Between extracurricular activities, classes, and increasing workloads, students have a lot on their plate. With such hectic schedules, it can be difficult to clear the outside influences and pressures to focus on the task at hand. However, the situation can be improved if habits are changed to seize the maximum out of each study session. Here are our top five tips for fast and effective learning:
- Pomodoro Technique
This technique involves studying without distractions for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break. After four such sessions, you take a longer break lasting up to half an hour, and then start again. All these breaks may seem like a waste of time if a student is used to cramming for hours a day, but we learn faster if we divide time into shorter sessions and have regular resting periods. The brain is not a machine—it needs rest. For the best possible results, keep short breaks free from social media. It’s much more relaxing for the brain if you take a walk, movement break, stretch, or listen to music.
- Write it down
Even when we keep away from distractions, such as phones or the internet, random thoughts can enter the mind. Maybe the student remembered something they need to do or worries appear as they realize how much studying still lies ahead. Whatever it is, encourage them to write it down. By putting things on paper, the mind can stop conversing and focus better on learning. Of course, this can be done on a computer as well, but for fast notes, it is easier to just scribble them down. Moreover, if you can, make notes on a regular paper. It has been shown that using pen and paper is better for learning as people tend to understand and rephrase the information rather than mindlessly typing down word for word what they are hearing.
- Know what needs to be studied
If a student is preparing for an exam, make sure they know the material that actually needs to be reviewed. Otherwise, they might spend time on irrelevant information that will not be on the test.
- Study from a variety of sources
Recommend that students gather information through a variety of different forms like reading, listening, watching, discussing it with a teacher or tutor, etc. This engages different areas of the brain and improves the chances of remembering the information received. Students don’t need to use all of the materials at once—they can use a different form for each new revision of the same topic. This can even make revision more fun.
- Eat well, drink enough water, and get plenty of sleep
People often forget to eat healthy and drink water (or water-based drinks) when under a lot of stress. But bad food is bad for the brain, and dehydration is even worse. Our brain needs not only energy to work, but also nutrients. Healthy food does not need to be super expensive. Give students tips such as setting reminders to eat and drink water or tea (sugary drinks do not count!). Be sure to also set aside time to sleep at least eight hours a day. The amount of sleep matters more than the timing. Reminding students that taking care of these basics is a crucial aspect of studying successfully—especially if the stressful period lasts beyond a couple of days.
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Annabelle is part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, sharing valuable content to their own community and beyond.