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Ways to Study Smarter and not Harder

Updated on September 30, 2014

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Studying smart is not that hard once you find effective methods you could apply to yourself. Every person have different styles of learning and not everyone has the same capacity to concentrate at a certain task. Study times can go for hours on end and yet sometimes result to poor retainment of information. However aside from well-known methods of using mnemonics, there are still more ways you could pick your brain to your advantage.



Take notes by pen and not by typing.

Put the laptop away and bring out the good 'ol pen and paper.
Put the laptop away and bring out the good 'ol pen and paper. | Source

You learn more effectively writing by hand rather than typing. According to this research, writing by hand helps you retain facts more efficiently, especially conceptual information. Also writing is more advantageous as it exercises your brain more by integrating its visual, motor and cognitive processes.

Write your notes using your own wording.

Taking notes word for word will only make your mind process what you wrote in a shallow level. In order to retain in more and ease your future reviewing, try to note lectures in your own phrasing.

Figure out whether you are fit to study in the morning or at night.

Are you a night owl or a day lark?
Are you a night owl or a day lark? | Source

Even though science says that the brain learns more effectively at night, there are some other aspects in a student’s daily schedule that may affect the value of study time. Obviously, some students go to school early in the morning and staying up much into the night will badly influence their performance.

If you like studying with music, be aware of the kind of music you choose.

Should you listen to your favourite playlist while studying?
Should you listen to your favourite playlist while studying? | Source

The effects of studying with music in the background depends on the person. Other students find music helpful in their studying while others are just distracted by it. People with more musical background should choose music that felt neutral to them rather than what they find pleasurable. For people with lesser musical experience, it is quite the opposite.

Study aloud or at least, mouth it.

Frustrated of not retaining anything? Just mutter it to yourself.
Frustrated of not retaining anything? Just mutter it to yourself. | Source

Reading or mouthing words will make it distinctive and eventually would make it more memorable to our brains. In order for this method to be more effective, you must only choose the most important words or points to mouth. This will put the Von Restorff effect into your own good use— making you better recall the unusual than the rest.

Be mindful of your teacher’s style.

Some teachers are just more worth studying than the others.
Some teachers are just more worth studying than the others. | Source

Regardless of how hard or easy the subjects they are teaching, other teachers are just more worth studying than the rest. They come in a variety of teaching styles and personalities that you may take into consideration. In my experience, I once had a professor who never cared to actually read a single essay I write. So halfway through the semester, I gave up on pouring so much energy into creating stellar essays anymore and diverted my attention to more “difficult” teachers. I also had another one who is fond of putting patterns in his exams. That made me more lenient in studying his subject more than the others. On the other side of the scale, I had a teacher who was very pedantic and so I strived more to get better grades in her subject.

It doesn't have to be hard. In everything, balance is the key.

Learning doesn’t have to be an exasperating chore to go through. When you finally find the perfect balance of ways in studying smarter and incorporate it into your study habits, you would eventually spend lesser time and energy hitting the books. Studying doesn’t always have to be done the hard way.

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    • Dragos Apostol profile image

      Apostol Dragos 2 years ago from Bucharest, Romania

      This was really helpful,thanks :)

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 2 years ago

      Good ideas for helping to study.

    • profile image

      Dennis 2 years ago

      This topic is very informative. It is very useful to every people preferably the students who find it hard to retain memories of what they have read, hear and see about the subject matter they have studying. The above tips give the students the fundamental guidelines on how to be an effective learner. Thank you so much for sharing this topic.