I love study!
How often do you hear that?
Not a lot, I guess!
Young ones expect to remember just by reading over notes or listening to the teacher telling them what to do.
But the truth is this:
Getting facts into the brain is a skill that needs practice.
There are two clear steps.
One: Understand what is being read or heard by asking questions, thinking of details and connecting the new information in as many ways as possible to what is already known
Two: Making an effort to recall those new facts three or four times (an hour later, a day later, three days later, then a week later).
Cramming for exams – trying to absorb pages and pages of information at the last minute – occasionally allows a few students to ‘fluke’ a pass. But the knowledge doesn’t stay because it has not been processed into the long-term memory. There isn’t much point in that, is there?
Here are a few tips worth sharing.
1. Change where you study from time to time. The brain loves variation and changing where you are will inspire your brain to make new associations.
2. Take breaks. The brain responds to movement and exercise promotes the flow of oxygen and other nutrients.
3. Include time in your schedule to review and recall information studied earlier. This ensures that the memory traces to that information are strong.
4. Talk about new learning to others. Explaining a concept reveals any gaps and stimulates the brain to activate the connections you have made.
5. Plan to revise across the time available. E.g. For a test a week away, plan two study periods at least one to two days apart, with a final review the day before. For a test a month away, plan to study in one-week intervals.
6. Sleep is vital. The brain processes what it has learned while you are asleep so plan to ensure that you get at least 6 to 7 hours a night.
And don’t forget that studying something new is a GREAT way to build new brain connections, no matter what age you are.
We’d love to hear your best tips for study, too. Please leave a comment below or email us to tell us how YOU study.