Since grade school, most students have been taught the "right" way to study: Dedicate yourself. Memorize. Lock yourself in a quiet room and don't leave until you know the material. Recently, however, the New York Times reported that many of these habits are scientifically unsound, and that some strategies that seem counterintuitive actually do work. Below are some of the methods the Times sheds light on, plus ones that we have found to be tried and true.
What tips do you have for effective studying? Weigh in below.
1. Alternate Study Spaces
Although some people swear by the library, cognitive scientists suggest that alternating study spaces is a more effective way to retain information, according to the New York Times. Memory is colored by location, and changing your study locales increases the likelihood of remembering what you’ve learned.
2. Study and Homework Groups
Never underestimate the power of your peers, especially when working through a difficult problem set or reading assignment. Dividing and conquering is an effective way to reduce your workload -- and to make sure you understand the material. You might even make a friend in the process.
3 . Make Flash Cards
Sometimes the best habits are the ones we’ve used forever. Flash cards are oldies but goodies –- writing notes and definitions more than once will help imprint information in your memory, and the cards are a great way to develop and use mnemonic devices and associative phrases.
4. Take Tests
As much as we may hate tests, the New York Times reports that formal evaluations not only affirm knowledge but enhance it. Consistent testing can help us relearn and recall information, and it pays off when preparing for final exams.
A tired mind is a slow mind.
6. Don't Categorize Yourself
Students often categorize themselves as visual or auditory learners, or as being left-brained or right-brained thinkers. According to the New York Times, research has shown that these distinctions are largely erroneous. It is more important to figure out which study strategies work for you than to worry about where you lie on the learning spectrum.
7. Go To Class
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