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Last Updated on October 30, 2020

Hack Your Learning With These 9 Simple Study Habits

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 November 4, 2020

    The Importance of Self Improvement No Matter How Old You Are

    The Importance of Self Improvement No Matter How Old You Are

    Ever since we were young, we were told to excel in academics, focus on getting good grades and ace our exams. In schools and colleges, the learning has always been more directed towards academic courses but what about aspects like self-improvement and personal development that play an equally important role in people’s lives?

    The importance of self-improvement often goes unnoticed. We are either conveniently brushing our shortcomings under the carpet, refusing to face them or are just happy being ignorant. Truth is – you cannot run away from yourself. The farther you run, the deeper a grave you dig because there will come a time when all those unresolved emotions will surface, leaving you overwhelmed.

    So, what should you do? Start with consciously becoming more self-aware, observing your thoughts, emotions and responses and deciding to make self-improvement an integral part of your life.

    Just the way learning should never stop, the same applies for self-improvement. The idea should be to focus on continuous self-development at every stage in our life and become better versions of ourselves.

    Here are 12 reasons why self-improvement is important irrespective of your age:

    1. Increase Self-Awareness

    We spend so much time getting to know other people and solve their issues. If only we spent that much time knowing ourselves, things would have been so much more different. Isn’t it?

    The first step of self-improvement requires you to become more self-aware and get to know yourself better. It makes you question yourself and face reality for what it is, however harsh it might be.

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    Self-awareness is an ongoing journey – as life progresses, you are met with different experiences and challenges, which make you more aware of your personality, thoughts and feelings. So, in order to be on the path of self-improvement, it is important to never lose touch with yourself.

    2. Enhance Strengths

    Self-improvement lets you identify your personal strengths and play on them. From relationships to careers – knowing your strengths is important for every sphere of your life.

    It gives you a better understanding of what you are seeking and where you are likely to thrive and excel. It helps you set life goals and make them happen. After all, you can only achieve what you want when you KNOW what you want.

    By nurturing and playing on your strengths, you are more likely to attain success and move towards shaping a happier and more productive life.

    3. Overcom Weaknesses

    While identifying strengths is an important aspect of self-improvement, so is coming to terms with your weaknesses. Don’t be ashamed of them, look at them as areas of improvement. We all have strengths and weaknesses that shape our personality. It is these imperfections that make us human.

    The goal of improving yourself should be to look beyond those weaknesses that are stopping you from achieving greatness. Accept your weaknesses, identify where they stem from and be determined to overcome them.

    It’s not easy but it’s certainly not impossible. Let your journey of self-improvement turn every weakness into a strength and only take you upward.

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    4. Step out of Comfort Zone

    The ‘comfort zone’ is a dangerous place to be in. It surely feels good, but it also denotes stagnancy and where there is stagnancy, you can never find growth.

    Choosing to work on improving yourself requires you to step out of your comfort zone. It lets you face your fears, try new things, take risks and challenge yourself. There will be times when you will discover a new side of your personality but there will also be times when you will fail.

    Don’t let those failures bog you down. The fact that you tried should motivate you to never get complacent and too comfortable in familiar spaces because as they say, life begins outside your comfort zone.

    5. Improve Mental Health

    One of the biggest importance of self-improvement is the positive impact it has on mental health. When you work on yourself, you get to know yourself better which lets you deal with your thoughts and emotions more effectively. You begin to understand why you are experiencing certain emotions and learn how to tackle them with time.

    Someone who is not self-aware and not focused on improving themselves will have absolutely no control over their reactions which can lead to added stress and anxiety. Being in denial is never the answer.

    6. Heal Relationships

    When you work on improving yourself, you automatically improve your relations with those around you. For example, if your short-tempered nature has always been a cause of concern in your relationships, by consciously working on that aspect of your personality, you learn how to tame your anger and become calmer. This positive change reflects in your personal and professional relationships and enhances them.

    The key to combat conflicts and build meaningful relationships starts with looking inward and developing yourself first. Moreover, when you strive to become a self-sufficient person and have a positive self-image, you are bound to nurture healthy relationships.

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    7. Motivating Factor

    Imagine climbing up a mountain – every hurdle you cross, motivates you to go higher. The same analogy holds true when it comes to self-improvement. Every fear and weakness you overcome motivates you to continue on the path of self-improvement and evolve further.

    Self-improvement and motivation go hand in hand. When you see yourself developing as a human being, you are filled with optimism and the drive to push yourself to do better. It is a continuous cycle that needs you to maintain your motivation levels and be committed to continuous growth.

    8. Better Decision Making

    We are required to make decisions at every step in our lives and every decision has a repercussion. Moreover, it is not about making decisions as much as it is about being confident about the decision taken.

    Good decision making skills come from a place of clarity, self-awareness and confidence which is a direct result of self-improvement. When you know what you want to achieve out of a situation and set your goals accordingly, you are able to make better, informed decisions.

    9. Sense of Purpose

    Deciding to walk the path of self-improvement and personal development gives your life purpose and meaning. Why is that important, you ask? It’s because it helps you stay focused on your life goals, makes you feel alive and keeps you motivated. It improves mental and physical well-being by keeping you on the right track.

    With a sense of purpose, you learn to accept all the challenges that come along the way because you have your eyes set on what really matters – the ‘bigger picture’.

    10. More Clarity

    With all the distractions one is bombarded with, mental clarity is a tough state to attain. However, when you make self-improvement the primary goal of your life, you begin to start becoming more authentic and removing the clutter from your life.

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    Gaining clarity lets you stay focused and not engage in anything that takes you away from your goal. That said, there will be moments of confusion and indecisiveness but with experience, you will grow to become more surer of yourself while gaining clarity about your life.

    11. Instill a Learning Attitude

    People who are invested in their continuous self-improvement come with an extremely positive attitude towards learning. It shows that they are aware of their shortcomings and are open to receiving feedback in order to improve.

    Instead of being ignorant and escaping from their problems, they make it a point to learn from their mistakes to grow and succeed.

    This is a wonderful quality to have as having a learning attitude is instrumental in achieving success.

    12. Cultivate Self-love

    Last but not the least, self-improvement cultivates self-love and compassion. By seeing yourself grow with every passing day, you build on your confidence and self-esteem.

    Many might debate that if you love yourself why must you want to change but that’s not true. Self-improvement is not changing yourself out of frustration. It is more about focusing on what matters to you and overcoming any mental hurdles that might be stopping you from reaching your highest potential .

    Bonus: Books to Help You Improve Yourself

    The Bottom Line

    Take this enriching journey of self-improvement in a positive light. The idea is not to get demotivated along the way and lose hope. You should instead take full responsibility of yourself and strive to go beyond your preconceived notions that might be limiting you and this can only be achieved with constant self-improvement.

    So, whether you are a retired 65-year old or a 26-year old who is just starting off his/her career  – remember that you will always be work in progress and there can never be an end to learning about yourself. That is what makes life purposeful and fun.

    More Resources About Self Improvement

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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