Study Better

Are you looking for ways to study better? Whether you’re a college student taking challenging courses or an adult doing continuing education in your field, learning to study better can be helpful. The right studying techniques help you retain information more easily, and they also help you spend less time studying, so you have more free time.

There are literally tons of ways to study better. The key, though, is to find the techniques that work best for you. Are you a visual learner? Techniques like highlighting and even making concept drawings could help you. Are you more of a verbal learner? Reading material multiple times could help you. Auditory learners often profit best from re-listening to lectures whenever they’re able to.

The best way to study better, though, is to engage in several types of learning with the material you’re studying. Even if you’re primarily best at learning through one medium, engaging your brain on different levels like this can help you learn more easily by making new connections between different parts of your brain, which makes it easier to remember and recall information later on.

I, for instance, learn primarily through reading. I can really connect with words on a page, and usually only have to read information once to get most of the details it contains. However, my best study technique is to highlight as I’m reading, which adds a visual component and helps me focus on the most important points, and to take notes after I’m done reading. These three things together help me retain much more information than reading alone, and they don’t even take that much more time!

Here are some tips that you might try when you need to study better:

  • Take different notes. Instead of just writing down what is said during a lecture or when you’re reading material, take notes that find the connections between ideas. Connecting two ideas in some way is one of the best ways to help your brain retain information. For instance, making cause-and-effect connections makes both the cause and the effect easier to remember. Instead of just trying to get the neatest, most chronological notes possible, try linking ideas in your notes with arrows, pictures, bubbles, and whatever else you need to link ideas. No one but you will be able to understand them later, but just the act of connecting two ideas on paper can help you study better by linking those two ideas in your brain.
  • Test yourself as you go along. One way to study better is to test yourself as you’re learning so you know how far you have to go. There are lots of ways to do this. If you’re studying for a history class, for example, you might ask a professor for copies of old exams or quizzes. Some will keep them on file and gladly hand them over to students. You can then use those to test yourself as you’re studying. If your professor doesn’t have or won’t give you copies of old tests, make your own by writing down questions as you’re studying that are likely to be on the quiz or exam. Then, without looking at your text or notes, try to fill out the answers to the questions later on.
  • Make the information simpler. By the time you’re done studying, you should be able to explain the material on a very simple level. Breaking down the material to a simpler level can help you understand it better, and actually explaining that material to someone who hasn’t encountered it before can solidify it even better in your mind. Think about explaining the material in the simplest possible way when you’re trying to study better.