You’ve probably heard that the best way to remember something is by repeating it over and over, right? That’s certainly true for words, but when you’re trying to memorize long and complicated lists of facts or definitions, that method might not work. So what’s an average student to do? Here are some strategies I’ve found myself using successfully in college as well as some new tools I’m excited about:
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Repetition is key to learning, and repetition helps you remember. In fact, according to this study by The Learning Curve (thelearningcurve.com), repetition helps students remember 50 per cent longer than other methods of studying:
- Repetition counts for 70 per cent of your overall retention rate (in other words, how long it will take for you to forget something). The other 30 per cent comes from understanding the material and being able to apply it in context.
- If a student can repeat what they’ve just heard or read over and over again until their brain makes connections with new information/facts/ideas/skills etc., then they’ll be able to understand it better later on down the line when they’re studying more complex concepts at home or school—or even doing an assignment!
Mnemonics are a great way to remember things. If you’re having trouble remembering a long or complicated word, try creating a story or catchy phrase that can help you get it into your head. Make it rhyme and use words that are similar to the thing being remembered. For example:
“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog (clap clap).”
If there’s an image associated with the word itself, use that too! For example:
Cramming is not an effective way to study.
- Crammers often forget what they learned within a few days, which can cause them to feel stressed and confused about the material.
- Cramming can also be stressful, so students need to take breaks from studying every now and then so that their brains have time away from the books and notes.
There are several ways in which you can use flashcards to memorize vocabulary, concepts and definitions.
- Use them as a quick way to get the word/concept into your head without having to think too hard about it.
- Make flashcards for each word or concept that you want to learn and place them all around your room (or wherever else they will be easy for you to see). You can also make some simple charts where each letter represents one word or idea on different cards so that when you see a new letter on an existing card it makes sense immediately what type of information is being represented by that letter.
- Create small groups with other students who also want help learning new things or just need extra practice with their own assignments!
Make your own study notes.
Making your own notes is a great way to master the material. You’ll have more control over the structure of your notes, and you can make sure that they’re easy to read. If you’re taking a lot of notes, or if someone else has given you an extensive reading list, they mustn’t be too long or complicated.
Remember: don’t worry about getting everything written down; just write down what seems most important at first glance!
If it helps with organization, try using different coloured pens or highlighters to mark keywords or topics in your text (but don’t use anything on top of the page). This will help keep track of where certain things are later on when looking back through them again after class has ended for today!
Draw visual associations.
Drawing visual associations can help you remember a lot of things. For example, if you’re studying for a test and the material is difficult to grasp and understand, draw a picture of what’s being taught in your head. If it’s something simple like a tree or building, use mnemonics (a memory technique that uses an image).
Here are some other ways to use drawing:
- Brainstorming ideas using analogies
- Rhymes work great when trying to memorize long words or phrases (like “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”)
- Stories work well because they allow us to visualize the information better than just reading it out loud would do; this is especially useful when learning complex concepts like calculus.
Teach it to someone else.
Teaching is a great way to improve your memory. Not only does it help you understand the material better, but it also helps you remember the material better and organize it into a valuable structure for memorizing.
You can also practice what you’re learning by repeating concepts out loud, or even just playing a game of charades with friends and family members.
Study in a quiet place.
It’s important to study in a quiet place. You may be tempted to look in the library or at home with your family, but these environments can be distracting. If you need some time away from distractions, try studying at a coffee shop or bookstore during their quieter hours.
If you live in an apartment complex and don’t have access to your own bedroom, consider finding another room on the same floor as yours that doesn’t have any windows facing directly onto busy streets (or even just one window facing another building). This way you’ll still feel like you’re part of society but won’t have much contact with traffic noise coming through any nearby windows.*
Quiz yourself throughout the day.
- Self-testing is a great way to reinforce what you’ve learned. You can quiz yourself on the material as you study, or you can quiz yourself later.
- There are many ways to self-test: flashcards, an app with questions, etc.
Take a break to clear your mind with short walks and stretches.
Stretching is good for your body and mind. If you don’t want to take a walk, just do some stretches for a few minutes.
Stretching can help you clear your mind. It’s an easy way to relax after studying or working on an assignment at school or work, especially if you’re stressed out by what’s going on around you (like traffic).
Studying is a skill that can be improved. It’s not just about doing the same thing over and over again, but also about finding efficient memorization techniques that work for your style of learning.
While there are many ways to study, these tips will help you get started on your path:
- Make sure you have room in your schedule for self-paced learning (e.g., reading). Try setting aside time every day or week so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of information required by different courses and exams—and don’t forget to take advantage of online resources like Khan Academy!
- Start small with only one topic at a time until it becomes easier than expected; then expand into other topics once mastered over multiple weeks/months/years (this will vary depending on how often students tend towards procrastination). This helps prevent burnout while allowing them enough flexibility when working toward their goals without feeling overwhelmed too soon after starting something new.”