It’s frustrating to put in hours of studying only to come out empty-handed (or empty-minded). We may spend hours upon hours of reading review materials, but when the time for an exam comes up, nervousness and anxiety make us forget all the things we read.
Don’t feel bad- you’re not alone.
Many people struggle remembering what they read and study, and it’s not entirely their fault. We all have different ways of learning and memorizing, and the most popular ways of studying might simply not suit us. That’s why trying out different techniques to find out what works for you is necessary. Here are a few that you can try.
Write Things Down By Hand
Modern conveniences such as tablets and smartphones make notebooks and pad papers almost obsolete. But don’t throw your paper-based materials just yet! Studies show that writing something by hand can improve the chances of remembering what we write down. And in situations where you really need to learn something for an exam or for personal reasons, writing down what you learn can help a lot.
Whenever we write something down, we often write something in our own interpretation. This allows us to truly understand and comprehend something, not just memorize it. For example, writing down significant dates and what happened during that time can help you memorize the dates and events necessary for an upcoming history test. This technique also allows for better create comparisons of figures and numbers, making it useful for finding out good mortgage rates or creating a tally of your expenses.
Study in Short, Concentrated Bursts NOT Extended Periods of Time
College and high school students often spend the late-night cramming for an exam. They often take the exam with half the sleep they are used to and end up failing the test miserably. Instead of studying overnight, cramming an inordinate amount of information in your head, why not try studying shorter amounts of time over a week instead?
Try studying for 25 minutes at a time, while taking breaks in between. This allows you to digest what you just studied, making the chances of comprehension higher. This also reduces stress associated with studying as you won’t be pouring too much mental energy into memorizing something. Of course, this method involves scheduling- which is a good thing, because this will make cramming impossible.
Use Mnemonic Devices
Among the oldest ways of memorizing something is through the use of mnemonics. It is basically a memorization trick that has you use the first letters of the words you need to know and create a new word out of it. Simple, yes, but effective. This is a trick that even marketing professionals use, and it can be something that can help you out when studying.
Use Imagery and Visualizations
Another trick for remembering what you read is by creating visualizations and imagery of the topic in your head. When reading about a chemical reaction in chemistry, it’s best to imagine a visual representation of what can actually happen. In this case, finding a video showing the actual situation can help you commit it to memory.
Even after watching the video, try recreating the scenario in your head, associating the elements and compounds necessary to create that reaction. This will allow you to understand the concept behind it, and hopefully carry that learning into an exam.