THE pressures of studying and trying to remember a year’s worth of information can be overwhelming to some students.
But you can use certain techniques to improve the power of your brain and stimulate learning and memory.
SIX TIPS TO HELP YOU STUDY
Focus your attention by minimising the distractions in your environment. This includes mobile phones, social media and television. Multi-tasking should also be avoided, where possible. Multi-tasking activates inhibitory networks in the brain, which suggests the brain is rapidly switching between tasks rather than doing them simultaneously. Other research has found that chronic multi-tasking impairs both long-term and working memory.
Doing quizzes or forcing yourself to recall information is linked to deeper memory formation than when you passively review notes.
The benefits of spacing out learning have been observed in students from preschool to university. For long-term retention, spacing study sessions apart is far more effective than when information is learned en masse in one long session. Revise regularly, whether it is done weekly or each day.
Mixing up the practise of interrelated skills, rather than learning them sequentially in a block, can boost performance in the long run. Known as interleaving, it’s long been established that it can improve motor learning, such as for tennis or piano players. A growing body of research is showing that it also has applications in the classroom.
The brain’s visual and auditory centres are located in distinct regions and are activated separately when we see images and hear words. While multi-tasking is detrimental to learning, research has found that processing images and spoken words simultaneously has no negative effect on how well we remember them. The same cannot be said for images and visual text.
How well you remember an abstract concept can be improved by concrete examples or stories. After forming a memory, we need to consolidate it to make it last longer. This is easier when there’s context to the information being learned. This is why memory aids — mnemonics — are useful when studying.
By: Learning And Memory, The University Of Queensland Brain Institute
Published: August 25, 2017