You probably have some strategy about learning new material and studying in general - you built it throughout your school years. But what if it is not very effective and even wrong? Now we got you thinking… don’t worry, we have gathered some pretty useful methods about learning and remembering your study material.
Most students just reread the study materials repeatedly, which is a passive way of learning and remembering. What you need to do is implementing a more active approach, such as using notes, diagrams, self-examination, creating associations, etc.
Asking questions is a simple but very effective technique to use instead of just rereading the notes you took during the lecture, or from the text book. Rereading the study materials several times will just give you a false feeling that you already know and remember everything. Stop right there! Separate the text in few parts and think of suitable questions about each one. Write the questions down and start asking yourself. If you cannot answer properly and you feel like you are missing something, go back to the part related to your question and find the answer there.
This learning technique improves your memory and also gives you a deeper understanding of the study material, because you are not just repeating what you have read, but you actually answer real questions that might later reappear in your work or life.
Make diagrams of the information you must memorise. First, in order to create a good visualisation, you need a good understanding of the study material. Second, you need to find and summarize the most important information of a certain topic. And third, you will need to find a good way to make the visualisation understandable and to the point. These 3 steps are all active learning and will help you remembering the study material easily.
The last and most important advantage of this method is that you will be able to connect the big blocks of text and your notes to a sole diagram or table. You can use all the visualisations that you created while revising the study material even in the last hours before the actual test or exam.
A common practice among students is to study at the last moment – with some it works just fine, but only with the sole purpose of passing the exams. We know that passing exams and forgetting everything you have studied the last couple of days, the moment you pass it, is really ruining everything. You cannot use this information that you studied anymore, neither in your next exams nor in your life in the future.
The best thing to do is to study over a longer time period, using breaks. Prepare your flashcards and your questions while you are resting.