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.
Here are 5 ways to enhance learning
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?.... 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
In fact, science also suggests that students who take part in aerobic exercise benefit from better
long term memory.
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
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 the