Are you a student? Even if you are not, you still need effective study habits to grow your knowledge base.
How about remembering the names of people you have just met? Or about learning a new skill?
7 Effective Study Habits that Boost up Your Learning Speed
Student or not, we need memorization and learning skills in every walk of our lives. Here are a few strategies that will help us become a better learner.
1. Develop Self-efficacy
That’s the gist of a healthy learning attitude. If we believe that we can learn a skill, we surely can. On the other hand, the belief of not having enough capacity will render us a failure in the learning process.
There are two prongs of self-efficacy: one is self-confidence and the other is the relative ease of the task.
Start by developing confidence in yourself. Remind yourself that you have learned similar material in the past so you can do it now. When you repeat this reminder for a few hundred learning tasks, this reminder will become automatic and will be included in your mindset.
Next, look at the task and think of all the reasons for which it is easy. If you have always considered yourself a weak learner, this step may prove a difficulty. In that case, you may have to take some time to search for ease in the learning material. Like self-confidence, this search will become more automatic after a few trials.
2. Stick to Your Learning Style
A right mindset will go a long way in helping you build your knowledge base. But you can take further help from collective efforts or better concentration.
Start by knowing your most effective study habits in terms of socialization. Do you depend mostly on your concentration and focus to absorb the material?
Or do you like to learn from varied viewpoints that come with group learning?
You may want a mix of both styles with an inclination towards one of these.
Experiment with different settings groups and surroundings to know your best mix. And then stick to it to optimize learning efficiency.
3. Include Your Learning Process
Another insight you want to have about your learning process is the mode of communication you prefer most. The best students in schools are those who are imaginative and can give visions to words. These learners are auditory learners.
Best students in practical life take a totally different approach and learn only when they act or witness a phenomenon. These students refuse to grasp any concept unless it is practically demonstrated in front of them.
Then there are visual learners. They prefer to learn through pictures, diagrams, charts, and mind-maps.
Before learning effective study habits, answer which of these learning styles best suits you? Again, experiment and validate. And then stick to it.
(Fun fact: These learning processes also indicate the skill you should be taking up in life. For example, practical learners are the best engineers and business people.)
4. Be mindful
Learning happens in every second of our waking life (in sleeping life also, but that resides in our subconscious).
Most of this process remains passive. And most of the passively learned material goes wasted and is never used. It is our common practice that we only use those pieces of knowledge which we acquire actively.
It’s like a transaction we make on a daily basis; if we are giving attention to some information, we only pay our currency of mindfulness if we are committed to using it in the future.
So, if you are willing to retain that information piece, order yourself to attend to it for the next few minutes. Use the Pomodoro technique to enhance this commitment. (Pomodoro technique allows us to commit to a task for a small amount of time before we take a break and return to it.)
5. Set goals
One way to enhance this commitment (that ideally should last no more than 25 minutes) is to create a happy image of reward from this learning.
Visualize the goal and the emotions you would feel when that goal is realized. For most students, this goal is to pass the exam and get promoted or get admitted to a prestigious program.
For those non-student learners, this reward can be a promotion or better year-end appraisal.
Whatever is the goal, always remember that the real catalyst of concentration lies in attaching emotions to these goals. Feel happy emotions so much that you can believe in the possibility of achieving them; thus, enhancing the efficacy of this task.
6. Divide and rule
Other than the mental hack of dividing the learning routine into manageable chunks of less-than-half-hours, students have also benefitted from the effective study habits of dividing the text and practical into pieces and mastering its parts separately.
So, if you want to learn certain spellings, the best approach is to proceed with a single word at a time. You can add convenience by dividing the whole spelling into syllables. The same goes for mathematical procedures, larger numbers, historical timelines, and chemical formulae.
This is the most quoted and utilized technique among effective study habits.
This technique starts with the planning stage when the student is not already tackling the subject. The first step, survey, requires the student to go through the topic superficially. The objective is to understand its learning outcomes.
The second step, questioning, is to arouse curiosity about the topic and make the understanding a little deeper.
The third step, reading, comes after actually attending the subject matter in class or in the group. Here, the student read the text to answer the question he raised previously.
The fourth step, recite, focuses on reciting the answers you have developed on your questions.
In the end, reviewing is the step to check off every question you have answered correctly.
These were seven effective study habits you can adopt to enhance your performance. If you think that these techniques are filled with mental hacks and mindset shifts, you are not wrong.
The article focuses on these hacks because these shifts are most effective in changing the outcome of our learning process.
Change the way you approach a topic and you will see a change in the conclusion you draw from it. Sometimes this change means that learning becomes fun once again.