School teaches you a lot of things, but many students never learn how to study effectively. Whether trying to get an online certification or coming to campus, you’ll have to work to get desired results.
Everyone can learn to use study techniques that work for them with just more practice. Before you begin, ensure you have a PDF editor that helps you edit PDF documents as you like.
Take a quick look at these study habits and implement them in your sessions. Don’t expect to do everything at once – start with the few that align with your academic goals.
This technique is perfect for visual learners. Mind mapping involves organizing information within a diagram to remember it easily.
First, you write the world boldly on a blank page. Then, you start including the keywords or ideas related to the concept. Instead of just taking notes, you’re creating a visual representation of what you’ve learned.
How to create mindmaps: Get a piece of paper (or a text editor online) and write the main concept in the middle. Follow the steps above and link all sub-concepts or supporting keywords to the main idea.
Named after famous physicist Richard Feynman, the Feynman technique is handy for learning complex topics quickly and breaking them down in plain language. It further propagates the saying, “If you want to understand anything, explain it like a five-year-old.”
As you attempt to put it in your own words, you can retain the knowledge faster. Here’s how students in distance education can imbibe the Feynman technique in their study plan.
- Write the topic on a blank page.
- Try to explain it like you’re teaching someone else.
- Review what you wrote and identify areas where you have learning gaps.
You can also replace technical jargon with simpler terms if it makes learning easier.
One study tip every student should embrace is to spread out their learning sessions. You’ll likely forget the information you crammed but fare better with well-spaced learning.
This is another reason to start studying early. Starting early gives you time to stretch your studies into weeks before exam season. Thus, your exam preparation is less cumbersome, and you can retain information much longer.
A spaced study routine is also essential when you have many materials to cover. You’d be impressed at your work rate at the end of the term if you break it up into bits.
Recalling what you know is one of the most challenging parts of the reading exercise. But how else do you know that you’ve made progress?
Give a little time to read and spend the bulk of the session trying to recall things in your own words. If you write nothing down, you should reread the text.
The Retrieval Method allows you to quiz yourself more. You boost familiarity with the text when concerned with how much knowledge you’ve acquired.
Every lesson has a central focus; you can miss it when your mind isn’t in class. In an online distance learning environment, you need to pay attention so that you can deduce significant points and ask relevant questions.
Active listening also involves writing notes in class, highlighting supporting evidence, and applying what you already know about the topic. This learning strategy also keeps you engaged during the lecture. It increases your attention span, which ultimately improves your academic performance.
Note-taking requires paying close attention in class so you don’t drift off even during a boring lecture. As you write important points, you give yourself a direction for personal study or research afterward.
Always ensure your notes are legible so you can refer to them later. You can create a digital notebook via a PDF tool to highlight key points from class. This way, you save notes from class on the cloud that can be accessible on any device.
An easier way to take down complex information is to formulate images, acronyms, or flowcharts for them. If you miss a class, remember to collect the notes from your classmates to fill the gaps in your studies.
The PQ4R Method
Here’s another study technique that enhances an in-depth understanding of a subject. PQ4R is an acronym for Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, and Review – all the stages required in an effective study plan.
Skim the material you’ve set out to study, scanning the topics, headings, and sub-text. Quiz yourself on your background knowledge and what you expect to learn. Then, read the material one section at a time.
Reflect on what you’ve read if it holds answers to your questions. Then, try to recall what you read by writing a summary. You should always review the material one more time and answer any pending questions.
Writing in color may not seem like a game-changer, but it makes it easy to recall your notes. It’s also a unique way to easily store notes to find the information you’re looking for.
Saving your notes in red and yellow often creates a positive learning environment that increases attentiveness and guarantees effective study.
Here are tips for saving your notes in color:
- Write key points in red and highlight other information in yellow or green.
- Keep supporting information in the black text – don’t color everything.
- Review your notes and make adjustments.
A PDF editor like Lumin PDF lets you create color-coded notebooks to store several courses separately yet in one place.
Study before bed
While many students opt for an all-nighter, studying before bed increases your ability to recall. Sleep is critical for brain and memory functioning, so reschedule your study times for better results.
Your brain organizes your memories when you’re asleep, making it easier to retrieve stored information when you need them. That’s also why getting a good night’s rest before the day’s activities is essential.
Sleep is also good for stress management. You must review your sleeping patterns if you have a reduced attention span or lower cognitive function in class.
Take practice tests
The only way to ensure you’ve learned something is to apply your knowledge through constant practice. Teachers often give assignments to assess students’ understanding of a topic, but you shouldn’t rely on that.
Take practice tests outside your homework to reveal gaps in your knowledge. As you study, you can write down questions you’ll treat later. You can also find practice questions online to try out.
Testing your knowledge often is one way to retain what you’ve learned. It also strengthens your time management ability which is helpful when preparing for class tests or exams.
It’s always good practice to minimize distractions when it’s time to study. You can form a study group or join an existing one to get support from your peers. Working with a virtual study group even makes distance learning fun.
Using your own words is the easiest way to commit knowledge to memory. Most importantly, start early. You can overcome exam anxiety or stress when fully prepared to be tested. Use the study techniques listed in this article to increase your ability to recall what you’ve learned.