Any extra study outside of the normal classroom hours is going to be positive; whether that be in an extra tuition class or at home. However, how can you make sure that the extra time that you're putting into your studies is as effective as it could be?
Here we have some top tips for ensuring your study time is more productive!
1. Pick a place
Find a place that works well for you; somewhere that you can focus without distractions. It should be somewhere that is both comfortable and quiet. Additionally, it should be a place that inspires you to work hard: adorn the space with things that are important to you, such as photos of family as well as pictures things that you believe represent success - this should offer additional motivation!
Studies have suggested that contrary to picking one designated space, that studying specific subjects in different locations can have retention benefits. When it comes to recalling the learned information in a future lesson or exam, you can put yourself in the specific place that you were studying that subject and be in a better position to give the answer.
Experiment with different locations and reflect on where works best for you.
2. Taking breaks
It is very difficult to sit and concentrate on studying for 60 minutes or more. When thinking about your brain as a sponge taking in information, it will become saturated and no longer be able to take anything in. Begin your study periods for 20 minutes at a time with a 10 minute break. Once you're in a position where you can study for 20 minutes then try pushing it to 30 or even 40 minutes without a break. You will find you levels of concentration increasing as well as the amount of information you can retain.
Prioritise the work that you need to study. Begin by studying the things that you find more challenging because if you leave these for later when you are more fatigued then you are going to find it difficult to focus and learn the more difficult information. Studies have shown that the best time to revise a topic is just before you're about to forget it: memories also get stronger the more that you come back to them and you should wait a little longer every time you do come back to information. Wait a few minutes, then a few hours, then the next day and then every few days before being in a position where you can recall the information at will.
4. Look after your body
You must make sure that your body is always working at its optimum levels and to do that you must be eating well, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly. When exercising, why not make some voice note recordings of important study points and listen back to it during your daily run or gym session?
Create your own mini quizzes whilst studying a topic and come back to it a short while later. Identify which items you're struggling to remember and consider what it is that's making that particular topic so difficult. If you continue to struggle, talk about the topic with your classmates and your teacher.
6. Understand your learning style
Most people have a preference to being auditory, visual or kinaesthetic learners. Try all three different styles in your study and see which you find most effective.
Auditory - learn best when listening. Read your work aloud and ask others to read it back to you. Also, try making voice note recordings of your study materials and play it back to yourself.
Visual - learn best when seeing. Colour code your notes and draw mind maps to keep your learning visual.
Kinaesthetic - learn best when doing. Role-play your learning or even try building models to help you understand a topic.
We hope you find these top tips useful. It is important to know that with studying there is not a one size fits all approach. It is important to try different ways of studying and reflect on which strategies have worked best for you. When you find the approach that works best for you, stick to it and you will find that your levels of retention improve!