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Last Updated on October 30, 2020

Hack Your Learning With These 9 Simple Study Habits

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Hack Your Learning With These 9 Simple Study Habits

If you want to improve your learning and retentive capacity, good study habits are key, and they’re not difficult to pick up.

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 completely, so 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?

Impact Your Motivation

Study smarter says the adage, not harder. By building good and simple study habits and learning techniques, you will keep yourself supercharged. This will assist you in attaining your goals efficiently and quickly, which will help you maintain high levels of motivation.

You can check out the video below to help you learn how to train your brain to crave learning:

Position You for Success

Cultivating simple study skills is not only relevant to life in university; these skills will position you for success in life overall. 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.

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.

Save 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 give you more time to focus on other things that are crucial in your life.

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Enhance Your Learning

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

With these benefits, you may then ask which study habits are the most essential.

9 Study Habits to Hack Your Learning

You may already have a good grasp on some of these and be weaker in others. Focus on developing any of these study techniques to improve your ability to learn.

1. Review Often

Design a study plan to review your notes and other class materials. 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.

You can look at the graph below to get an idea of how reviewing helps you[1]. The more often you review, the less information you’ll forget over time.

Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve and review cycle. 

     

    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.

    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. You’ll also be in a better position to learn how to debate, teach, or analyze.

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    3. Employ Different Study Materials

    Do not depend on your book or all those good notes you take. Make use of different materials to aid your learning.

    If you’re not sure of your learning style, now is a good time to figure it out. If you’re a visual learner, making flash cards will likely be helpful. If you’re an auditory learner, try listening to additional podcasts or lectures on the topic. This is all about knowing your strengths and how your brain likes to learn.

    You can check out a learning style guide here to help you figure out which kind of learning will be best for you.

    4. Utilize Flashcards

    Employing flashcards can enhance memorization. It will assist you in recalling vital concepts and key terminology as it utilizes something called “active recall,” which refers to attempting to remember the concept from scratch rather than simply staring at the passage in a textbook[2].

     

    Flashcards will help you condense voluminous amount of notes. You can also form the study habit of drawing diagrams to recall important information and details about the topic.

    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.

    Research suggests that studying for one hour and then taking a 15-20 minute break is ideal[3].

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    6. Teach Others

    Several studies have found out that you learn better when you teach others a concept you have studied.[4]

    You cannot teach what you don’t know. Teaching other people positions you to learn as you have no option but to regularly recall learned information. This reinforces the information as you repeat while teaching others.

    At some point, your “students” will ask questions, which you will need to analyze before providing answers. In this way, 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 work more on.

    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 and manage your study time.

    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, which is known as a mnemonic[5].

    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.

    9. Take Good Care of Yourself

    This is one of the key study habits that most learners don’t manage properly. Getting a good night’s sleep and eating healthy both affect your ability to assimilate information. Learners who neglect proper diet and quality sleep will find it hard to retain information fast.

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    You should drink at least eight glasses of water, have eight hours of sleep, and a eat balanced diet daily. Foods such as berries, fish, groundnuts, eggs, and broccoli have been found out to boost brainpower.

    How to Learn Study Habits

    How can you learn these study habits in order to learn more effectively?

    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 learning this impact your career and personal development?

    Set Priorities

    Several topics will likely clamor for your attention. It’s important to prioritize them. Perhaps you work better by starting with the most complex topics, or you prefer to get your feet wet with an easier piece of information. Choose what works best for you.

    Plan

    Design a daily study 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, especially if it’s a topic you’re struggling to understand.

    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

    Everyone learns differently, and each brain picks up information in different ways. However you learn, the study habits mentioned in this article will help you remember important information to become more productive while studying. Pick which ones you think will work best for you and get started.

    More to Help You Learn Faster

    Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on August 11, 2021

    23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

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    23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

    Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless. Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent, free online education awaits on the following 23 sites.

    1. Coursera

    Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

    Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

    Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups. However, the free courses are now quite limited, so you’ll have to

    2. Khan Academy

    Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well-organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

    Among the more well-known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly user-friendly, which may make it easier to keep learning goals. If you’re looking for a free online education, you can’t go wrong with Khan Academy.

    3. Open Culture Online Courses

    If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos, and podcasts from universities around the world.

    The site features a lot of material found only on universities’ private sites, all in easy-to-browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses without having to visit and search each university’s site.

    Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales, and many state universities around the United States. It’s a very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

    4. Udemy 

    Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

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    Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top-quality content. This is another site, however, that mixes free and paid content.

    5. Lifehack Fast Track Class

    Lifehack believes in skills that multiply your time, energy, and overall quality of life.

    In this rapidly changing world, traditional education skills just don’t cut it anymore. You can’t afford to take years learning a skill you’ll never really practice. Besides offering some paid courses that will help you become a better self, it offers a list of free courses which aim to train some of the Core Life Multipliers including:

    These are cross-functional skills that work across many aspects of life.

    6. Academic Earth

    Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

    Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

    7. edX

    Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics from universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, meaning a high-quality, free online education is entirely possible here.

    8. Alison

    Unlike the previous sites on this list, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

    It’s a great option if users need a professional certificate for their learning, as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

    9. iTunesU Free Courses

    A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

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    Desktop users can access iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

    Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including by genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos and paid content.

    iTunesU does include courses on a variety of topics, but it does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

    10. Stanford Online

    Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session-based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

    Stanford Online is a great site for high-quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school. If you’re looking for free courses, make sure to mark the “free” option on the left-hand side.

    11. Open Yale Courses

    Open Yale Courses echoes Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses but learn better by watching than by reading.

    12. UC Berkeley Class Central

    Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but it includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts, and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

    13. MIT OpenCourseWare

    Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, and it includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

    14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

    Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list. However, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics, but for the topics that are covered, impressive, in-depth material is available.

    15. Codecademy

    Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

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    The courses at Codecademy are well-written and easy to follow, and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, and it organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

    16. Code

    Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high-quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

    In addition to kid-friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics, and Javascript.

    Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

    17. University of Oxford Podcasts

    The University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

    The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. This is another great site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

    18. BBC Podcasts

    For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

    Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

    19. TED-Ed

    Another great destination for more general learning and free online education is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all-encompassing, motivational web series comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

    Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, but it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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    20. LessonPaths

    LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high-quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

    21. Memrise

    Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

    Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

    22. National Geographic Kids

    The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid-friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keep kids interested on this site.

    National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

    23. Fun Brain

    Fun Brain is another great option for kids looking for free online education, as it focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game-based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

    Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and it is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

    The Bottom Line

    With so many amazing free online education resources, everyone has the ability to boost their skills and knowledge. Whether you’re interested in picking up some interesting trivia for your next party, improve your resume with some coding or business skills, or become a more well-rounded person, these resources are perfect for you.

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    Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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