Enrolling on a course on a subject you’re passionate about is really exciting.
However, if there’s one thing that can curb your enthusiasm, it’s feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of course content you’re expected to absorb and retain.
Help is at hand – we’ve put together a list of 10 super study hacks that will help you facilitate total recall for key facts and say hasta la vista to forgetfulness.
1. Sticky notes
Plastering high footfall parts of your home with sticky notes containing key course facts can be extremely effective. If you stick them on doors and cupboards, they’ll be one of the first things you see as you carry out everyday tasks such as brushing your teeth, cooking and sorting recyclables.
2. Say it out loud
A Canadian academic memory study found that the dual task of reading and speaking a text out loud is a more effective way to remember information than reading silently. So the next time you’re struggling to remember a complex theory, try saying it out loud – the extra coursework and exam marks will compensate for the funny looks you get from friends, fellow commuters or anyone else who happens to be in the vicinity.
3. Teach it
When you’re studying the same material repeatedly, it can be hard to tell if you’re really taking it in. However, by teaching someone else what you’ve been reading or watching, you’ll be forced to recall information and identify any gaps in your knowledge. And if none of your friends are willing to sit through your deep discussion of website analytics or project management, a class of teddy bears is a great alternative.
4. Mind maps
Mind maps aren’t just for primary school – they’re a creative and logical note-taking method suitable for any level of learning by association because they enable you to make powerful visual connections between concepts.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a good night’s sleep helps you process and retain information. So instead of pulling an all-nighter to try and cram all of your study material into your head, get enough shut-eye and wake up refreshed and energised to learn.
6. Study dreams
A study by Swiss researchers in Bern found that our brains can encode new information and store it for the long-term whilst sleeping. So try recording yourself reading your course material and replay it while you’re snoozing, or pop on a teaching video when you go to bed, lie back and let the audio teach you while you sleep.
Meditation trains your mind to be more clear and receptive, so meditating prior to studying will help clear any mental clutter so that you’re able to begin your studies with the calm and focused mindset required for a productive learning session.
8. Regular breaks
While it can be tempting to stay glued to your desk for the duration of your study session, it can actually be counter-productive. In fact, research by the National Institute of Health found that our brains can process the memories of skills we’ve just practiced more quickly when we take a short rest – so factor in regular study breaks to stay sharp.
Numerous studies have found that listening to classical tracks can help enhance brain activity and improve your memory. So some Mozart or Beethoven should be music to your ears and tone up your memory muscles.
9. Group study
Group study enables you to work through course content with fellow coursemates and see things from other perspectives, both of which which can really enhance your study experience. Plus, you’re perhaps more likely to remember a useful piece of information if it comes from a peer rather than a textbook. You can arrange group study sessions/discussions on Canvas, our online learning management system.
It’s evident that there are plenty of proactive ways to give your memory a much-needed boost – the next time you experience brain-freeze, try one of these ten hacks to get your little grey cells back into gear.
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