When you’re preparing for a big exam, it’s important not only to study, but to study well. The more effective you are at studying, the better you’ll perform and the less time you’ll need to spend with your nose in your books. But willpower isn’t the only tool in your toolbox. Here are five brain hacks psychology tells us will make your study time more potent.
1) Take Breaks at Regular Intervals
You may think you need to power through a marathon study session while you’re preparing for a big exam. However, ExamTime points out that after about an hour and a half of studying, your brain can no longer absorb information. Plan to take a quick walk or grab a bite to eat about every hour.
2) Use Fonts to Control Your Attention
It’s happened to all of us: for the last 20 minutes, you’ve been reading a long boring document, and your brain just DOES NOT WANT to absorb the information. You have to read and reread each paragraph multiple times and you still don’t feel like you’re really engaging with what’s being said. Strangely enough, Kaplan University suggests changing fonts. If you have the ability to change the fonts on the text you’re studying, use a more difficult font to read. This will disable your ability to skim and skip information, forcing your brain to work hard and focus more on the material.
3) Study Out Loud
Read information out loud. Hearing, speaking and seeing the content of your notes or textbooks will reinforce the information through three senses instead of just one. By engaging a larger percentage of your brain, you’ll be using multiple information processing centers, which multiplies your chances of understanding and retaining what you’re studying. You’ll also be less tempted to let your mind wander when you read out loud.
4) Repeat and Review
The more you can review the same material in the same day the more likely you are to remember it. College Raptor reports that your working memory is more likely to retain information it encounters more than one time during the day. So, after you hear a lecture, review you notes and read the textbook. Reviewing in short segments daily is much more helpful for retaining information than long cram sessions right before an exam.
5) Draw What You’ve Learned
If you’re a visual learner, draw your notes. Making colorful maps with doodles and pictures will help you remember key concepts. You can also draw diagrams or pictures of important concepts. Artfully recopying your notes will help the information stick.
Use Your Brain’s Mechanics to Your Advantage
Instead of fighting how your brain works naturally, embrace it. Recognize the strengths and weaknesses inherent to how you process information and strategize to maximize your performance.
More About Mr. Test Prep’s Menlo Park SAT Test Prep Services
Since 1997, Mr. Test Prep has run the #1 Menlo Park SAT Prep program. By combining the benefits of private SAT instruction with the strengths of a group testing environment, Mr. Test Prep offers the best of both worlds: one-on-one attention, experienced academic counseling, group testing and a personal bond. By hosting this in a semi-group environment, Mr. Test Prep prepares his students for a real-world test experience. High school students who use his Menlo Park SAT Prep services will be equipped with the tools they need to succeed in the highly competitive world of standardized testing.