How to Study
Effectively with Focus and Motivation
If you’re a student, you need to optimize your study time. Cramming(studying everything a day before exam) can only help you to pass your exam, not to fix/concrete what you learned.
I believe in being a life long learner, so even if you’re not a student. This article can help you learn anything.
You just have to believe in yourself. And you should make sure you know why you are learning something. Maybe your reason are connected with your passion. Just find your reason to study.
Everything we will discuss are in the Tables of Contents below
7 Most Effective Habits To Study Better
You have to change your bad habit and make new to ones for study. But what the habits you can make? We have a list of 7 best Effective Habit that change the way you study.
Habit 1. Employ Active Recall- Active Recall is a process through which you review material and then immediately check to determine how much of it you’ve remembered. To employ active recall, do this:
- Review the material you are studying.
- Then close the book, turn off the video or lecture, and write down or recite everything you remember from what you just reviewed.
- Now, look at the material again. How much did you remember?
This habit leads us to the next habit…
Habit 2. Employ Spaced Repetition-
In this habit, you have to make a routine. You have to review the material in order to retain it. As you see in the graph, we will discuss about it in detail in “How to retain” part below.
Habit 3. Manage The State You’re In- The state you’re in, makes a great impact. So make sure, when you study even the environment should support you.
Don’t study on your bed. Sit on a chair, be active. If you feel lazy or sleepy, then do some activities that make your heart up or take a shower.
Habit 4. Use Your Sense of Smell- It is not compulsory, but studies have shown that your sense of smell plays a big role for memory. Have you ever smelled something old and start getting some memories from past?
[Click here to know more about the study]
Try to have something(like- hanky)with some special fragrance and keep that while studying and then also in exam.
Habit 5. Music For The Mind- In know, you already know background music is effective while study. But we usually don’t make it into a habit. Try to make it a habit.
Because small things have big impact. And this one step could make you better than others, and slowly the best. Not only in studies but in everything with small steps.
Habit 6. Listen with Your Whole Brain- This habit is really really effective. We normally don’t focus on studies while studying or in class. But we have to but again we can’t. Go below in “How to focus”part if you want some tips
Habit 7. Take Notes- I really recommend to make self notes. This is not just a habit, it’s a practice.
So You have read some really effective study habits but many time we have problem to make them as habit. I have explained some topics like-focus, retention, note-taking,etc.
Quick Start: Take decision to many some new effective study habits.
How to Retain More (Avoiding Illusion of Competence)
You learned/memorized something and then you feel it’s on your brain, but it’s actually not there and you wrote nothing on exam. This happen because of The Illusion of Competence.
Let understand why this happens- When you read an answer and you know it, you feel like that because the information is in front of you. So it creates a Illusion and your brain feels you know it.
So how to avoid this Illusion? Your brain can absorb only a bit of info, other info is not saved and the rest is if not used, will be deleted. So you need to recall, in order to keep that in mind. Because you have to put it in Long term memory not in short term.
So now we know the importance of recall (retrieval practice). But there is one more aspect you should never take for-granted.Understanding.
This picture shows us how important Understanding is, in order to remember it. This picture also shows us, how human learn anything in chunks( just like the image above).
Ultimately, in order to retain something for long you just have to follow two steps:
1. Understand that material completely.
2. Do practice ( at least once a week)
Quick Start: Just think about the time you get in the illusion of competence. What can you do to stop, that happening again? (Think about it)
Pomodoro Technique and Spaced Repetition
In this diagram, we see clearly that we can retain more stuff in the beginning and at the end. The more longer you study, the more stuff in the middle you lost.
Research suggests that the time between 10 to 40 minutes, is perfect to study in other to retain most of the material studied.
How Pomodoro Techique Works
Francesco Cirillo suggests that the optimal time for a task is 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. Each 25-minute chunk is called a “Pomodoro”.
How to use “Pomodoro Technique”-Take a task, set a time of 25 minutes aside, work on that for 25 mins completely, lastly take a 5-minute, then repeat as much as you like.
This Technique works very well but you can fix in something in your mind forever just in once. You have to repeat it sometimes, so it becomes concrete in your mind. You have to do Spaced-Repetitions.
With Pomodoro Technique, you also have to use Spaced Repetition. You have to revisit/revise what you learned frequently.
How Spaced Repetition Works
First you learn/study something. Then you revise one day later. Then you revise that again 2 days later. Then you have to revise that in a week. And then lastly a revise that every month.
If you’re the person love reminder. You can download Anki Droid, it is actually really helpful for Spaced Repetition. And it’s available on Play-Store. If don’t want too much apps, you can make a hand-written To Do list.
How to Focus Consistently
To Focus Consistently, you have to eliminate everything that do not allow you to focus. And then you did it. You can focus consistently but not for long.(we will talk later about it)
For Focus consistently on study, you have to calm your busy mind:
Now I know you would say-“I can’t waste my time on meditation or something”. But there are others ways to calm your busy mind before study in minutes
1. Breath- You know the importance of deep breath and it help to brain to get pure oxygen. I know you can’t do breathing exercises for long but you can give at least 19 seconds.
What you have have to do is to use 4-7-8 Method. It works like this:
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4.
- Hold your breath for a count of 7.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8.
You can repeat it for as long as you want. This is really effective to calm your mind before study and to focus consistently.
2. Do Something That Has Been Causing You Stress- It can be math that stress you but you have to do it (But how?). You can use the ‘2 minute‘ rule here. Have you noticed thinking about math stress you but not too much when you actually do it.
That mean you have to start doing math at any cost and then it will become easy to continue.
Using 2 minute rule you can convert your task like this:
“I have to study the whole book” to “I have to study just the first chap, for now”, “Running for an hour” to “Wear your jogging shoes”.
This is Simple, you just have to start a stress causing task, in order to do it.
3. Schedule time for Distractions- It might be a challenge for you to turn off phone, and your notifications when you need to focus to study. But It becomes easy when you promise yourself to do that distracting task later, let’s say 4:30 p.m.
If you do that it become easy to focus at the present time. But why a particular clock time? Simply saying “I’ll worry about it later” isn’t likely to keep that from creeping back, But saying “I’ll worry about it at 4:30” will work very well.
So Schedule your next distraction time!
Quick Start: Use 1 of these 3 tips to focus to read this blog, right now!
Most of us ignore this point. Even if you’re not a student but if you are learning something, maybe you’re reading a book but not taking notes, and you just reread the book to revise your learning, That’s stupid!
You save a plenty of time by making notes.
Revisiting Notes is better than rereading.
Not only making note can help. You have to make notes effectively, make it easy to read, use different colors. The list of ‘what you can do’ is actually long. So you can play the video below.
This video includes some highly effective note taking tips. And I was amazed when I saw this video. [The following video above is not our]
Quick Start: Watch the video now or save it to watch it later.
The Four Level of Competence
Since the Sixties, psychologists have noted that there are four levels of learning. This gives us a better picture of how we learn things and achieve mastery in it. (click here, for more)
The Four Level of Competence
1. Unconscious Incompetence- In this stage, you don’t know what you don’t know. Simply you don’t know what to learn.
2. Conscious Incompetence- Now, you do know what to learn. But you haven’t learned/studied it yet.
3. Conscious Competence- Now you have learned everything you need to, but you have to conscious think about it, to use it. It’s like driving a car after learning how it works but still you have to think consciously.
4. Unconscious Competence- Now, you have learned and fixed it in your mind. Now you don’t need to think about it consciously. It’s like you became a experienced driver, so now you can drive without consciously thinking about it.
This applies no matter what you learn-Math,Science or any skill. You can use this in anything you learn to know in which level of competence you’re in. This can help you, to see learning in a new way.
Quick Start: If you’re learning something, just think in which level you’re in. And in how much time you will exceed that level. (It’s like a game)
7 Study Habits
- Employ Active Recall
- Employ Spaced Repetition
- Manage the State You’re In
- Use Your Sense of Smell
- Music For The Mind
- Listen with Your Whole Brain
- Take Notes
Submitting It Up!
» 7 Study Habits
» How to Retain More
» Pomodoro Technique and Spaced Repetition
» How to Focus
» Effective Note Taking