Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Have you ever felt like you’ve studied for hours, or even days, but things that you’ve gone through didn’t stay in your head? Don’t worry, this is completely normal, especially if you don’t use any particular studying technique.
There is no point in studying for hours if you feel like you’re forgetting everything after it. However, there are numerous ways to help yourself and retain things that you have learned.
In this article, you can find some effective ways that will help you study more effectively and retain what you have studied.
The best thing is that these techniques work for almost any subject, and you can customize them to your liking.
1. Review your materials regularly
Some persons may think that they will be able to memorize everything after only one study session. However, that’s often not the case. If you want to build long-term knowledge, you need to revise your materials regularly.
If you have a goal, for example, to pass an important exam in 6 months, it’s not only important to create a study schedule, but you should also have a schedule for revising.
Some may reserve one hour at the end of each day for revising, while others prefer to study for two days and dedicate every third day to revising what they’ve previously gone through.
There is no universal rule here! Experiment and see what works for you.
2. Teach the topic to someone else
For a long time, we’ve known that one of the best ways to retain knowledge is to share it with someone else. That’s also one of the most interesting ways to review any topic, as you don’t have to go through your textbook alone.
Teaching someone else is a two-way street and both participants can greatly benefit from this activity. If you have a friend who is studying the same thing as you, then make the following agreement: each one has to learn one chapter and then teach it to the other.
This technique can motivate you to keep your promised schedule and keep you accountable because someone else is counting on you.
Even if you don’t have anyone with whom you can practice this, you can imagine that you’re a teacher who is revising a lesson.
It may seem silly at first, but it can actually be a great way to revise and retain things that you’ve studied.
When someone mentions ‘journaling’, most people think about writing down things that have happened to you or processing your feelings and emotions.
However, journaling can be a very powerful exercise to help you remember things you’ve studied.
The best thing about it is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. You can write about the topic you’ve studied and make a short summary that will make it easier for you to memorize.
You can reflect on it, underline key ideas and concepts, or you could write down any questions and doubts that you may have.
4. Read before going to sleep
Everyone has some special time of the day when they’re most productive. Some like to study in the morning, while others prefer to do it while everyone else is asleep.
No matter what is your most productive period of the day, this is something you can try. If you want to make sure you will retain the information you’ve learned, it may be a good idea to read them just before you go to bed.
Structures in our brain keep processing the things we’ve seen, heard, or read before going to sleep. That’s why we have to be very careful about what do we do before retiring for the evening.
However, you can get the most out of this process by focusing on things you need to learn and letting your brain do the sub-conscious part of retaining information during the night.
This is also the reason why some experts suggest taking naps during the day after you finish an important chapter. Some people call them ‘power naps’ because they can really do wonders for your memory.
5. Take notes
Most students take notes only when they have to – when they’re listening to a lecturer and they need to write down some concepts. However, you can do the same thing while you’re studying from your textbook at home.
You should have a notebook where you can write down key concepts, as it’s much easier to revisit them later when you need just a quick reminder. Everyone has a different style when it comes to notes.
Some like to have detailed notes, while others prefer to write just some keywords that act as reminders.
You can choose whatever works for you, but we’re sure your memory will improve once you start taking notes regularly while studying.
This makes you the active participant of the learning process, instead of someone who is just passively reading or listening to the material.
There is truly something magical about writing things down. It activates certain processes in your brain that help memorize and retain information for much longer.
6. Download memory apps
Remember when you were a child and you enjoyed playing memory games with your friends? You can apply this concept to studying as well, and there are even some fantastic apps that can help you.
All you have to do is download them to your phone and fill them with data you have to memorize. The rest is a game!
This strategy works best for any topic, especially those containing a lot of formulas, but you can use it for almost everything.
The best thing about this activity is that you can do it anywhere – even in those moments when it feels like you’re wasting your time, like riding on a bus or waiting in line. Give it a try today!
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