Spending long hours of studying but not seeing any results in your school quizzes or examination results? Well, studies show that you are probably not studying effectively.
In short, when it comes to retaining knowledge and understanding the information consumed, studying shorter durations effectively is way better than mugging through the night without the right technique.
So, what is the right technique you may ask?
It depends on you – some techniques work better with certain students than others. To benefit everyone, we have put together a few scientifically supported effective study techniques for you to test out yourself!
In a world where iPads, e-learning, and mobile learning is prevalent, it does seem counter-intuitive doesn’t it? However, studies have proven time and again that print has a significant advantage over screens when it comes to digesting the material better and retaining it for the long term.
In a test with students, those who were reading the material from computers took more time to understand the same information as compared to those who read the material from physical notes.
Want to understand your material better? Make sure you write it out or print it out instead of reading it off the screen!
The Curve of Forgetting is a theory by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, positing how human memories fade over time.
Some key points of the theory include:
Newly created memories will fade more and more over time.
The greatest drop in retention happens soon after learning the new information.
Keeping these two points in mind, people came up with a studying technique is known commonly as a spaced practice to combat the loss of new information.
As its name suggests, the spaced practice involves spacing your studying in periodic intervals to allow your mind to continuously build on the knowledge before you forget it – reinforcing it over time – making it harder to forget.
Day 1: Learning of the new topic in class.
Day 1 (end of the day): Review the notes from class – helps to retain up to 80% of what you learn.
Day 3: Review the notes from class again
One week later: Review the notes and do practice questions.
Imagine reviewing a topic for your upcoming O’Level Chemistry examinations where you use flashcards to test your ability to answer questions correctly. One side has the questions, and the backside has the correct answer.
As you are going through the questions, the moment when you search through your mind for the answer as you stare at the question is known as active recall. It is the moment when you actively go through your “mind palace’ as Sherlock Holmes would call it, and search for the relevant piece of information to answer the question.
How is an effective studying technique? Studies show that the more we practice this active retrieval of data from our minds, the better we get.
For this method, flashcards are incredibly effective. If you have no time to create flashcards, simply cover up the answers to the questions, and try to come up with the answer in your mind before revealing it.
Just merely studying and going through the notes is not sufficient to help in understanding and retaining information.
Practice testing is one of the top methods of effective studying since it also taps on “active recall”. Notably, practice testing with opened ended questions is more effective than with true or false or multiple-choice questions.
The lesson here? Do not spend all your time just re-reading your notes for revision. Make sure you spend sufficient time testing yourself on what you have learnt. The very act of answering those questions is helping you retain the information.
Ever heard of the phrase “If you want to understand something well, teach it to someone else.”? Well, this is exactly what the Feynman Technique is all about – learning a concept by explaining it to someone else in easy-to-understand terms.
If you have a study group, this quite a fun technique to use while studying. In your group, assign everyone a topic they need to teach everyone.
If you study alone, then write out the topic or question you are studying, write out how you would explain this to someone else. Check your answer and review if anything is incorrect or too technical – make the changes accordingly.
The simpler the explanation the better!
When reviewing for exams, you will thank yourself for these simple explanations.
Do you need that extra push to help you study effectively? Well, our specialized tutors at New Dawn Learning Studio, in Maths, Chemistry and Physics can be of help – with our structured lesson plans, curated notes, and practice questions.
From O’Level to A ‘Level subjects, we have got you covered.
Learn more about our various classes and our amazing track record of graduate students over the years!