- Use all the roads to get there. – People learn through several sensory avenues, including visual, auditory, vocal, tactile, and any combination thereof. We are most familiar with learning through vision, (i.e., reading) or audition (i.e., listening). Some are stronger in one medium over another, but those are the primary avenues of input. When studying to retain content simply reading the material over and over again may not be the most effective approach. However, reading the content into a voice recorder and then listening to the recording gets the content into memory via at least two avenues. If you take written notes of the recording that is yet another avenue. Of course the more times you go over each avenue, the greater the retention of the material.
- Time and space. – Students should study in the same place every night. This doesn’t have to be the bedroom, but it should be quiet and free from distraction, away from the television and video game console. Any needed school supplies should be readily available. Students should
also understand that a certain time every day is reserved for studying and doing homework. Parents and students should base the time on what works best in terms of the child’s energy level and attention, as well as family routines. The best time is not necessarily right after school. Most students benefit from time to unwind. Once the time and space are agreed upon, the student should understand that even if she doesn’t have homework, the reserved time should be used to review the day’s lessons, review daily, weekly, and monthly plans, read for pleasure, or work on an upcoming project. Regular study time avoids cramming when a test comes due.
- Using mnemonics. – In exams, there are lots of places where you need to memorize long lists. You can use Mnemonics to make things a lot easier. For example: If you want to remember in order, the last 5 prime ministers in the UK who are: Harry Wilson, James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, you can make up a phrase such as “Harry Jumped Miles Joking Terribly”. Each of the first letters of the phrase represents the first name of the UK Prime Ministers. Using this memory improvement tip, remembering long lists will require less of your study time.
- Using Visualization / Photographic Imagery – When you read your studying material, picture things in your brain and make it funny or shocking so that it’s hard to forget. For example, earthquakes are caused by plates moving towards or away from each other. This build up of pressure is then eventually released which causes the earth to move. What you can do to remember this is immediately picture 2 smiling plates with faces, pushing each other. Eventually they lose balance and fall over each other. Simple photographic images of the above scenarios can be easily imagined and remembered. If the images are funny or scary, then you’ll remember them even better. It is much harder to use your memory to recall information without your brain relating to the text it reads with images.
- Working in Chunks of Time – When you study your materials, you tend to remember the beginning of the material and the ending of the material. The bit in the middle is the part that is easily forgotten. The reason is that when you start studying, your brain and energy is fresh. It takes in the information more easily. When you’re near the end, the information that you’re revising is most recent so recalling the information is easier. By knowing this, you can shorten your studying time to take advantage. Study in chunks of 30 – 45 minutes. Nothing more. You are using the beginning and the end recalling ability, to its maximum. By studying this way, memorization is much better and you’ll spend less time revising.
- The website www.how-to-study.com offers the following tips for Becoming a Flexible Reader.
To become a flexible reader, you need to know how to select and use a reading style that is consistent with your purpose for reading. There are three important reading styles you should learn to use. Each has its own purpose. Knowing when and how to use these three reading styles will make you a flexible reader. Read to learn about the three reading styles used by flexible readers.
- Study Reading is the reading style used by flexible readers when their purpose is to read difficult material at a high level of comprehension. When using the Study Reading style, you should read at a rate that is slower than your normal reading rate. Further, as you read you must challenge yourself to understand the material. Study Reading will often require you to read material more than once to achieve a high level of comprehension. Sometimes, reading the material aloud will also help you improve your comprehension.
- Skimming is the reading style used by flexible readers when their purpose is to quickly obtain a general idea about the reading material. The Skimming style is most useful when you have to read a large amount of material in a short amount of time. When using the Skimming style, you should identify the main ideas in each paragraph and ignore the details in supportive sentences. Because you are looking only for the main idea in each paragraph you read, a lower level of comprehension is to be expected than when using the Study Reading style.
- Scanning is the reading style used by flexible readers when their purpose is to quickly locate a specific piece of information within reading material. The piece of information to be located may be contained in a list of names, words, numbers, short statements, and sometimes even in a paragraph. Since you know exactly what you are looking for, move your eyes quickly over the reading material until you locate the specific piece of information you need to find.
Before you begin your next reading assignment, identify your purpose for reading. Decide if you are reading for a high level of comprehension, trying to get a general idea about what you are reading, or looking for specific information. Then use the reading style that is appropriate for your reading purpose.