When you’re learning new material, it can be overwhelming when you think about how much time you need to truly understand it all. This studying technique can help you stay focused and take on more information with shorter study sessions.
The lecture “Study Less, Study Smart” — featured in the video above — is from psychology professor Dr Marty Lobdell from Pierce College. In it, Lobdell shares his best tips for studying so you don’t ever have to attempt those dreaded cram sessions. The video itself is fairly old, and a few of you have probably seen it before, but it’s something every student should watch. The lecture is about an hour in length — and definitely worth watching in its entirety — but here are some of the best tips:
- Study in chunked sessions: Your ability to retain information diminishes after about 25-30 minutes, so break it up into multiple, smaller sessions. Reward yourself with fun activities during your breaks
- Have a dedicated study area: Don’t study where you do anything else. Don’t study in your bed, where you play games (even if it’s your computer) or in front of the TV.
- Know the difference between recognition and recollection: Recognition requires a trigger for you to remember something and you may not get that on a test. Study actively with focus on recollection. Quiz yourself and don’t just glance over highlighted notes.
- Take good notes: Find a note-taking method that works for you and expand on them after your class lecture to increase retention and understanding.
- Be ready to teach what you’ve learnt: If you can teach it to someone else, you have a solid grasp on the material.
- Read textbooks effectively: Use the SQ3R Method — survey, question, read, recite, review — to actively retain information. Just reading it is not enough.
Lastly, divide everything you learn into two categories: facts and concepts. Facts are things that can fall out of your brain and you may need to come up with a mnemonic device in order to study them. Concepts are the glue that hold entire big picture together, making them the most important part to study. Concepts are why you’re studying something to begin with and, once you learn them, they stick with you. Stop wasting hours studying at only a third of the pace you could be going and study smart.
Marty Lobdell – Study Less Study Smart [YouTube]