Many professionals opt for continuing education to keep abreast with the latest in their fields. However, getting the motivation to study can be a challenging task in itself. I often find myself wasting hours reading page after page without grasping any essential information.
This has led me to research various study hacks that would help my brain better handle large amounts of data.
7 Study Hacks That Work
Of course I did this when I was supposed to be studying and not doing something else. Here are the study hacks I found and tested and helped me overcome any exam:
Use flash cards
You have probably heard about flash cards and how they help the process of active recall. These physical cards essentially contain a question on one side and the answer on the flip side, encouraging self-reflection and space learning over time.
And if penciling stacks of paper flash cards is too old school for you, StudyBlue.com provides you with digital flash cards on your laptop or mobile and they even have ready-made flash cards for everything from Chinese to law. If you imagine it as being a game show, you’ll enjoy this technique even more. Use this study hack with your group and your colleagues will thank you!
Set the mood
You’re not going to get ahead by listening to dance music or leaving the TV on. It’s unwanted distraction that sooner or later will have to be removed. Instead, play some classical music and tune in to RainyMood.com for a relaxing soundtrack that ultimately leads to increased productivity.
The sound of the rain accompanied by some Beethoven tunes will set the proper mood for studying and increase your receptiveness. You might like jazz accompanied by the sound of the ocean waves so find out what works for you.
Author and language teacher Mark Frobose started his study on language memory in 1979 and came up with a revolutionary memory enhancement technique called the ‘Frobose Memory Technique’.
The Frobose uses time intervals or spaced repetitions to help you better retain essential information. According to Frobose, a learning episode should be reviewed every 7, 15, 30 seconds, 1, 3, 10, 25 minutes then daily and weekly for maximum retention.
I found that when studying, even looking at blank walls seems more interesting that doing my actual assignments. I even start washing dishes or cleaning the house just to avoid studying. In situations like these, it is best to remove distractions through brute force.
Use SelfControl (iOs) or K9 Web protection (Windows) to block certain or all websites for a specified time frame. This will curb your procrastination, allowing you to focus only on your tasks. I found that I am more productive in the library or in a coffee shop, but it’s best you get to know if this kind of isolation works for you too.
If flash cards aren’t your thing, notes are an effective way to reduce the amount of information you have to learn and synthesize large amount of information. The Cornell Method is a widely used note-taking system that provides you with a systematic format for taking notes.
With the Cornell system, notes should consist of only the main ideas of the text and written in the designed column, while relevant questions should be placed in the keywords column as soon as they arise.
Adopt a schedule
If your work involves mostly reading, try to take a short break at scheduled intervals. The Pomodoro technique is a great time management system that requires you to take a 5 minute break after 25 minutes of studying. Adhere strictly to the schedule and take a longer break once every 4 study sessions.
For me this works since I need a breather after taking in large amount of information. I make a sandwich, enjoy a cup of tea or a chocolate bar on the terrace before diving in again.
Take a caffeine nap
When you’re feeling deprived of all forces, the caffeine nap is a fast energy booster. Simply drink a cup of coffee and take a 15 minute nap immediately. According to scientists, the caffeine gets your body rid of adenosine, a chemical that makes you sleepy, while the nap reinvigorates the body.
Take the nap immediately after you drink the coffee so you have plenty of time to nap before the caffeine punch kicks in. It works great for me as long as I don’t overdo it – set an alarm and don’t snooze it off! I found it’s a great remedy while at work even though most employers won’t allow it.
Keep track of your progress
During my exams, another thing that I discovered to be very helpful was keeping track of the progress I was making. I drew myself a chart and marked every hour I’d spent studying for my exams. It helped in the sense that it made me actually see when I was procrastination and not getting any work done. This method may not work for everyone, but I still recommend it, especially if you know yourself to be a person who responds to visual stimulus.
That’s all I could come up with so far, but I’m sure there are still many more tricks and hacks to help us grasp the information efficiently.
What are some of the study hacks you have used? Share your tips with us.
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Nice article, but you should really put an “http://” in front of all your off-site links 😉
Something that I find extremely useful when I am studying or writing is actually HIDING my watch, clocks, and turning off the clock display on my computer. This makes me just focus on my work, taking out time as a factor, and actualy increases my productivity. I discovered this when one day I noticed how much time I was wasting by checking the time and how stressed out i was getting by continually trying to calculate how much I had covered in the last hour. By getting rid of time as an indicator, I tend to get way more done.
great article, thank you 🙂
Raxado, that’s great advice. Come to think of it, I work better and more efficiently whenever I’m not checking the time. Next time, I’ll just set an alarm whenever I need to take a break and hide my watch where it can’t be seen.
A simpler alternative to the Pomodoro technique is time boxing. Schedule study blocks throughout your day and leave time for breaks.
If you’d like to read more about it, see my article here:http://daytimer.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/the-secret-to-better-study-skills-for-students/
I found this link: http://e.ggtimer.com/pomodoro
“does one 25/5 minute cycle”
It might help someone 🙂
Keeping track of the progress is very important
Thanks for the tips xD I needed them ….for everything!! Exams and language study ~
Excellent post! More than anything, I love the trendiness of the word hack… It’s everywhere!
I previously posted a number of study tips (less trendy, I know) for college students to boost productivity. You can see them here: http://blog.paperbid.com/blogpost/boost-productivity-and-efficiency-with-these-5-studying-techniques