By Irene Tsengas
Have you ever spent a night cramming for a big test or exam? Maybe you spent hours looking over the same information and it still seemed like you would never learn it? We have all had these experiences and wished we could have avoided them. Here to help, are some of the best scientifically proven tips to get the most out of your study sessions.
First, let’s look at some of the best techniques to try before you sit down to study. Experts in health, fitness, and psychology agree that exercise has a profound effect on the body. But how can exercise help you study? A 2011 study was conducted that revealed there was more activity in the brains of rats with a running wheel in their cage rather than those in an empty cage. Evidence of this has also been shown in humans. In another 2011 study, 120 men and women were assigned either walking or stretching programs. The people who were assigned walking programs showed better cognitive function and better memory. The exercise doesn’t have to be taxing on you either. Even just going for a quick walk before preparing for a test could make quite a difference. The other technique to try is to relax. I know it’s easier said than done but stress has a negative effect on the brain and memorization. Simply taking a few deep breaths before you sit down to study could have an improvement on your work.
The next question when it comes to improving your studying is where and when to study. Although it may seem counter intuitive, the best time of day to study is right before you go to bed. Listening to audio as you are falling asleep is the most efficient way to take in information you need to remember. Sleep depriving yourself isn’t a good idea though because your brain recharges as you sleep. Learning information when you are tired and then getting some rest will help you to better retain the knowledge. There is no particular place you should study but sitting in the same place every time you work could hinder your ability to learn. Even just sitting in a different room in your house can trigger your brain to learn better. This is actually the reason that your teachers make you change seats midway through the year.
If you are still unsure if you know what you need for your next test, try teaching others. Helping other people learn a topic is a great way to ensure you know the material. After all, if you can get someone else to understand a topic then you must have a pretty good grip on it yourself! Teaching people can also help you be more confident in yourself when talking to others.