How did you learn to ride a bike? Someone probably gave you some tips. Then you practiced on your own. Well, in a very similar way you can improve the way you study.
No one is born with the knowledge of how to study. Everyone can at least improve the study methods with which they are “born”.
You need to learn a range of study skills. Then you put them into practice. That way you develop good learning habits. You will improve your way of studying and also make better use of your time.
Study skills are valuable resources. Because they help you to achieve meaningful learning. This is because they support you in understanding, storing and assimilating the information. But not many students have mastered these skills.
Because many students choose to memorize the data at the last minute. This causes their scores to fall short of their expectations. They also quickly forget what they have learned.
Studying on the basis of memory will give you very few promising results. Fortunately, there are many other study skills. They are much more fun and dynamic. In addition, they will help you and improve your way of studying. They can also improve your performance.
Skills that improve the way you study
One of the most used study skills is taking notes. It means summarizing the main points in your own words. That way you can remember them more easily.
In most cases, the key is being able to quickly summarize the data without leaving out any important information. The other key to a good summary is to make sure the relationship between the key concepts is very clear.
Sometimes it is difficult to take the big picture with certain subjects. But you can do practical problems and case studies. Because this can help you get an idea and absorb the knowledge in an easier way.
This is especially helpful on topics like math, physics, law, and other numbers-related topics.
It may also be a good idea to conduct case studies and study the ideas at the same time. Because in this way you will better understand what they are for. You will also have a clearer understanding of what all those letters really mean.
You can also improve your way of studying by applying another skill. This time you do it in group. We are talking about brainstorming here. You come together in a group. The participants bring ideas to forms they have on a specific topic.
Brainstorming can be especially helpful to carry out group projects. Because you then consider different ideas and points of view. But it can also be useful to prepare you for an exam. It can clarify questions and help you delve deeper into the subject matter.
Improve your way of studying
Many of these study skills are not new. In fact, most students know them very well. But the way in which you can put them into practice and improve studying is new. Therefore, we suggest that you read this article if you are in college. It is also interesting when preparing for an entrance exam, but also if you just want to improve your learning process.
Strategies to Boost Your Learning Ability
Weinstein and Mayer (1986) distinguish five general categories of learning strategies:
- repetition (repeating terms)
- elaboration (wording, listing)
- organizational (summarizing a text)
- understanding (asking questions, checking your own knowledge)
- affective (establish and maintain your motivation)
You also need to strengthen your intellectual faculties. But this depends on what exactly the command requires. You can train things like the ability to remember, transform, store and transfer information. This will activate the thought processes associated with problem solving.
Palinscar’s and Brown’s Classifications
You can improve the way you study and stimulate your learning through the classifications described and proposed by Palinscar and Brown (1984):
- Describe: convert the information in the text into your own words.
- Derivation: making decisions based on explanation.
- To summarize: choose the important parts, select the fundamental ideas.
- Prediction: assuming, anticipating, foreseeing, predicting, guessing, and building distractions.
- Clarifying: specifying, describing and explaining in detail certain aspects of the text.
- Asking questions: this helps to activate the thought processes and previous knowledge.
In 2013, Brigham Young University conducted a study that was published in The Eastern Economic Journal . According to this study, these are the two most important strategies for boosting your learning: your sleep routine and constantly testing yourself about what you’re learning. Your sleep rhythm and your rest have a direct influence on your performance.
The researchers state that you need about seven hours of sleep to achieve better learning results. Because sleep helps to perpetuate your memory and what you have learned.
On the other hand, lack of sleep can damage the neuron network in the prefrontal cortex. As a result, you will have a harder time processing, retaining and perpetuating the information you learn.
The most commonly used study methods
The journal Science published a study in 2011. This study analyzed three study methods commonly used: memorization and repetition, drawing and graphing, and conducting evaluations and tests to see if you have learned something.
To see how effective these methods were, they followed 200 students. They split them up into three groups. Each group used a different study method.
The researchers found that evaluating what you have learned is the most efficient method. It can increase your learning amount by 50%. So you can improve your way of studying by applying this method.
How can you improve your study skills?
The classical method of study skills includes five stages:
- Speed reading: you give yourself a general idea of the main ideas.
- Thorough reading: you underline the main ideas.
- Summary or box: This means summarizing the key points in your own words. That way you can remember them more easily.
- Study and memorize: for this part it is best to read the summaries out loud.
- Going over with classmates: “telling” what you have learned will help you better internalize the information.
To promote these study habits, you need to follow a series of steps until they become real habits:
Set up a study routine
Make a study schedule for yourself and follow it. Because it has a major impact on how effectively you study. Studying in a disorganized way is one way to make sure you have to study until late at night. Then sleep and fatigue hinder your ability to concentrate.
When you get used to a timetable, it will also be easier not to skip your study moments. There is a greater chance that you will spend the necessary time on your studies.
Keep distractions away
This may seem obvious. But it’s never bad to remember it. Distractions can take unexpected forms. So it is good that you know how to determine them. These are some of the things on the distraction blacklist: Facebook, Instagram, cell phones, and television. But you need to add other things to that list as well. It is those factors that you should avoid while you study.
Avoid literally memorizing
You have to make the information in the texts your own. This means that you have to connect the data with certain things in your life. Rephrase it in your own words and think of other examples you can use.
In this way you will eventually be able to realize a meaningful way of learning. This learning method is more resistant to the passing of time than memorizing information that doesn’t mean much to you.
Constantly putting into practice
If you can, you should evaluate yourself through exams or questionnaires about the study topic. This may seem like a waste of time if you think you just need to “immerse” in the information. But that is not true. Because it will help you to spot mistakes. In addition, it offers you the opportunity to measure your progress.
If you use all these strategies, your way of studying will improve. You will not only use your time in the best way to absorb (any) knowledge. But it will also make it much harder for you to forget what you are able to learn. So it’s worth it.