At The Student Power we know that time is a highly valuable asset for all Super Students. Life is exciting and there is so much to do, so many activities to choose from, that it can be hard to focus on what’s important. Keeping your studies on track can prove difficult when you have a lot on your plate.
Increasing your studying productivity can revolutionize your student life and is one step closer to the Super Student upgrade. Inspired by a question on Quora, I took the initiative of writing my 12 top tips on how to study more effectively. So without further ado, let’s get to it.
12 Tricks to Study Effectively
Know your purpose. Scan the content and zero in on what is most important to achieve the top grade. Know exactly what you have to know, how many items to memorize, how many problem sets to solve. Quantify – only by being objective will you increase your productivity.
Limit studying time. Do not plan to study for a whole afternoon or for 6 hours non-stop. Thinking of studying in terms of objectives or small chunks of time, say 20-25 minutes. But ensure those small chunks of time are 100% studying, no smartphones, internet, TV or banter allowed.
Select the best sources. If there are high-yield versions of textbooks, pre-made notes optimized for retention, mnemonics collections, essential problem sets (and solutions), then use them. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Feynman technique. Learn new concepts like if you were explaining them to a complete beginner. Better yet, do it as you draw diagrams, schematics and notes on a blank sheet of paper.
Embrace memorization. Some people say that studying is about understanding, not memorizing. That’s almost always wrong unless you’re studying Maths, Physics or any hard science. Otherwise, memorization (or even rote memorization) is exactly what you need to do. For cool memorization methods, check out this infographic.
Embrace the idea of self-learning. I’m a deep believer in the idea of learning things by yourself. There is no other way, really, just ideas of learning systems to complement learning by yourself. Teachers may open doors but you need to come in yourself.
Use flashcards + spaced repetition. It is the most effective way to memorize things, hands down. Anki is an excellent app to start learning anything using these method. Method of loci alone or combined with spaced repetition is also a valuable tool.
Practice and test yourself. The best way to learn is to use the knowledge you are trying to acquire. You’ll figure out your weak spots or any frailties in your understanding of complex concepts. There are tons of resources online to test any kind of subject.
Fight stress and anxiety by planning your approach carefully. It’s one thing to consciously study as little as you can to pass. It’s another thing to carelessly ignore your responsibilities and hope that everything will be alright. Plan according to your goals and stick to the plan.
Cultivate the right mindset. There are some essential qualities to all productive students. I like to highlight 4 of them: Diligence, Discipline, Direction and Durability. Together they translate in doing exactly what you have to do daily, no matter what.
Cultivate daily habits. When understanding particularly complex subjects or mastering difficult skills, the best approach is to train daily for a relatively short amount of time. 30 min of tough maths every day no matter is much more effective than 3 weekly sessions of 2 hours each.
If you’re going to take notes, do it right. Guide to Effective Note Taking – SQ3R and Cornell