Studying in the best and effective manner is one of the surest ways of achieving academic success. However, this is an area most students fall short of. Mostly, students wait until exams are close before re-reading their notes and other course materials and end up stuffing the brain. To them, the brain is a recording device and must be able to playback everything stored on it during exams. However, the brain works differently from a recorder.
The best way to improve retention is not to passively review your materials, but by implementing strategies that ensure a consistent study pattern. Here are some effective ways to study better.
- Retrieval practice
Retrieval practice is one of the best ways to enhance retention. It enables you to remember whatever you learn at any time. In retrieval practice, you work towards remembering what you’ve learned more than once. You practice the same thing within a space of time and later try recalling whatever you’ve studied. You continue practicing until you are sure that you can easily remember. Retrieval practice has proven to be very effective in information retention.
- Choose a strategy
Everyone has something that works for them perfectly. Look out for a strategy that makes you study easily and recall without an effort. In choosing a strategy, you should consider how long you can learn a day, which time in the day is favorable for you, what learning method works best, and what tool makes learning enjoyable among others.
In choosing a study tool that improves information retention, you can choose from the various online flashcard programs like Chegg or Study Stack. Flashcards help in information retrieval, especially for single-word answers. However, in the case of long answers, including definitions, you need to write it down or type for practice.
- Test yourself
There are various ways to test your understanding of a topic or concept. The formal procedure is participating in school tests from teachers. Another way to test your ability is to set questions for yourself or rely on questions from textbooks. That aside, you can use online educational sites or apps. Testing yourself helps you to determine how well you have absorbed what you learned. Don’t be worried if you get some answers wrong, because it will help you to know your weakness and work on them. The only important thing here is for you not to relent on your effort.
- Join a study group
Some students prepare to study individually, however, the benefits of working in a group are unimaginable. Group studies allow students to share knowledge and help themselves. It requires that each student work on answers independently before bringing them on board for the group’s discussion. This allows for a greater perspective and brainstorming members. If a member has difficulty in understanding a topic or concept, other members with knowledge on the said subject are there to help.
- Take two or more subjects in a study session
Working on one particular thing for a long time creates boredom. According to researchers studying different courses in a single study session, “interleaving” has proven to be beneficial. For example, instead of spending about three hours studying psychology, it is best to spread that time to cover about two or three courses. Therefore, you can spend that three hours on psychology, biology, and chemistry. Interleaving helps a student to cover more topics in less space, hence, there is enough time for retention and information retrieving.
Studying for retrieval is very important and a necessity for academic success. The only problem is how to do it right for it to be effective. They can adapt the above five strategies or choose what works for you.