Do you feel like you are studying all the time, but not learning anything? Maybe your study habits aren’t conducive to learning and memorizing material. Quit sabotaging your study time by eliminating these bad habits.
Toss Out Your Highlighter
Reading through your textbooks and notes and highlighting the main points won’t help you internalize the material. A study evaluating the effectiveness of the ten most common study methods found that highlighting isn’t helpful for learning. Put away your highlighter and get out a notebook. Anytime you find an essential piece of information, write it down. You can make a mind map or outline connecting key concepts. Synthesizing the material in some way as you encounter it will help you learn and remember the material.
Studying the night before may help you remember a few facts, but it is unlikely that you will learn and retain important concepts. Because curriculum tends to build on material you’ve already learned, you will need to relearn material every time you study. Alternatively, you should review your notes each time you learn a new concept. Spending a few minutes reviewing new material everyday will be significantly more helpful than cramming.
Get Rid of Distractions
Turn off the TV, music, phone notifications and anything else that might demand your attention. You need 100% of your focus to learn and remember material. Background distractions may keep you from remembering concepts and facts you’ve studied. Ultimately, distractions will cost you precious time. Reward yourself with screen time after a quality, focused study session.
Don’t Just Look
The more ways you experience the material you are studying, the more you will remember. The most common way to study is to simply look at material. Instead of just reading over notes, read them out loud, try to teach them to a friend, write out important facts, draw a picture, or you could even watch a documentary or listen to a radio show on the subject. Try to interact with and experience the material in deeper ways than just looking at it.
If you aren’t learning and memorizing material even though you have been studying, you may want to evaluate your study methods. Get rid of habits that aren’t helpful and replace them with habits that allow you to engage with important concepts.
Michael Romano has been offering his San Jose ACT SAT test prep tutoring services for almost two decades. He’s seen thousands of kids and helped with just about every kind of standardized testing anxiety a student could have. This has taught him that increased scores come down to confidence. Yes, you have to understand the material, but confidence is—more often than not—the #1 cause of a student’s trouble with testing. Bearing that in mind, he has created an SAT tutoring program that builds confidence by desensitizing his students to the conditions of the test, while providing them with targeted instruction on both the academic content of the exam and the tips and tricks that make it so much easier.