If you’ve ever wondered how to study more effectively in less time: this article is for you.
Learning is an individual experience; different approaches work for different people and you may find that the methods that helped you understand a particular subject may not be suitable for another.
Don’t worry, this is perfectly natural.
There is a lot of conflicting advice out there, but there are still plenty of tried and true methods proven by educational institutions, such as university learning centres, that may know exactly how to learn better.
These methods are undoubtedly the best ways to get started, so we’ve done all the work for you and compiled all the best advice in one place.
With a little perseverance, you’ll be able to strengthen your concentration and absorb knowledge more effectively.
How To Study More Effectively In Less Time:
1. It’s a good idea to break down what you’re learning into useful chunks.
You can easily become exhausted if you want to understand everything about a topic at once.
Focus on one piece of material at a time before moving on to the next, whether you’re reading a chapter of a history textbook or trying to practice the piano.
Once you have perfected each element, you should focus on connecting them into a coherent whole.
For example, if you’re reading a chapter in a textbook, you might start by going through the whole chapter or even just checking the chapter headings to get an idea of what it’s about. Then quickly review each paragraph and try to identify its main ideas.
2. When you study, take notes.
Taking notes will help you to fully interpret the information you are learning, making it easier for your brain to absorb. If you are listening to a lecture or an overview of a topic, note down the main points.
Write down the main concepts, outline key ideas and make a list of any doubts you have about the content as you read.
According to research, handwritten notes are more effective for most people than notes written on a computer. By taking handwritten notes, you are able to focus more on the key points, rather than writing down everything you hear or see.
Go ahead and scribble while taking notes if that’s your favourite activity. This can also help you concentrate on what you are hearing.
3. Make a summary of what you have just heard.
Summarising is a useful tool for assessing your awareness and evaluating your understanding of a topic.
Take a moment when you discover something else, whether in a lesson or from a novel, to write a short paragraph or a few bulleted sentences summarising the main points.
You can also try to verbally summarise the details.
As you interact with your trainer about your summary, he or she will be able to get a clear insight into whether you have grasped the idea well.
4. Maintain a daily schedule of study sessions.
Instead of spending an hour a day on one topic, divide it into several sessions of 30-60 minutes each over several days or weeks.
You’ll avoid stress this way, and you’ll also remember knowledge more easily in the long run.
By dividing your study hours accordingly, you will also overcome procrastination. If you dedicate even a small amount of time to studying each day, it will seem less daunting in the long run, and you will be less likely to procrastinate.
5. Use different learning methods.
Most people perform better when they combine different learning strategies and styles. Where possible, combine different learning methods that engage all the senses.
Consider the following scenario:
If you are taking a course with a lecture, consider taking notes and recording the lecture so you can listen to it while you study.
Read the required readings and use the visual aids available to enhance your memorisation skills (such as diagrams or illustrations).
Wherever possible, try to use what you have experienced in practice. For example, if you are learning ancient Greek, consider interpreting a short passage yourself.
6. Talk to other people about what you are learning.
Talking about what you are learning can help you develop new ideas or make correlations that you would not have found if you had only read or done research on your own.
In addition to answering questions from the lecturer or other students, share your own insights and interpretations of what you have experienced.
Teaching others is a great way to solidify your knowledge of a topic. It will also help you identify situations where your skills can be improved. Try telling a peer, parent or classmate about what you have heard.
7. Take regular breaks when studying.
If you have trouble staying focused, divide your study period into 25-minute sessions with 5-minute breaks in between. The Pomodoro technique is the name of this process. Using the Pomodoro technique will help you concentrate more intensely and keep your mind sharp.
During breaks, don’t concentrate on your studies. Instead, try meditating or visualising calming images.
To help you schedule your breaks and concentration sessions, try using an app like Pomodoro Timer.
8. Each night, get 7-9 hours of good sleep.
Having a good night’s sleep will help you remain concentrated and energized whilst studying. Sleep, on the other hand, is important for learning and recalling knowledge. Go to bed early enough to get 7-9 hours of sleep (or 8-10 hours if you’re a teen).
You will also improve the sleep quality by:
- At least half an hour until bedtime, switching off bright displays.
- Creating a soothing bedtime ritual. You might, for example, read a chapter of a novel, listen to calming music, or take a hot shower.
- At night, make sure your bedroom is peaceful, dark, and cozy.
- Caffeine and other stimulants can be avoided for at least 6 hours until bedtime.
9. Consume foods that contain brain-boosting ingredients.
Eating nutrient-rich, energising foods will help you stay alert and absorb knowledge better. Start your day with a healthy breakfast (1) such as a boiled egg, oatmeal and fresh fruit. While you study, snack on brain-friendly snacks such as blueberries, strawberries or omega-3 rich salmon.
Keep hydrated – drinking enough water will help you fight fatigue and stay focused.
10. Find a place to study that is both peaceful and relaxing.
It’s hard to focus and retain information when you’re studying in a noisy, cramped or poorly lit environment. Different people thrive better in different environments, so try studying in a few different places and see what suits you best.
For example, if noise bothers you, sit in a quiet place in the library rather than at a table in a crowded café.
Look for a place where you can sit comfortably and stretch out, but not so much that you fall asleep.
11. Put away your phone and other distractions.
When you should be studying, it’s convenient to get caught up in social media and games or reading the news.
If your phone or other gadget is bothering you, consider turning it off or placing it out of sight (such as in your bag or desk drawer).
You can also use productivity apps, such as BreakFree or Flipd, which limit the amount of time you can spend at the computer while working or studying.
Avoid doing research in a room with a TV that can confuse you.
Install a chrome extension such as StayFocusd to help you stay on track if you are tempted by time-wasting websites.
12. Remember what you already know and what you don’t know.
Learning is related to metacognition, or the ability to remember what you know and don’t know. Ask yourself, “What do I know about this topic?” as you reflect on the topic or skill you are trying to understand. What don’t I really know or fully understand?
You should focus your efforts on the places where you still need to develop your skills or understanding after recognising them.
Quiz yourself on the material to assess your understanding. Use self-administered quizzes or skills tests, whether you are using a textbook or taking a course that requires it.
You could also try writing a short introduction to the topic. Such an exercise will not only demonstrate your skills but also help you find gaps in your knowledge.
13. Take the VARK assessment and find out more about your learning style.
While most people learn in different ways, you may discover that you are a better visual learner, auditory learner, literacy learner or kinesthetic learner. You should change your learning style until you find out which one works for you.
Visual sources such as charts, graphs, diagrams and pictures help visual learners absorb knowledge better.
If you are an auditory learner, listening to presentations or verbal examples may be most beneficial. Even talking aloud about what you are learning can be beneficial.
Reading and writing students do well when they absorb knowledge and write about it. Focus on writing notes and thinking about a topic you are passionate about.
When kinesthetic learners consciously transfer what they are learning to reality, they absorb information more easily. For example, learning a language instead of reading about it will help you understand it faster.
14. Recognise the benefits of learning.
Learning strengths are similar to learning patterns, but they are based more on unique talents and types of intelligence. You will then tailor your learning techniques to your areas of intelligence.
For example, if you have a high body activity intelligence score, you may find that walking with a friend and learning about what you are studying helps you remember and appreciate the knowledge better.
15. Ask about the content you are researching.
It is important to do more than just assimilate and recall knowledge to really understand what you are learning. While studying, stop and ask yourself questions (2).
Delving into these questions can help you better understand the material.
When you read about a historical event, for example, you may wonder: “Why did this happen? What references do we have and how do we become aware of what happened? What would be different now if the incident had not happened? “
Try making a list of the 25 main questions that your specialism seeks to answer if you are studying a new discipline (such as biology or law). This can be a helpful starting point for your research into the subject.
16. Look for connections between theories.
When you study a topic, try not to think of it as a collection of unconnected facts. Instead, look for connections to ideas and facts, as well as to your own knowledge and experiences. This will help you to put what you have seen into perspective.
For example, suppose you are researching how physical anthropologists use skeletal material to learn about ancient societies.
Consider whether your own habits might affect what an anthropologist or archaeologist might find if you were discovered – for example, would they notice wear and tear on your elbow joints as a result of your hobby of tennis?
17. Research sources of knowledge objectively.
Don’t take anything you say, see or learn at face value. Consider where the content comes from, how accurate it is, and whether it is current or old. For starters, you might think to yourself:
- “How does this author back up their main points with evidence?”
- “Does this detail seem to be current?”
- “Can you tell me where you got this information?”
- “Can you tell me about the credentials of the individual who is giving you this information? Could they have some hidden motives or prejudices? “
- “Are there any other perspectives on this topic that might be valid?”
18. Try to identify important ideas in the syllabus you are studying.
If you are watching an entire course on a particular topic or just one lecture, try to pick out a few main themes and principles. As you read and search for information, this will help you organise your thoughts and identify what you want to focus on.
For example, if you have an American history class, you may notice that the themes of American identity and diversity come up frequently.
Think about how the material you study in class relates to these themes.
Thank you for reading this article about how to study more effectively in less time and I really hope that you take action my advice.
I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you. +