of working for longer is a relic of the Industrial Era when we all worked on a conveyer belt.

These days it’s far more important to improve your focus and not just the time you can invest. If I’m focused I’m going to get more done in an hour than someone who sits at a desk for 4 hours daydreaming and half paying attention.

And the funny thing is if you can manage your time and study more effectively you’ll have better results and a lot more free time to boot. So how do you make it happen?

Studying is not about how long you spend looking at a book or a computer screen.

What you get done is far more important than how long you study for. If you’re efficient with your studying techniques you can get more done in 2 hours than in 20. So before anything else take an hour or two to improve your studying ability and you’ll avoid wasting a lot of time. Better studying results in less work? Too good to pass up.

One of the easiest ways to do this is brushing up on your memory and improving your ability to learn faster. You know who’s a master at this kind of thing? Chess players. I’m not suggesting you go and learn chess at the level of a grandmaster (unless you have a spare decade) but, luckily, a grandmaster has an audiobook ‘Unlimited Memory’ — which you can download for free with Amazon’s Audible.

It’s about 2.5 hours long but, since it’s an audiobook, you can listen when you go to bed or something. I guarantee it’ll change the way you study and even if you cancel Amazon lets you keep the entire audiobook. You can download it here.

 

Luckily there’s a growing push behind the idea of studying more effectively. Keep in mind that getting 10 hours worth of your previous results in 4 hours doesn’t mean you should keep pushing towards 10 hours with the same level of intensity.

As much as we try and convince ourselves otherwise, our brains do need a rest and part of improving your effectiveness at studying is learning to understand your limits and give yourself enough rest.

There’s some great advice from Shruti on managing your study time which I think is definitely worth a read:

Studying effectively is a skill and we all should learn it in order to complete our goals.

Here are a few things that will help you to concentrate more on studies:

Taking notes: A note should cover all the key points of the chapter and should be neat and systematic. Taking notes is as necessary as revision because of two reasons: A) It will provide us a quick revision as we don’t have to go through the whole chapter. B) When we write notes, we remember better. It is scientifically proven that writing something is equivalent to reading it 7 times…

2. The pomodoro technique: This technique might seem very silly but it is not. In this technique, you have to divide your total time that you’ll need to do something in many parts. Suppose you have to study for 3 hours. Then divide it in 3 parts. So, after every 1 hour you’ll take a break of about 10–15 minutes. This not only relaxes your mind but also increases your concentration.

3. Frame questions for yourself: This is a very effective way to study for exams. As you frame the questions by yourself and answer it, you’ll be confident about yourself and also you will have enough practice to answer questions in the exam. Self-study cannot be complete without framing questions.

4. If you have a doubt about any topic, get it cleared: If the teacher is setting the question paper, then asking a doubt to the teacher is beneficial. As the teacher has set the Paper,he/she is more likely to reveal something about the questions to be asked in the exam.

5. A master Revision: This is all you need. Revision is indeed necessary because we forget about 80% of what we have studied in just 7 days. So,revision is a must. Therefore we must revise our notes: a)2 hours after studying something. b)next day after studying something.c)after 7 days and d)after a month.

6. Using flashcards: Flash cards help us to know whether or not we are thorough with any topic. Using flashcards is very simple : just cut some equal small pieces of paper and write the name of a hard topic on it. After studying read the topic on the flash card and try to explain the topic to yourself. This will make you thorough with the topic.

7. Start studying from day 1: If you don’t start studying from day 1, then you can’t think of studying efficiently and effectively. So always plan your study goals and follow them.

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