Changing your normal routine can give your studying a boost
Do you have trouble memorizing information for a test? Do you look at your notes and not know where to begin? If regular study habits are not working for you, it may be time to try some of these unusual tricks. They are geared toward helping your brain make new associations. This can be a great way to get the information to stay where you want it—in your brain!
Trick 1: Read it out loud
Reading your notes out loud is one way to help the information sink into your memory. By vocalizing the words, you are thinking them, saying them, and hearing them all at one time. This can help with comprehension and memorization. This is a study trick that is best done in the privacy of your own room. (Reading your notes out loud in the middle of the library is not a great idea!)
Trick 2: Re-write your notes
Sometimes just looking at your notes is not enough. Some people believe that it is helpful to re-write their notes. You might even want to reorganize the notes as you re-write them so that they flow in an order that is logical for you. The act of re-writing the notes can help to firm up the information in your mind.
Trick 3. Pretend you’re the teacher
Have you ever tried to teach a child something and found that you actually learned something yourself? Teaching forces you to master the subject matter. So before your next test, pretend you are the teacher. Find a willing friend, family member, or classmate (or a stuffed animal if necessary), and try to teach them the test material. This trick helps to build your comprehension and confidence in the subject matter.
Trick 4: Online flashcards on your mobile device
Online flashcards such as Quizlets are a convenient and free way to test yourself. You can use any of the existing flashcards or you can create your own unique set. By using the mobile apps, you can use your flashcards at any time, such as on the bus or waiting in line. This way you can squeeze in a little extra studying wherever you are!
Trick 5: Use audio visuals
Some people learn better by listening than by reading their notes. If this describes you, you might want to get some more audio-visual materials to help you out. First, you can ask your instructor if it’s okay for you to record the lectures. This way you can go back over key parts of the lecture that you may not have understood the first time. You can also find helpful audiovisuals online. You might be able to find a documentary, lecture, TED talk, or YouTube videos on your topic.
Trick 6. Change your location
If you are a creature of habit, you probably study in the same place all the time. For a change of pace, find a few new locations to study. It could be the library, a study room at your college, a coffee shop, or even a bench outside. By studying in a variety of areas, your brain can make associations with learning certain materials in those areas, and that can sometimes help you retain the information better.
Trick 7. Draw a picture
If you are a visual learner, you may learn better if you have a graphic representation of the test material. Some students find that creating their own diagrams can help them grasp the material better. You can try time lines, mental maps, diagrams, and other visual representations to help make your notes more meaningful to you.
Trick 8. Sing it in a song
Why is it that you can remember song lyrics from a song you knew 5 years ago, but you can’t memorize your notes? Song lyrics have a way of sticking in our heads better than simple lists of information. Take advantage of this by setting your notes to music. Take a favorite song, and then change the lyrics to reflect your notes. The funnier the better, because it will help your brain remember.
Trick 9. Take care of yourself
Most of your test preparation is about your mind. But don’t neglect your body’s needs. On the day of the test, be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before the test, eat a healthy breakfast, and get a little exercise.
Trick 10: The power of peppermint
Some people find that eating a mint or chewing mint gum can help stimulate their thinking. It never hurts to try, and if nothing else, your breath will smell fresh!
For more study tips, try Ways Students Can Get the Most out of Studying. We hope your studies get a boost from these 10 new tricks!