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Published on January 7, 2020

Hack Your Learning With These 9 Simple Study Habits

Hack Your Learning With These 9 Simple Study Habits

Do you know you can learn some good study habits if you desire to improve your learning and retentive capacity?

These study habits incorporate approaching study with a positive mindset, selecting an appropriate learning environment, avoiding or reducing distractions, establishing a realistic study schedule, and leveraging learning techniques and memory games.

It is no doubt you face a lot of issues in your daily lives, and these things compete for your attention. This makes it difficult for you to focus during your learning or study sessions.

These issues will never go away at any point in time, but you will need to be proactive in improving study habits that can help you hack your learning.

Find out why study habits are important and the habits you need to cultivate to enhance your knowledge.

Why Are Study Habits Important?

Good Study Habits Impact Your Motivation Level

Study smarter says the adage, not harder. By building good and simple study habits, as well as learning techniques, you will keep yourself supercharged. This will assist you in attaining your goals efficiently and quickly.

Improving Study Habits Positions You For Success

Cultivating simple study skills is not only relevant to the university; these skills will position you for success in life. Every leader out there from Bill Gates to Elon Musk is a die-hard reader and learner. If you desire success in life, be studious.

Effective Study Habits Increase Your Self-Esteem

Good study habits impact your competence, confidence, and self-esteem. When you lose your self-esteem, you can lose the motivation required to learn.

Study habits help in safeguarding the most crucial ingredient to your success. It can also reduce the anxiety you usually have about deadlines.

Developing Good Study Habits Saves You Time

As soon as you become proficient in your studying skills, you will cut down on the hours you spend on studying. This will save you more time to focus on other things that are crucial in your life.

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Good Study Habits Enhance Your Learning

Cultivating practical study skills will improve your retentive capacity and your ability to learn. It will also make learning to be more exciting and rewarding.

With these benefits, you may then ask, ‘what are the essential study habits?’ Read on.

9 Study Habits to Hack Your Learning

1. Review Often

Design a study plan to review your study notes. This will help you to maximize every study session. It will also reduce the pressure of cramming before any significant examination or job interview.

Reviewing is also a means of enabling your brain to store facts and new information in your long-term memory. If you cram often, you tend to forget what you have learned as the information will be stored in the short-term memory.

2. Comprehend

Some learners try to memorize all the information while studying without trying to comprehend it. They will find it difficult to cope when they are faced with structured questions during examinations or interviews where the application of knowledge is needed. Some even claimed they failed a test they prepared hard for without knowing they did not understand what they studied.

If you study to comprehend, you will be in a better position to attempt any question on various topics presented to you. It becomes easier to explain a hard concept when you study to understand the concept.

3. Employ Different Study Materials

Do not depend on your book or lecture notes. Make use of different materials to aid your learning.

This study habit enables you to understand the topic you are studying thoroughly. It also helps you to prepare for any major test or examination.

You can access Lynda Library or other online and local libraries to source for materials relating to the topic you are studying.

4. Utilize Flash Cards

Employing flashcards can enhance memorization. It will assist you in recalling vital concepts and key terminologies.

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Flashcards will help you condense the voluminous amount of notes. You can also form the study habit of drawing diagrams to recall important information and details about the topics. This technique will help you revise before a major examination, test, or interview quickly.

Using flashcards can be very helpful as you can carry them around everywhere you go.

5. Take Breaks

Breaks are very crucial in between study sessions. It helps you to store and retain information in your long term memory.

Prolonged studying can make you feel tired and put pressure on you. You cannot learn effectively when you are under pressure.

Overloading your brain can cause congestion. Taking breaks will provide your brain the required time needed to refresh before absorbing new information.

You can take a break of 10 minutes, having studied for thirty minutes to one hour. You can watch an exciting video clip during this break or take a walk in the garden to relax your nerves.

6. Teach Others

Several studies have found out that you learn better when you teach others a concept you have studied.[1]

You cannot teach what you don’t know. Teaching other people positions you to learn as you have no option but to express the information in your words. This is because you reinforce the information as you repeat while teaching others.

At some points, your students will ask questions which you will need to analyze before providing answers. Teaching enables you to gain a better understanding of the topic.

7. Evaluate Yourself

Evaluation is essential to determine if you understand what you are studying. It will enable you to gauge which aspect you need to dwell on.

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Most times, you think you know a topic, but when you evaluate yourself using the test, you will find the topic or concept challenging.

Evaluating yourself enables you to gain an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. You can leverage online tests or quiz.

Most books have evaluation sections or questions to answer. These are designed to test your knowledge. The evaluation also helps you in managing your time during the study.

8. Link Your Previous Knowledge to What You Are Learning

You can link your study notes to concepts you have learned previously. This helps you to recall things accurately.

Utilizing analogy can enable you to learn the content faster. You can also make use of acronyms to recall concepts. This method is also known as MNEMONIC.[2]

For instance, the BODMAS acronym is utilized to solve difficult mathematical problems. Any mathematics student understands that subtraction comes last while solving a mathematical problem, thanks to the BODMAS acronym. This can also be applied while learning.

9. Take Good Care of Yourself

This is an aspect that most learners don’t manage properly. Quality sleep and healthy eating habits affect your assimilation. Learners who neglect proper diet and quality sleep will find it hard to retain information fast.

You should drink at least eight glasses of water, have eight hours of sleep, and a take balanced diet daily. Food such as berries, fish, groundnut, egg, and broccoli have been found out to boost brainpower: 12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

How to Learn Study Habits

So, how to learn these study habits in order to learn more effectively?

Do the following before you study:

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Focus on the Big Picture

How many topics do you want to cover? What amount of time do you have to cover them? What’s the purpose, target, or objective of studying the topics? How will the exercise impact your career and personal development?

Set Priorities

Several topics would clamor for your attention. It is important to prioritize them in order of importance. I recommend starting with the simplest to the most complex topics.

Plan

Design a schedule of what you want to study and when. A learning or study calendar is one of the essential tools to organize your learning activities.

Allocate a Considerable Amount of Time

It does not matter what purpose you have for studying; cramming is the least effective means of retaining information in your long term memory. You need considerable time to study in advance to achieve your learning objectives.

Establish a Suitable Study Area

Discover a spot where you can quickly spread out your materials, notepad, books, and your computer. The place should be well-lit, cozy, and devoid of distraction. It could be inside a public library or a private study area in your house.

The Bottom Line

The study habits mentioned in this article will help you to become more productive while studying and learning.

Utilize different materials and resources for adequate comprehension. Introduce breaks into your study sessions so you can recharge from pressure.

If you imbibe these study habits, you will find it easier to hack your learning.

More to Help You Learn Faster

Featured photo credit: Bonnie Kittle via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

Do you forget stuff every now and then? Are you trying to enhance your memory but not sure how?

All you need is the right memorization techniques to make the most of your memory.

The human brain is fascinating. More specifically, the vast interconnections within our mind. Mendel Kaelen compares the human brain to a hill covered in snow,

“Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time it becomes more and more difficulty to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction.”

The intent of Kaelen’s discussion is to think of new ways to temporarily flatten the snow. Kaelen remarked,

“The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.”

The idea here is to temporarily rewire your brain, or as Michael Pollan remarked in How to Change Your Mind,

“The power to shake the snow globe, disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility-entropy-in which more salubrious patterns and narratives have an opportunity to coalesce as the snow slowly settles.”

So, how can we rewire our brain allowing deeply worn connections to disappear and new connections to form? The answer is quite simple. We must change the way we store information in our mind.

    Let’s examine 5 specific memorization techniques that will change the way you think and remember information.

    1. Build a Memory Palace

      What is it?

      The method of loci[1] (aka memory palace) is a method of memory enhancement using visualizations with the use of spatial memory. It uses familiar information about your environment to quickly recall information. It is a method that was discussed by Cicero in an ancient dialogue called De Oratore.

      How to use it?

      Ron White discusses in How to Memorize Fast and Easily: Build a Memory Palace, that it’s essentially a room or building that you have memorized and you use locations in the room to store data. Ron informs us,

      “You memorize locations in a room and then you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.”

      Example

      An easy 5-step example, in the form of a Wiki, can be found at Artofmemory.com. Let’s examine the the steps:

      • Step 1. Choose a place that you know well. For example, your house or office.
      • Step 2. Plan the route and pick specific locations in your route. For example, your front door, bathroom kitchen, etc.
      • Step 3. Decide what you want to memorize. For example, geography, list of items, answers for a test, etc.
      • Step 4. Place one or two items, with a mental image, and place them in your memory palace. Exaggerate your images. For example, use nudity or crazy images forcing it to stick in your mind.
      • Step 5. Make the image into a mnemonic.

      You can learn more about this technique here: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

      2. Mnemonic

        What is it?

        A mnemonic is a memory device that aids in retention and/or retrieval of information. Mnemonic systems are techniques consciously used to improve memory by helping us use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization easier.[2]

        How to use it?

        Mnemonics make use of retrieval cues to encode information in our brain allowing for efficient storage and retrieval of the information. The trick is to learn how to easily create mnemonics. If you find that you struggle with creating your own, try the following website: Mnemonic Generator.

        Example

        I recently came across a video using mnemonics to memorize countries. Memorizing Countries using Mnemonics is a video created as an introduction to a class for using memory techniques to learn the names of countries on maps.

        I actively search for videos that provide enormous educational value, yet receive very little exposure. At the time of this writing, this video has received less than 4k views. Let’s examine the video.

        Goal: Create a mnemonic to memorize the countries in the Caribbean (just the countries you need to learn).

        Step 1. Looking at a map – write out each country (for which five were chosen).

        Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

        Step 2. Write the first letter of each country vertically.

        C

        J

        H

        D

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        P

        Step 3. Create a sentence or phrase.

        Cubs

        Just

        Hate

        Doing

        Push-ups

        Cubs just hate doing push-ups. (Cuba Jamaica Haiti Dominican Republic Puerto Rico)

        3. Mnemonic Peg System

          What is it?

          According to Artofmemory.com, a mnemonic peg system is a technique for memorizing lists and it works by memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent.[3] These objects are the pegs of the system.

          How to use it?

          The trick is to create a Number Rhyme System with each number having a rhyming mnemonic keyword.

          Example

          Let’s look at an example of a Number Rhyme System:[4]

          0 = hero

          1 = gun

          2 = shoe

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          3 = tree

          4 = door

          5 = hive

          6 = sticks

          7 = heaven

          8 = gate

          9 = line

          Another technique like the Peg system is the Number Shape System.[5] Here you are assigning mnemonic images based on the shape of the number. Watch the following video for an example of this system: Number Shape System for Memorizing Numbers.

          4. Chunking

            What is it?

            Chunking is a way to remember large bits of information by chunking them into smaller pieces of information. We are more likely to then remember the information when we put the small pieces back together to see the entire picture.

            How to use it?

            In the video Chunking – A Learning Technique, we can see that there are several ways to chunk information.

            Example

            Let’s examine a simple example using a nine-digit number.

            Step 1. What is the number you are trying to remember?

            081127882

            Step 2. Cut the number into smaller pieces through chunking.

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            081 – 127 – 882

            Let’s look at one more example from the same video.

            “Piano teachers will first demonstrate an entire song to students. They will then ask their students to practice one measure at a time. Once the part has been learned and the neural connections in the brain have been built, then students go on to the next measure. After all chunks have been played separately, they are combined until the entire piece is connected.”

            5. Transfer of Learning

              What is it?

              Transfer of learning is a way to learn something in one area and apply it in another. Authors of Thinking at Every Desk, Derek and Laura Cabrera inform us about the transfer of learning,

              “If a student has a high transfer skills, she can learn one thing and then teach herself 10, 50, or 100 additional things.”

              How to use it?

              There are two specific ways to use it:

              1. Vertical Transfer (aka Far Transfer). Think of learning something in grade school and applying it another grade or later in life.
              2. Horizontal Transfer (aka Near Transfer). Think of learning a concept in history and applying it in math.

              Example

              I provide a detailed step-by-step example for this technique in this article:

              Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

              The Bottom Line

              The key to using the techniques discussed here is to remember that we must actively think about information.

              We cannot simply drill information into our brain through rote memorization. We must change the way we think about memorization. We must find a way to “shake the snow-globe” in our mind or flatten the snow so that we can create new learning paths.

              Or as Derek and Laura Cabrera point out, we must insert “Thinking” into the equation,

              “Information X Thinking = Knowledge”

              More About Enhancing Memories

              Featured photo credit: Nong Vang via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Remember Everything: Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci
              [2] The Learning Center Exchange: 9 Types of Mnemonics for Better Memory
              [3] Art of Memory: Mnemonic Peg System
              [4] Art of Memory: Number Rhyme System
              [5] Art of Memory: Number Shape System

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