Putting facts to memory by brute force will not make you gain the most important result from studying, which is, comprehension.
And to be honest, it will be very boring.
Studying should be fun – all about thoughtful exploration and discovering new things.
When we cram things, we tend to forget them immediately our tests or exams are over. Can you relate?
Sometimes the things crammed might never see the light of day immediately we forget one small detail.
So how do we prevent those facts from falling into a black hole once we enter the exam hall? Now let us take a look at 5 powerful ways to remember what you study.
1. Using Spaced repetition
When you review materials over and over again over incremental time intervals, it can help with a 100 per cent information retention. You can use spaced repetition to review your materials intermittently to slow down the deterioration of your memory as time passes.
This means making notes right after the lecture ends, write down any questions you have and asking your lecturer as soon as possible. Just before exams, make flashcards and review them every few days, instead of the last 24 hours!
2. Engaging in active reiteration
If you want to embed the facts you are reading into your mind then teach them to someone else.
By teaching, you are forced to summarize, condense, investigate, and draw conclusions – promoting a deeper personal understanding. You may choose to explain concepts in the simplest terms possible to anyone who would listen, a classmate, roommate or to your teddy bear.
3. Using directed note-taking
Ask yourself what you don’t understand about a certain topic. Get to the root of the problem and dig your way out of it.
First, spot the problem areas. Second, design a question which addresses this area. Third, answer your question. Use all your lecture notes, library books, and even Google Search. Don’t move on until you are confident with your answer and rest assured, you will understand the concepts better by going through this route.
4. Reading and writing on paper
After a survey, 94% of university students polled said they preferred studying using paper as it was easier to focus and the freedom to highlight, annotate and write on the margins. And unlike computer screens, reading on paper also helps with spatial memory – you can recall a certain bit of information by where it was placed on a book.
On top of these, paper removes one of the top factors for students losing focus: distraction. Without the Internet, there won’t be an infinite number of websites tempting our eyes away from much-needed study time and breaking our focus, which is crucial to retaining memory.
5. Much needed sleep and exercise
Our brain absorbs information best right before sleep or right after exercise.
Research has shown that those who study before sleeping or napping have higher memory recall or higher activity in the hippocampus, the part of the brain which forms new memories.
Exercise has have been found to stimulate the production of a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which prepares the brain for optimum learning and creative thinking. You are likelier to form creative connections between ideas, and thus, retaining this better.
So, time your sleep and work out accordingly to maximize your study sessions.