5 Scientifically-Proven Tips on “How to Study More Effectively”
We’ve heard it all before: “do this” and you’ll do well in school or “do that” and you’ll improve your grades. But with so many claims, tips and other such information available out there, how do we know which one actually works?
In this article, we provide you with tips that – based on Scientific research or tests – were found to help you study more effectively and perform better in school.
1. LEARN HOW TO RELAX
Did you know that the more you are stressed out, the less effective your brain becomes in terms of storing or recollecting information?
According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, acute stress activates selective molecules called corticotropin, which releases hormones that disrupts the process by which the brain collects and stores memories. So, why not take a few deep, slow breaths before reviewing your notes? Or, perhaps, try closing your eyes for a few minutes in between your reading sessions. As the popular 80s band Frankie Goes to Hollywood said, “Relax!” Easier said than done? Watch this video here for tips on stress management.
Over the years, the direct relationship between exercising and improving one’s “brainpower” has been studied and proven.
In fact, in his recent study, Dr. Douglas B. McKeag of the Indiana University Medical Center said that “exercise tends to promote a more appropriate distribution of blood in the brain.” Also, exercise fuels the brain with oxygen and feeds it with neurotropins to increase the number of connections between neurons. What does these all mean? It simply means that exercise improves the blood flow in your brain which allows it to function better – especially in terms of processing information. It can also mean that “getting in shape” leads to getting “healthy” grades.
3. STEER AWAY FROM THE “CURVE OF FORGETTING”
In 1885, German Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, derived the hypothesis of the exponential nature of forgetting – which is, today, known by many as the “Curve of Forgetting.” What is it? Basically, it describes how we (or more specifically, the brain) retain or get rid of information.
In a study published by the University of Waterloo, the “Curve of Forgetting” provides evidence that:
- If you review any new information within the same day that you received it, you prevent forgetting around 80% of what you have just learned
- A week later, it only takes 5 minutes to “reactivate” the same material, and again raise the curve
- By day 30, your brain will only need 2-4 minutes to give you the feedback, “yes, I know that…”
Simply put, what this study suggests is that the best way to remember a lesson or any new information shared in class is to review it the same day that it was given.
4. BOOKS > E-BOOKS
Results of a recent study on “people reading long-form text on tablets” suggests that readers tend to slow down when using electronic media such as iBooks (6.2% slower) and Kindle (10.7% slower). Moreover, Kate Garland – a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Leicester in England – found out that students required more “repetition” when reading materials through a computer screen.
5. PRACTICE “ACTIVE RECALL”
Mark A. McDaniel, a professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, suggested that it is ineffective to read a textbook passage over and over to memorize it. Rather than re-reading texts, he advised students to try closing their textbooks and recite or write down what they can remember about that they have just read. According to him, this approach will help improve or promote “long-term memorization.”