Posted August 30, 2017
When taking a class for personal enrichment or professional education, you want to use your study time efficiently to remember the material learned. Since most students have different learning styles, education experts recommend focusing on developing good study skills, and using tools and techniques that aid memory recall. Here are five ways to enhance your study habits:
- Make a plan – Write down your goals for the class, including how you will use the course material, and the grade you want to earn. This information will help you determine the number of study hours needed weekly to achieve these goals. If you’re juggling work and family responsibilities, you’ll need to block out time on your calendar for studying.
- Find the best location – Some people like to study at a coffee shop with music playing in the background while others prefer a quiet space, such as a library. Know the environment that helps you focus, but don’t go to the same spot each time. Research shows that visiting different libraries or coffee shops stimulates your brain and makes it easier to retain the information you’re learning.
- Minimize interruptions – It’s easy to get distracted by people talking or your phone beeping with new messages. Reduce distractions by turning off your phone and using noise-cancelling headphones to block out noise. Set a timer for a dedicated block of concentrated study time, such as 45 minutes. When the time is up, take a 10-minute break to stretch and check your phone before digging back into your books.
- Mix up learning techniques – Enhance learning by using different tools, such as:
- Marking important pages or specific topics with sticky notes and flags.
- Identifying key points with colorful pens or highlighters.
- Taking notes on cards and filing them by topic in a box.
- Digging deeper into topics by watching videos, reading blogs and visiting social media sites. Your brain will connect this new information to material you’ve studied.
- Making learning more interesting and memorable by creating mnemonics or acronyms to remember key dates, facts and statistics.
- Organizing study groups with like-minded students to review class notes and quiz each other.
- Take regular breaks – After studying for several hours, give your brain a break so it can assimilate the material you’ve learned. Go work out, refresh your drinks and snacks, or get together with friends. Afterwards, you’ll feel physically and mentally refreshed and ready to return to your studies.