Thursday, April 12, 2012

Study Skills for Success: Study Smarter, not Harder

Far too many people study harder rather than smarter and end up burning out. Sitting and passing exams is supposed to get you ahead in life – not make you tense and a nervous wreck.
With simple and effective techniques you can massively increase your ability to pass exams. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your study time.
Use lots of color. Using color in note taking and study will increase your ability to remember and recall information. It makes your notes more exciting to reread and learn.
Use felt pens of different thicknesses, colored pencils and crayons. Use your favorite colors, highlight key information, and make notetaking fun.
Talk about the information as much as possible. When you say information out loud, it is reinforced in the brain. Have you ever asked someone to remind you to do something? Do they usually need to remind you? Not usually. When you say something out loud it comes out of your mouth and back into the brain through your ears. Talk about the information you are learning to yourself, friends, family, or even the dog! Just say it out loud.
Study at “my best thinking time.” Are you a morning, afternoon or late night person? Study when you are most alert. If you prefer to stay up late at night, study at this time. One of the worst times to study is the one hour after school. Take time to refresh and relax before doing homework or study.
Study the information you don’t know. This may sound obvious and is a major key to successful study. Take out old test and exam papers and learn the information you got wrong. When you get your test marks back, celebrate if you have a pass mark. However it is the questions you got wrong that are the most important to learn. This is how you will improve.
Study for 20 minutes with 5-minute breaks. Having short study times increases the retention of information and avoids the brain ‘chunking out’ or forgetting. During a five minute break, eat brain food, get some fresh air, or do some quick exercise to keep the blood and oxygen flowing to the brain. Always leave your study environment during this five-minute break to give the brain some variety and a change of focus.
Frame important information. Putting a frame around information makes the brain focus within the frame and can raise comprehension. This is such a simple strategy and works. If you are a doodler and often draw all over the page when listening or thinking, doodle frames around the edge of the page – it will increase your ability to recall and remember the information within the frame.
Review your notes one day after learning them. Reviewing or periodic revision of material is needed to reactivate the stored memories and prevent information from being buried under other data. The more recent, regular, and fun the review is the easier it will be to recall. Research shows if you go over your notes the next day, your recall can stay at up to ninety percent, however waiting three days before you re-visit your notes drops recall down to thirty percent
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