Studying, the inevitable doom of every student’s life. As a career mentoring service Dheya understands the importance of effective strategies for studying. While every student can sit in front of their desk for hours together, only a few students can actually accomplish something in a long study session. It’s important to approach studying in the right way to retain the most amount of information in your mind. We need to remember that we are humans and not the voice recording application on our phones. It is physically impossible for us to cram hundreds of pages one day before our exam and expect to remember everything for the rest of our lives.
On that note, Let’s try and understand how our brain remembers and forgets things.
The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve
This is the easiest way for us to understand how we the pattern of how we remember things. For example, let’s assume that you have a Geography exam tomorrow. You haven’t studied at all but you pull off an all-nighter and manage to go through the whole textbook in one night!
According to the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, you might forget 50 percent of what you read the last night in the next 24 hours. You’ll forget another 40 percent in the coming week, and you’ll forget literally everything in the next month. This whole study by Hermann Ebbinghaus suggests what we should’ve realized ages ago. Studying is a marathon, not a sprint.
So what is studying? What are effective strategies that are going to help you study better? Well, when we say effective strategies for studying we are talking about nothing but ways to beat the forgetting curve in the best manner possible.
1. Revise! Revise! Revise!
Periodic and Repetitive Revisions are integral in education. Professor Robert Bjork of University California explains the importance of revisions in the most beautiful words. While talking about a study at his Learning and Forgetting Lab, he said, ‘We found all these different situations where the very same thing that produces forgetting then enhances learning if the material is re-studied again. Forgetting is a friend of learning.
While revising might seem tedious, it has proved to be the most impactful strategy for retaining information. Don’t approach revising with a mindset that you’re doing this for the second time. Approach revising a subject like you’re reading it for the first time. This way you’ll keep on noticing things you missed out on the first read!
2. Change is important.
Let’s assume you’re preparing for your 10th board exam. Instead of picking up your science textbook and going through it the whole day, break your day down. Devote an hour to science, take a break and then study history for the next hour. This is going to keep your brain challenged. If you went on to do science for 3 hours, you’ll be bored and end up re-reading the same page again and again but still not understanding a word.
Switching to radically different subjects during your study session will challenge your brain but still not let it drain and be bored at the same time.
Some scientific studies also suggest that switching the environment might help you remember things better. The only way to know what works for you is by trial and error.
3. Make your own notes!
Notes are integral. You can read all you want, but nothing beats the classic pen and paper. Several studies have helped us understand that making notes have helped students much better than reading. Now you might think that writing notes is the most monotonous process ever, and going through those notes to revise is even worse. You are wrong. Here are a few ways you can spice up your note-taking process!
A. Challenge yourself!
Stop making notes with your textbook open. Go through your textbook, highlight everything you feel is important, go through the text again and then just close your book and start jotting down everything you feel is important. They don’t need to be your fair draft of notes but rather it could just be a way of you trying to retain the most information you can while studying.
B. Mind Maps!
If long paragraphs and thick books aren’t your thing, mind maps might be perfect for your process. While making a mind map might take a lot of time, they save you a lot of time while revising. Also, it helps you summarise huge amounts of information into smaller and dynamic bits.
The above image is a basic representation of a mind map. The core term is Dheya Career Mentors, and then it has been divided into four rough branches. Similarly, if we were to make a mind map about science, we would divide it into branches like Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. These are extremely basic examples. The better you know the topic your mind map is based on, the more branches and sub-branches it will have
c. Flash Cards
Flashcards are smaller but more accurate bits of information. In a mind map, we would try and fit a concept in one single map. Whereas with flashcards, you can fit information into various cards and divide the information however you feel comfortable.
Let’s compare this flashcard to the mindmap. While the mindmap covered more concepts, the flashcard had more detail. The whole point of making a card like this is for you to have easy access to your notes and for you to quickly consume and retain information. What’s the good thing about making smaller flashcards is, you could carry them around with you everywhere you go, or you could make flashcards on your phone! Flashcards and Mind Maps can be an extremely effective strategies for studying if you use them for revision regularly!
A Reality Check
When it comes to your career, you can pour your heart out and yet not be able to achieve the heights you want. If you’re forcing yourself to study something you don’t have an interest in, you probably won’t be able to do it. You can study 5 subjects in 10th but as you grow up the depth you study at goes deeper. At the end of the day, you could read another ten articles about effective strategies for studying, or you could introspect. To find that real urge to study, you need to find yourself
John Dewey once said, ‘To find out what one is fitted to do and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.’ Once you’re happy with what you’re doing, nothing can stop you. This is why Dheya believes that a student who is willing to put in hours of study into his career. They should be doing it for the right reasons. This is why Dheya believes that every student needs to enroll for career mentoring and build a clear vision to help them find a purpose to work hard!