How to study efficiently

Studying

Most people know that studying is a very important part of learning something. But most people don’t know the best ways to study. Doing this will cause you to spend way longer than you need to on studying and you still won’t do as well as someone who studies efficiently.

I made this post in order to teach you how to study effectively with a few tips and tricks to help save you time and effort.

Find somewhere to study

You should create a dedicated study area. The reason for this is that our environment largely determines our behavior. If you are used to playing video games or hanging out with friends in a certain spot then that will cause you to lose focus very easily.

How long should you study for?

That isn’t really a question that is easy to answer, it will be different for every class. But I can tell you that you should study in chunked sessions, the reason for this is that the average student can only really pay attention for 25-30 minute. You should use the Pomodoro technique. It says that you should study for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break to do whatever you want. You should use a timer on your phone because it will make you more motivated to use that time wisely.

What should you be studying?

In order to figure out what to study, you should learn how to study smart. One way to do this is to ask yourself “what am I trying to learn?”

Your answer should be one of 2 things it is either facts or concepts. concepts are more important to learn first. They are also easier to learn. This is because facts are harder to tie actual meaning to. This also means facts are also harder to remember, I will be giving tips on how to memorize facts next. But for concepts you should try to make a Mind Map of it. A mind map is like a tree, you start with one main idea and branch off into the smaller sub-topics. You can read my full post on Mind Mapping Here.

How to memorize facts the right way

When most people try to learn facts for a test they use lots of repetition and they try to force their brain to remember it. That way of learning is a complete waste of time. Not only does it take more time then it needs to but you are probably going to forget half of what you learned by the next day.

I have found two different methods for learning facts that I believe are the best. The first method is using an SRS that stands for systematic repetition software. One of the software’s I use for this is called Anki. Anki is great because it is free to use on your computer (they also have a mobile app but that costs $25). Anki is similar to flashcards but when you learn a fact on Anki it shows you it again just as you are about to forget it. Doing this helps your brain build strong mental connections to these facts.

Another great way to learn facts is to use pneumonics and the memory palace. There are many different pneumonics, but I think using image association is the best. One way to think about image associations are just interacting images. you first try to visualize the thing you’re trying to study then you want to create a ridiculous picture or story in your head to connect it to something you already know. The more emotionally evocative or weird it is, the more easily you’re going to be able to recall that piece of information. You can go even further with this method like I did and create your own Memory Palace. I wrote a post on how to make a memory palace you can see it here.

How to use your textbook.

Textbooks can be useful or a waste of time depending on how you use them. If you read the textbook word for word, then odds are that you are learning much more then you need to be and this overload of information will make it harder for you to remember the things that actually matter.

A better way to read is using the SQ3R Method, which stands for survey, question, read, recite, and review. I think using this method step by step is overkill but I do think it is important to try it and see which parts of it work best for you. the survey portion of this is what I use when I study. This basically means that you quickly look over a chapter before you read it, I like to skip to the back and look at the review section  so I know what things I should be learning when I actually read. This also helps you realize you can skip certain parts of the chapter.

Highlighting

Most students know not to highlight entire sections of the book, because if you do that, you’re basically highlighting nothing at all. But if you highlight really important terms, and then you go back after your first read and highlight session, and study them, and just simply recognize the thing you highlighted before, and say, “Oh, I know it,” then you’re getting into this dangerous territory where you don’t know whether you’re actually recalling something, or simply recognizing it.

The human brain is very good at recognizing things. We can recognize people’s faces, even if we haven’t seen them in a long time. But the difference between recognition and recollection is that recognition requires an initial trigger, a cue. If you’re in a test, there is no trigger or cue. You have to actually pull it forth from your memory. To test and make sure that you’re actually recalling something, instead of just recognizing it, you need to quiz yourself.

As I said before you can easily quiz yourself on Anki or you can also use Quizlet.

Teach what you learn

The best way to actually learn something is to teach it.

The reason for this is that planning on teaching is a great form of active studying because you are forcing your brain to recall all the information so you can basically summarize it for somebody. Another reason is that you’re really making sure that you understand the subject. By teaching someone you will have to go through the subject step by step and doing this will help you realize what you don’t know yourself.

So offer to help your friends learn things that they don’t know. Not only will you be helping out a friend, you will also be helping yourself too.

Self learning

Sometimes you wind up getting a teacher that doesn’t actually teach well or you can’t understand them. This has happened to me many times. It required me to research the subjects on my own and figure out the best resources for online learning.

Through my experiences, almost every class I ever needed help in I found help all on the same website. That website is Khan Academy. Khan Academy was so helpful to me that I might write a full post about it in the future. It has every single subject you need to learn in high school and most classes you need in college too. Each class has videos for everything you need to learn in the class. If college degrees didn’t matter I would have gotten my education from this website and The best part is that Khan Academy is completely free.

Hopefully all of this information will help you somehow whether it be for school or work. If it did help you I would really appreciate it if you can share this on your social media outlet.