How to improve your study routine
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to studying.
We all retain information differently and thrive in different environments - but however you learn, discover our top 5 study tips you can tailor to your liking to help you succeed.
1. Determine how you learn best
Contrary to popular belief, there aren’t only 3 kinds of learners. And while we all feel we’re stress learners, that’s not quite the deal. If you have the time, try out each of these methods to find which one would suit you on the long term.
The key to getting the most out of your study is determining which style you’re most comfortable with. If you find studying a bore, maybe it’s time to give one of the other styles a try:
- Visual: you need to see something to understand and retain it. You may have trouble following lectures or classes that don’t contain visual aids. Take detailed notes, and compile diagrams, flow charts and colour code your notes to help aid your studies.
- Auditory: you need to hear something to understand, and repetition helps. You may have trouble reading body language or facial expressions, but you are an excellent listener. To improve your studies, try recording lectures or classes (with permission of course), see if your institution has lectures/classes available online and engage in group discussions about the subject matter. You can also try reading your written notes aloud to help retain the information.
- Read/Write: you thrive with text books, research and writing notes. To help your studies, return to your class or lecture notes, re-read and condense them down with your own words. Glossaries and lists will also be helpful to you.
- Kinesthetic: or practical, you love to learn by doing. You probably have a short attention span, but you take a hands-on approach to learning and problem solving. To help your studies, take regular breaks to reset your brain, take practical classes wherever possible, and use study games like flash cards.
2. Avoid distractions
Let’s face it, no one commits to one episode of a series. BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield estimates the average Netflix subscriber watches 2 hours of streaming video a day. Streaming services like Netflix, Presto and Stan have made it so easy for procrastinators to binge watch. Reward yourself with a marathon of your favourite show after you’ve finished your assignment.
3. Throw on some tunes
A Stanford University study found that music ‘engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory’. Admittedly, that study used short symphonies from an obscure 18th-century composer, and further studies have found that music with lyrics can actually hinder your cognitive function. A University of Toronto study found that while the potential benefit of listening to background music is that it can enhance arousal levels and mood, fast and loud background music disrupts reading comprehension. So if classical music is not for you, keep your iPod at a low volume while studying to maximise your learning power.
4. Be anti-social media
Procrastination is what social media is all about, and it can only be detrimental to your studies. Researchers at the University of Western Australia found that multi-tasking, like using social media, can be detrimental to someone trying to study.
Head researcher Siri Barrett-Lennard told the ABC, “That might mean … [giving up] their phones while they're focusing on their studying so they are not being distracted by Facebook, emails and phone messages coming in."
Having a social media blackout while you focus on exam study or an assignment could do you a world of good, as writer Lilly Knoepp found out.
5. Feed your brain
Most nuts are a good study snack because they are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for brain memory and performance. Chia seeds are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and rich in fibre, protein, iron, magnesium and zinc. Chia seeds are also extremely versatile, and can be included in baking, desserts, protein shakes, dressings and salads. Potassium, found in abundance in bananas, has been shown to improve blood pressure and improve muscle and kidney function.
A 2012 article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry claimed that research increasingly showed that eating berries benefits an aging brain. Their review of multiple studies concluded that eating berries can, in fact, help the brain stay healthy. By changing the way neurons in the brain communicate, berries can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition. Finally, Reader’s Digest reports that dark chocolate helps lift your mood by stimulating the production of endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that bring on feelings of pleasure.
At Foundation Education, we understand that not one size fits all when it comes to studying. We are one of the few Registered Training Organisations in Australia who provide flexible training solutions tailored to suit your needs. Our courses are delivered online, with face-to-face options available for selected courses.
Discover our range of nationally accredited online courses or call 1300 616 197 today!
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