Study Habits to Increase Productivity and Learning Retention

While it may be impressive to study for hours on end, is it really necessary? These tips will keep your study session time-effective and keep your productivity high.

 

Make a Work Plan

Know the scope of your work beforehand so you spend the right amount of time on each portion. For topics that you feel more comfortable with, spend less (not none, but less) time on them. Conversely, portion more time to challenging topics.

Spaced Repetition

When pacing through flash cards, for example, it is better to practice a card and come back to the same card within a few minutes. After about seven repetitions, the brain should have had enough exposure to remember the material. Software such as Anki flashcards might be useful for these type of activities.

Work Out Loud

Research has shown multi-sensory learning, that is, learning with multiple senses at once, is more effective than single-sensory learning. For example, reading out loud (visual, auditory, and verbal) leads to better learning than reading silently (visual only).

Work in Bursts

Rather than marathoning through a 3-hour study session, break it off into smaller work sessions. Try for 15-25 minute work periods, with 15 minutes of break in between 2-3 sets. So, :00-:25 Topic 1 :25-:50 Topic 1b :50-1:05 Break 1:05-1:30 Topic 1 1:30-1:55 Topic 1b; end topic 1/1b 1:55-2:55 Break; restart cycle with new topic 

Focus

Keep away from distractions such as social media – content blockers may work well if you find yourself wandering back.

Check-In

Frequently self-test for information retention while reading. Ask yourself after each section, “What did I just read?” If you find your eyes merely skimming over the words, re-focus. You don’t want to waste time re-reading! And remember to take notes.

 

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