The way you study can impact how you learn. Bad habits will make it harder to internalize information and retain material. Good habits will not only help you perform well on test, but also help you learn. These three study habits are good habits that can help improve your learning skills.
Too often, students push off studying and wait until they have time. You may find that unless you make time, you won’t have time. Cramming before a test is not ideal, but it is what will happen if you don’t make a schedule for studying. Carve out a few minutes everyday, or a few hours every week to devote to studying. Write it down, create a reminder, or do what you need to do to remember to stop and study for that scheduled time. PsychCentral points out that you will be more likely to learn and retain more information if you spend shorter amounts of time over a longer period studying rather than cramming in an extended study session over the course of a day or two.
2) Question Everything
The deeper you go with the material, the more likely you are to learn it. It is ok to constantly ask why or how. Ask your questions and find the answers. Try explaining your questions and answers to a friend, parent or sibling. Engage the material, look for questions and answers, and find new angles and connections. This will help you have a deeper understanding and help you perform well on exams.
3) Handwrite Notes
Put away your computer or tablet and write and rewrite your notes by hand. A study cited by NPR found that students who wrote out their notes by hand had to use more brain power to synthesize material. Because hand writing is slower than typing, notes cannot be taken verbatim. Instead, notetakers must choose main points, important concepts, and make significant connections as they write. This engages the brain more and helps you listen more attentively than simply typing notes word for word.
Studying can be passive or active. You can simply read notes, look at flashcards or read textbooks. This is passive and is not likely to help you internalize or synthesize material. Instead, take an active approach. Look for connections, explain concepts in a new way, make an attainable study schedule. When you actively engage the material on a regular basis, it will be easy to learn and memorize.