Learning is an important part of student’s life, and memory is the fundamental tool in learning process.
We are taught to develop our memorization skills at any early age and often good memorization skills lead to success in exams. We have seen many students top grade in spite of studying for a short period of time while others constantly struggle and cram same topics for days, despite don’t achieve success. These students always ask themselves that what are those golden habits of high achievers they lack? What successful students do differently that makes them so smart without much effort? The answer to these questions is they study smarter not harder.
A science journalist Benedict Carey in his book ‘How we learn’ has described some of the smart steps that will make you an efficient learner.1) WATER YOUR BRAIN:For the growth of a plant, it is more beneficial to water it 5 minutes daily in a week rather than watering it for one hour constantly in a week. Similarly for learning something effectively it is better to study one hour one time than to allocate three hours straight to study at one time. According to Benedict, this effect is called ‘Spacing effect’ or ‘Distributed effect’. This effect can increase the performance of the brain up to 46%. It is because our concentration at the start and end of a session is at its peak so, shorter study sessions will help you to memorize effectively than continuous hours of cramming.2) UNTESTESTED FLUENCY IS AN ILLUSION:We all might have gone through this situation.
Suppose you have a test tomorrow you learn a topic by repeating it again and again, and at last you might feel that you have memorized it and instead of testing yourself; you move on to another topic and the very next day when you see the same topic on the exam you try to remember what you learn but couldn’t this is called ‘Fluency Illusion’ when some lines are written before your eyes, and you keep reading it an illusion is created in your brain that you have learnt it, but you haven’t, and you move on leaving it.To avoid being trapped by fluency illusion try reading a line one time and recall it three times in your head instead of reading a line three times without recalling it.3) CHANGE IS GOOD:Every student must have heard his/her parents advising to make a proper routine and place to study, in one room, at one place in order to remain focused during study but, Science paints a completely different picture relating to the myth of a proper routine and scientifically change of environment is good for brain activity, being distrubed and changing your place of study produces better results than sitting in the same surrounding everytime.Learning needs context and by learning the same material in different place and time you will get additional contexts to connect the memories f what you are trying to learn, it will enhance your focus, and you will learn better in a changed environment. So try another room, another time of day to study.4) QUESTION YOURSELF:You can also learn a great deal just by questioning yourself. Because by questioning yourself you will become an active learner instead of a passive recipient of the information. When you question yourself, you will be connecting and elaborating information you have learned and it will increase the likelihood that you will remember what you have learned.
After finishing a topic or chapter close your book and asks questions to yourself about what you learn in that topic, and if you don’t know the answer to your question trying re-reading the topic until you know it thoroughly.5) BEING MIXED UP:It seems that varied study is much effective than harping on the same material for an extended period. When you have a firm grip on a particular subject try to surround yourself with new material and mix different subjects together. This process of mixing will help you see the distinctions between each topic, and you will achieve a clear grasp on each of the subjects individually. Therefore it can be said that it’s easier to memorize new data more clearly when using it alongside other, recognizable ones.6) SNOOZING IS IMPORTANT:Short nap during study is significant as when you learn something new and then take a nap it will help your brain retain the information you learned because when we sleep the important information in our subconscious mind starts to incorporate it permanently in our brain while all the unimportant information gets eliminated.
So remember short naps during study is not a loss, but it is very important for retaining information for a long period of time.7) ZEIGARNIK EFFECT:In psychology, Zeigarnik effect refers to a state when people can remember an uncompleted tasks better than the completed ones. This effect was first studied by Bluma Zeigarnik.Therefore, after giving an exam our mind forgets what we had learned because the task has been completed. We can use Zeigarnik effect for our benefit by doing some unrelated activities during study like watching television, taking a walk or a nap and by getting distracted in the fore-mentioned ways we can learn the material better this also enhances our creative abilities.This likewise implies interruptions, controlled or uncontrolled, can advance critical thinking and inventiveness. While permeation is going on, you are likewise more prone to see things in your condition that are some way or another associated with your concern, and may even give imperative clues that advance our learning.So, use the above described seven techniques to memorize efficiently and to remember what you have learned for a delayed period.
By using these techniques for a couple of weeks try to learn something and see what results you get, you might be surprised how easy it is to study smarter not harder.