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How to learn more and study less – 5 proven methods
Do you sometimes feel that you are studying hard for little or no result? Then your problem may not be how hard you are studying but rather how smart you are studying. Try these 5 tips to learn more with studying less.
Studies have found that we learn best when we are able to connect pieces of information together. Learning to meditate and incorporating meditation practice into your day can greatly enhance your study efficiency. In meditation, your brain patterns change from the normal waking state (beta) to the slower and more organized alpha, theta and delta. The alpha state, that is associated with light relaxation and the beginning of meditation, is a state that is highly conducive to learning. Learning to incorporate meditation into your study can lead to highly effective memorization and processing of large amounts of information. Meditation has also been shown to increase the actual physical amount of both white and grey matter in your brain. On top of other benefits, meditation allows both hemispheres of your brain to work together, a process called whole brain synchronization. Many of the world’s most intelligent and brilliant thinkers process information with both sides of their brains together.
2. Avoid alcohol
Drinking has been shown to significantly impair the functioning of both short and long term memory. Studying involves laying down new memories in order to learn specific information. Really effective study lays down long term memories to enhance recall for an extended period and to allow the learning to be incorporated into the overall decision making mechanisms of the brain. So, a couple of drinks at the end of the week is OK, but a glass of wine or two before you hit the books will not help you learn.
3. Study before sleep
Reading over the information you wish to learn just before going to bed can greatly enhance your learning. Sleep helps organize new information and allows your subconscious to process it – your subconscious is great at finding connections between chunks of information that your conscious mind may not see. As talked about before, it is these connections that lead to deep and meaningful learning.
4. Learn how to focus
Mobile phones, social media and the internet have seriously eroded our ability to focus on one task completely and fully. Scientists used to believe that people who multitasked had a performance edge over those who did not, however, recent research has proven otherwise. Switching your attention from one activity to another will cause you to learn more slowly and you will make more errors. So, switch off your phone, close facebook and even disconnect from the internet and really switch on to learning.
5. Involve all your senses
The more parts of your brain that you can involve in learning, the more complete will be your understanding and retention. So, as well as reading your notes, try recording an audio file and listening to it. Draw a mind map using bright colors (activate your visual cortex) and try explaining what you have learned to a friend or family member. If you are musically inclined, try crafting the information you are trying to remember into a song. Keep things fresh and interesting and you will ensure that you are activating as much of your cerebrum as possible, leading to deep and engaged learning.
Real learning takes effort and dedication, but following the proven methods outlined here will make sure you are making the absolute best use of your study time – you will learn more and study less.