We all know the struggle of spending hours studying for a test or trying to cram the notes last minute but when was that ever really effective? Nobody wants to sacrifice the time out of their day to study for hours upon hours just to forget all of the information later on. Many students struggle with this issue and find it difficult to have the motivation to continue studying, but there are remedies to help solve this problem. By studying creatively and efficiently, we can better remember information and spend less time on studying overall.
Different and effective studying methods include break intervals, listening to binaural beats concentration music, chunking out the work, creating mind maps, and finding ways to apply the information learned. One of the more uncommon ways to study include listening to binaural beats. Binaural beats can be good for a variety of things including anxiety, focus, creativity, sleep, meditation, and more. This can be very effective for remaining focused while studying and could possibly help you remember information better as well. You may be feeling a little skeptical while reading this as it's not a common practice, but you'll never know if it works until you try!
Working Smarter Not Harder
Like I said previously, we've all tried cramming an entire unit’s worth of information the day before a test. Sometimes we get distracted in life or procrastinate that we get stuck trying to cram information last minute. Obviously, this isn't good for retaining information long-term but there are better ways to learn more efficiently without spending as much time studying.
One way to remember information better is by chunking out the information into smaller sections over the course of a week or before the test.
Instead of studying it all at once, break up the unit into different sections and study for some time each day. You will remember the information better when splitting it up over a period of time.
Did you know that we remember the first and last things on a list better than the things in the middle?
My teacher told us this in my psychology class and said that we retain the first and last things more than the middle content because it’s easier to remember.
Use this information to your advantage!
If you know you need to spend more time studying the content you learned in the middle rather than the first or last units, do it.
Ever wonder why after writing down multiple pages of notes you still didn’t do so well on the test? This is because you’re not taking notes efficiently or making them memorable. In order to fully understand something learned, you cannot just simply rewrite what you learned and move on. Rewriting things is only beneficial for memorizing information short-term. We can understand information more in-depth when we apply the knowledge learned to our own lives or create examples of the information learned.
For example, instead of simply stating the definition of a word in your notes, take it a step further and use that word in a sentence or apply that word to your life. Once you’re ready to take your test, you will most likely remember the example you came up with, especially if it's creative and unique!
If your notes are all one bland, boring color, how are you going to remember all of your information?
Try using different colored pens to correspond with your different topics, or create mind maps instead of writing lists of information.
By using the creative side of your brain for notes, you are creating a more memorable experience, therefore helping you remember that information better on the test.
If you aren’t a creative person, try looking up some ideas on the internet or on Pinterest for creative note-taking.
Staying Physically and Mentally Healthy
With so much pressure on getting good grades in all of your classes, it can be hard to keep up with your mental and physical health. Sometimes we get so busy with homework and extracurricular activities that we forget to even take care of ourselves. Neglecting to eat or sleep can be detrimental to your physical and mental health, and certainly, won’t help you on test day. In order for your brain to function properly during the day and use its full potential, you must be fueling your body with food and getting enough sleep. I know plenty of kids who have tried to study late at night the day before a test and only end up getting around 4 hours of sleep- this is a huge mistake.
By not eating enough or depriving yourself of enough sleep, your brain is going to be too tired to focus or remember all of the information you studied the night before. Keeping all of this in mind, remember to reward yourself after all of your hard work and achievements. Let loose once in a while, and stay kind to yourself.