Study Hacks: Compelling Tips on Improving Learning Skills for Students

As a student, you often experience the overwhelming feeling that you cannot internalize a concept no matter how much you read. You feel like there is a fast track in life and that balancing other activities with studies grows cumbersome as days speed. Read though our study hacks.

The advent of smartphones has even created distractions to the extent that you cannot pay attention to content that is longer than the limited words on Twitter (the guardian). With virtual learning becoming increasingly popular, it is up to you to schedule your study time and make sure to grasp anything before your exams or even to apply in your career.

Those who attend physical classrooms feel that they cannot pay attention in class, miss classes, and find it hard to revise. The good news is; there are excellent ways in which you can improve your learning outcomes as a student.

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The cornel method of note-taking

I came across the Cornel method of note-taking when undertaking my undergraduate studies. All I can say is that, the Cornel technique improved my attention-span, memory retention, and increased my scores.

The cornel method is a format of condensing and organizing your notes. At the beginning of a lesson, divide your notebook page into two columns drawing a line to separate. The two columns are the keyword or question column, which takes a quarter of the space. The other column is the notes column, usually twice the size of the question of the keyword column. 

At the bottom of the page, you leave five to seven lines for the summary section.

When the teachers begin talking, or when you attend your online class, write the main ideas in a paraphrased format. Use abbreviations and symbols to shorten sentences. On the keynotes or the questions column, you write the keywords or questions whose answers appear in the note-taking column.

At the end of the lecture, you can summarize the outstanding points in the summary section. Make sure to go through the notes while reading the question, trying to answer without looking at the note-taking column.

Note: I highly recommend this method because it helps in increasing attention, memory retention, and application, which improves your learning outcomes.

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Schedule your time of study

I highly recommend going through the study material immediately after a class because it improves your memory retention. The further you take before revisiting, the harder it will be for you to contextualize the concept. However, you can draw a timetable where you allocate study time to avoid being overwhelmed during exams. Do not only study when there is an assessment or when it is exam time. 

Restructure your learning environment

If you have space to study at home, make sure that it has enough lighting, is clean, and is the least noisy place in your home. In case this is impossible, try to get impermeable to noise headphones that keep you focused. Some people play the music that dissolves the other distractions while others request the housemates or family to keep silent to avoid disrupting study time. 

Use graphic representations to visualize and internalize concepts.

When you are starting to study, challenge yourself by writing everything you know about the topic using diagrams and charts for active memory retrieval. From there, you can identify gaps and know where to put more emphasis on learning. 

Take plenty of water as part of study hacks

Stay hydrated to avoid fatigue while also feeling refreshed to continue studying. You can also take nutritious foods that do not make you feel sluggish or sleepy. 

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Explain what you know to others and form group sessions

Also known as the Feynman technique, practice explaining what you have learned to people that know nothing about the topic. Use simple words that indicate that you have understood what you learn. If you feel that you cannot, go through the topic again and try again. Forming group sessions enable you to learn new ways of viewing the topic, which increases your understanding. 

Take regular breaks as part of study hacks

Do not study continuously because it becomes counterproductive. After two hours of studying, take a thirty-minute break to sip some tea, walk around the neighborhood, catch up with friends, or even workout. There are benefits to working out, such as increasing alertness, open-mindedness, and increasing enthusiasm for learning. 

Adapting to the above skills requires patience, trial and error, and practice. 

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