21 Study Techniques and Study Habits to Improve Memory and Understanding

21 Study Techniques and Study Habits for Better Memory and Understanding

21 Study Techniques and Study Habits to Improve Memory and Understanding
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When you cultivate good study habits and implement the right study techniques, what you study not only becomes interesting but also improves memory and understanding.

For many students study sessions get boring or monotonous. Cultivating the right study habits makes learning exciting and easy. Long study sessions require excellent concentration and understanding skills. When you implement the right study techniques it helps the brain remember information in a clear and concise manner. You are able to focus better and access information quicker using the right study habits and study technique. When exams are round the corner, students put in an extra effort.

Students either stay up late night or wake up early morning to study when exams are nearing. Creating a time schedule is important when you are studying for an exam. To improve memory and grasping power you need to adopt the right study methods.

Devise a study schedule in accordance with your strengths and weaknesses. There are certain subjects or topics that are complicated and require a great deal of grasping power. These subjects or topics should be tackled for longer durations. You can spend fewer hours with subjects or topics you are confident about. When you develop good study techniques, you see the efforts pay off. Implementing good study habits and the right study techniques helps achieve better marks or grades in examinations. Many students often ask the question…What is the right way to study? The answer to this question is rather simple. Understanding and memorizing through learning comes with good study habits and techniques that improve memory and understanding.

The lines below provide a detailed perspective on how to implement the right study techniques and study habits to boost memory and brain power.  

21 Study Techniques and Study Habits to Improve Memory and Understanding

1. Find your comfort Zone for Study

The first thing you need to do when you get down to studying is find your comfort spot. It could be an area at home or at a library… pick a place you feel comfortable and make it your study space. The place you choose should be quiet, calm and free from distractions. A place you dwell for long hours of study should be inspiring and motivating. Feel free to keep your favorite objects or pictures that inspire and motivate in your study area. The little things that inspire help you go the distance when you spend long hours studying. Improved memory is often associated with your favorite spot.

2. Plan Your Time Schedules

Devising time schedules for studies saves a lot of time. You can make the most of your study time when you plan and schedule properly. Action plans are important when you study. Make wall-planners, set time limits, set alarms, and to-do lists. When you have a wall planner or calendar on your wall where you are studying, you know exactly what you are supposed to do. Use the wall planner or calendar to mark important dates for exams, assignments and tasks. You can also monitor your study time table on a wall planner. You need to set a time limit on every task and assignment. When you set a time limit for a subject or topic you know exactly how much you should cover in that time frame. Setting time limits ensures every subject, topic, assignment or task is given priority. You need to set alarms to remind you about your time limits. Reminders in the form of alarms keep you focused and on track at all times. Lists break tasks to manageable proportions and make them less complicated. At the start of the week you need to have a to-do list of things you need to get done by the end of the week. For every long study session too you need to have a to-do list of things to know precisely how you are utilizing and dedicating time to study.  Memory and understanding improves considerably when you plan and schedule time.

3. Exercise before an Exam or Study Session

A great way to relax those tense nerves before an exam or study session is exercise. You can do two sets (10 each) of shoulder shrugs before an exam. Walking too is a great exercise to feel energized. Just 20 minutes of exercise can improve your brain power and boost your memory before an exam. During a long study session it is recommended you take a break and do two sets (10 each) of slow neck rotations to avoid a stiff neck. Exercising improves study performance exceptionally.

4. Daily Study Helps Grasp Better

When you study daily you continually review and process information. This helps understanding improve considerably. You are able to grasp better when you study a little bit every day. Studying a little bit every day makes it easy at the time you revise a topic or subject. Daily study helps you remember everything you have studied in a clear and precise manner. Daily study improves memory during revision. Never leave anything untill the last minute. Last-minute study leads to stress and anxiety. Daily study habits help grasp and understand a topic or subject in-depth.

5. Read Out Loud instead of Reading in the Mind

The best way to memorize important information is by reading loud. When you read out what you are studying loudly you are more likely to remember it at a later stage when you revise. In certain topics or subjects where you need to remember definitions or sentences word by word, the best way to memorize is by reading loud. When you read in your mind you may read over and over again, but when you read out loud you are actually listening to what you read. The read-out-loud study technique makes memorizing easy during a study session.

6. Teach What You Learn

The best way to test if you have understood what you have studied is by teaching someone. You can explain what you have learned to your friends in class, and ask you friends to do the same. This study technique helps understand varied concepts in a topic or subject better. Grasping a complex concept is made easy when explanation is backed with an example.This study technique is often used by students for better memory and understanding.

7. Realize your Preferred Learning Style

Each one of us has a preferred way of learning. What works for one may not work for another. You need to find your most comfortable learning style and stick with it. You learn best in accordance with your style of studying. You could be an auditory learner, visual learner or tactile learner. Auditory learners like to learn by listening as they read their notes aloud and discuss with others. A number of auditory learners like to record key points and listen to them to memorize concepts precisely. Visual learners learn by seeing. Often visual learners use colors to note, mark or represent key points in a topic or subject. Visual learners also use diagrams or images to help remember or memorize concepts. Tactile learners often like to use role-playing or building models to memorize or revise. Implement a study technique or combine study techniques in accordance with what suits you best.

8. Create Associations with Mind Maps and Mnemonics

When you study you need to create mental association with mind maps. It is easier to remember and process information when you connect ideas with learning. A visual overview of different connections helps associate better while studying. Mnemonics refers to learning techniques that aid in information retention. Imagery, retrieval cues and elaborative encoding are used as tools for information that enable efficient storage and retrieval. A question often asked is how to create a mind map? Here are simple steps to create a mind map while studying

  • You need to have a central idea to establish a mind map. The starting point of your mind map is the central idea.
  • The central idea represents the subject or topic you are going to tackle or explore.
  • You add branches and sub-branches to the central idea in the form of keywords and key phrases.
  • Use color codes and symbols for your branches and sub-branches.
  • Use images and diagrams for association.

When you create association with mind maps, complex concepts are understood easily. Memory improves tremendously when you create associations with mind maps and mnemonics thereby helping you grasp and understand concepts better. The use of color codes, symbols, images and diagrams breaks down complex concepts into meaningful blocks that are easy to remember and understand.

9. Use the Right Font While Learning on the Computer

Aside from learning from books and notes, you may also be required to learn online. When you are studying on a laptop or desktop computer it is important to use a font that does not require much strain to read. A reason why Times New Roman is the default font on most applications is because the font is the easiest and fastest font you can read.

10. Revise what you Study and Learn

You need to revise what you study and learn regularly. What is taught in class should be revised at home. When you review and think things over you understand and remember solutions to complex concepts better. Ask your family members or friends to quiz you on what you have studied. Quizzes are a great way to understand what you know well and what you need to still learn. Attempt to solve questions that have appeared in previous years. Solving practice exam questions helps a great deal in gaining confidence studying before an exam.

11. Take Breaks from Studying

During long study sessions it is important to take a break. You need to relax your body and mind when you are studying. When you sense mental fatigue creeping in you should take a break from studying. When you feel tired or frustrated not understanding a concept you should move away from your study space. Spending a little time walking outdoors, or just observing nature around you can bring about a rejuvenating change in you. If you have a pet at home, spend time with your pet. The oodles of joy you get spending time with your pet brings about a transformation and vigor that can be channelized into understanding and concentrating better while studying. When you take a break from studies and come back fresh, you improve your memory and grasping power significantly.

12. Block Distracting Sites

When you are in study mode, you need to keep away from everything that distracts you. When you are learning or studying on the computer it is important that you block sites that are distracting. Keep in mind, a lapse in concentration can spell doom for you. Before an examination you need to remain focused. There are certain sites you are habituated to spending long hours. There is a possibility that you will be distracted when you are studying online. It’s best to restrict access to certain sites when you are studying online. Use free apps available online to block sites that you find distractive during studies.

13. Seek Help when you do not Understand

It’s always a wise idea to ask others for help when you are not able to grasp a certain concept or are stuck with a problem. It could be your friends, family members or teachers. Do not feel shy to ask questions. Remember, the more you ask the more you will learn. Talk to your teachers and lecturers about aspects you do not understand. Your teachers are there to guide you and make you understand in the best possible way. You come different perspectives in the form of answers when you ask questions. Getting varied answers to questions gives clarity in thought thereby helping you understand better.

14. Stay Motivated While Studying

All the hard work you put in your studies is to achieve something. Keep your aim and goal in mind when you are studying. The purpose of studying is to get somewhere. Remind yourself of what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it. You can read inspirational quotes to keep yourself motivated. Motivated students have clarity in thought which helps improve memory. When you are motivated even complex concepts or problems seem relatively easy to tackle.

15. Chew an Unfamiliar Gum or Use and Unfamiliar Perfume to Create Associations

This may sound absurd to many, but a great way to jog your memory and create mind map associations while studying is by chewing an unfamiliar gum flavor or using an unfamiliar perfume on pulse points. You can associate or remember certain concepts as you chew a peculiar gum. In the same vein wearing an unfamiliar perfume also helps associate with pictures and diagrams as you study.

16. Listen to Music that Calms the Mind while Studying

The type of music you listen to while studying is important. You may like listening to mainstream music genres, such as pop, rock, hip-hop, rap, and dance among others. However, listening to mainstream music genres while studying can be a distraction which could lead to a lapse in concentration. A great way to keep the mind calm while studying is with classical music or new age music which are meditative and reflective in expression. Music that calms the mind has the ability to refresh your thoughts and thereby improve memory and understanding. Make your study music list and play the tunes softly while you study.

17. Eat the Right Foods While Studying

It’s important you eat right when you are studying. Avoid eating junk food before a study session. Greasy foods are not easy to digest. As far as possible avoid eating street food. The last thing you would want is an upset stomach before an exam. It’s wise to eat meals or snacks made at home. Eat lean meats (grilled) such as chicken, turkey or fish as they are easy to digest. Also, add a lot of fruits and vegetables to your diet. Avoid having carbonated drinks as they make you drowsy. Instead, have plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. You can treat yourself occasionally to some fresh lemonade.Eating the right food helps you concentrate and focus on your studies, unlike junk food that makes you lethargic and lazy.

18. Study and Learn Through Group Study

You enhance your learning experience when you study in a group. When you discuss tasks, assignments and complex mathematical problems as a group you learn new ways to tackle or solve problems. Finding solutions in a group activity improves memory associated with learning something new. Furthermore, you are able to understand difficult concepts in a meaningful and productive manner in group study.

19. Meditate To Avoid Pre-Exam Stress

Every individual feels tense before a big test or exam. You do not know what questions will be asked in an exam. It’s natural to feel the flutter in your stomach as an exam approaches. You feel anxious about what is going to happen. Feeling the nerves is definitively okay, however when you get pre-exam stress it become difficult to concentrate and cope up with long study sessions. The best way to keep pre-exam stress away is through meditation. Different types of meditation techniques can be used to help students focus and concentrate better. Implementing simple breathing exercises used in yoga helps improve both physical and mental health.

20. Get Proper Sleep a Week before an Examination

You need to give your body and mind adequate rest before an exam. You may keep awake long hours studying at night; however, make sure you get sufficient sleep from the week before your exams. A tired body and mind requires sufficient rest in the form of sleep. When you wake up from a good night’s sleep, your brain assimilates information faster making it easier for you to remember what you have learned. Good sleep translates to better memory and understanding.

21. Devise you own Strategies to Study Better

While the aforementioned study techniques and study habits help a great deal, there are no set rules when it comes to studying. You can devise study strategies that work best for you. Every knowledgeable person known to you will have a recommendation on what works best for you. However, it’s you that knows what’s productive for you. Feel free to implement your own unique study techniques, study methods and study habits and explore your fullest potential with practice.

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