How to Study in Six Simple Steps

Make room, mentally and physically, for studying. Usually you’re studying for something specific, such as an exam. This can seem daunting, like a mountain to climb. If this sounds familiar, take a deep breath and pause for a moment before you start.
Think of how you make yourself comfortable when you do something you really enjoy, like watching a favorite television program. How do you settle in for the show? Do you sprawl or curl up? Do you have favourite relaxing clothes? Do you choose a particular drink or something to nibble? Borrow all these favorite things to make your studying a better experience. If you’re in a good space physically, you can improve your mental space.



Create your own personal work zone. It doesn’t have to look like a work-space — that’s what many students find off-putting. Building on what you did in the previous paragraph, make the place your own and somewhere you enjoy.

Find the right pace for your work. Sprinters work hard and fast in a burst of energy while marathon runners spread the load and build slowly towards the climax. There’s no right or wrong way to pace your studying, except what works for you. Notice the way you like to work, and adjust your pace accordingly. (Just remember, if you study at a slow pace, you’ll need to set aside more time for the task.)
Whether you have bags of time or a brief study period, remember that breaks are just as important as active study (10 minutes off for every 30 minutes of study works for many people), and use those breaks to reward yourself with a small treat.

It helps to know how your memory works. Here is the key to memory: in any sequence, people remember the first and last things best. Whatever you try to remember, you’ll find yourself recalling the beginning and the end, with less clear memories of the middle. You can’t change this — it’s wired in, it’s how our brains work — so don’t fight it. Instead, use this fact to your advantage by organizing your study so the most important bits are at the beginning and end of your sessions.

It’s always good to have a plan. However big or complex your task may look at first sight, with a feasible plan you can always find a way to manage it.
When studying, break your biggest goal into smaller chunks or tasks. It’s best if each of these chunks consists of a single topic. Often, you’ll discover one or two key elements that stand out and get fixed in your mind. You can then use those as building blocks.
Classic tricks used by memory professionals include ‘the house of memory’ where you place everything you want to remember in unique locations in the house. It’s also useful to use humor — play with your key-words and make them funny or outrageous. You’ll be surprised at how much easier they are to memorize.

Mind maps
A mind map is rough diagram that you can make to visually outline information. You can create a mind map by starting with the primary word or phrase of a topic in the center, with related, lesser categories branching out from it. Subcategories of these are on smaller branches, still. Your categories can consist of anything you think is important; they can be important terms, ideas, or tasks to complete — whatever you need to help you study or organize the information.
Mind maps are easy to master if you don’t use them already, and you’ll discover they help you remember masses of information much more efficiently than conventional lists. If you’re not satisfied with your current note-taking skills, try building a mind map during your next class or lecture and see if you find it more helpful.

Source: Doctors hangout/Easy English Lessons


Tips to Enhance Learning

enhasnce learning

5 Ways to Enhance Learning

We all know that we should use smart study strategies for learning. But what is the science behind effective study strategies?
The tips below come from scientific studies that examine the difference between memorizing for short term and learning for the long haul.
1. Quiz Yourself Daily
Studies have shown that the best way to remember the information you’ve read or studied is to test yourself. Why?
It seems that the mere act of pulling information out of your brain and tucking it away again works like a sort of “body-building technique” for memories. Through a process called retrieval practice, it seems that information becomes sturdier and more embedded as we exercise it.

2. Reduce Your Cell Phone Use
It should come as no surprise that spending too much time on the cell phone can affect your grades. But the relationship between phones and grades is not simple; it’s not just a matter of time spent wisely (or not).Studies show that there is a relationship between cell phone use, anxiety, and student performance.
Increased time on the phone seems to be linked to increased feelings of anxiety, and that leads to lower student performance.Another relationship has been noticed between increased time on cell phones and a decrease in physical activity. Students who spend more time on phones, in other words, tend to be less active – which also causes a buildup of stress and anxiety.In fact, science also suggests that students who take part in aerobic exercise benefit from better long term memory.
It’s just a good policy to limit time on cell phones and increase physical activity. By reducing the anxiety in your life and getting in better physical shape, you’ll free up your brain to learn and retain!
3. Stop Trying to Memorize
Mnemonic devices are handy when you need to memorize a list of items that you intend to recall in the next day or two. Memorization is a skill that comes in handy for short term memory. But short term memory is only good if you’re cramming for a test and you don’t care about learning. Long term memory is the goal for truly learning from the material that you cover in class.
A recent study shows that memorization impairs your ability to recall details – and that can be a problem if you’re taking a test with essay or multiple choice questions!To commit information to your long term memory, you will need to venture beyond memorizing facts. You must strive to gain a meaningful understanding of concepts beyond the words and names on your list of terms. This leads to true learning – as opposed to short-term memorization. Long term memory comes from getting active with material and studying the same information several times over a few weeks.
4. Use Music and Actions
The more active you become when it comes to studying, the more you will be able to commit the information to memory. If you’re studying foreign language (or any other subject that requires you to learn new vocabulary) it seems that singing is helpful.
Singing new vocabulary and definitions taps in to your auditory learning skills and helps you recall more readily, according to one study. It’s certainly worth a try!
Another study shows that you can benefit by taking your class notes by hand instead of using a keyboard to type your notes. The act of writing words out by hand enhances the comprehension of concepts.
In one study, students who took notes on a computer could recall facts as well as those who used hand-written notes, but they could not grasp concepts nearly as well as the pen-and-paper students.
5. Use a Sleep Strategy
Common sense tells us that students need to get enough sleep to perform well in school. But there are some surprising findings when it comes to how and when we sleep, as it pertains to our ability to learn. It’s not about the amount of sleep you get, necessarily.
The timing of your sleep patterns also matters.Consider the following findings about sleep and study:A regular bed time is important, but students with later bedtimes have lower grades than students with earlier bedtimes.When you sleep right before study time, the information seems to sink in as you sleep and soak into your long term memory.
Sleep actually reinforces learning.The information will transform from short term memory to long term learning if you go straight to bed after reading. However, if you start reading Facebook posts or do any pleasure reading between study time and sleep time, you clog your brain with useless information and stop the potential for learning while sleeping.Study and then go straight to sleep: that’s they key!
Sources and Further Reading:

  1. Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. “Teens with late bedtimes have lower grades.” ScienceDaily, 10 November 2013.
  2. Kent State University. “Frequent cell phone use linked to anxiety, lower grade, reduced happiness in students.” ScienceDaily, 6 December 2013.
  3. KTH The Royal Institute of Technology. “Online time can hobble brain’s important work.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2013.
  4. Mary A. Pyc and Katherine A. Rawson. Why Testing Improves Memory: Mediator Effectiveness Hypothesis. Science, 15 October 2010.
  5. Michigan State University. “Out of shape? Your memory may suffer.” ScienceDaily, 2 May 2014.
    Universitaet Tübingen. “Sleep reinforces learning: Children’s brains transform subconsciously learned material into active knowledge.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2013.
  6. University of Texas at Austin. “Daily online testing boosts college performance, reduces achievement gaps.” ScienceDaily, 21 November 2013.
  7. Z. M. Reagh, M. A. Yassa. Repetition strengthens target recognition but impairs similar lure discrimination: evidence for trace competition. Learning & Memory, 2014; 21 (7): 342.