Study smart not hard

Study smart not hard

It is something that many of us dread yet it does not have to be that difficult: studying. Having good study habits is super important when you get to the HSC. As a result, it is important that we begin developing good study habits as soon as we can. Luckily, it does not have to be that hard.

Everyone’s study habits are unique. What may work for one person may not work for another. There is no universal or ‘right’ way of studying. Through a little effort, trial-and-error and intuition, most of us usually form a study routine that we are happy with. Others, however, are still in the midst of finding the right study routine for themselves. Regardless of which of these categories you fit in, there are some things that may help you improve or develop your studies.

To group study or not to group study

Whilst many of us believe there are benefits to studying in groups, many others believe that it is distracting. According to psychological findings, there are advantages to both depending on the type of studying being done. When in the early stages of studying, it is best to study alone, according to the principles of social inhibition.

When other people are around, it may influence your behaviour leading to a poorer performance in learning and memorisation. However, once the material has become familiar, there are benefits to studying in a group because people perform better when in the presence of others due the awareness of judgement.

Match study and test conditions

More often than not, a considerable amount of our studying involves memorisation. People tend to recall their memories better when their study environment is as similar as possible to their testing environment. This is known as the transfer appropriate processing principle. Based on this concept, to improve recall of memorised material, individuals should try and make the study and test conditions as similar as possible.

For example, if you are studying for a written exam, your memorisation should involve writing. If you are going to do your exam in an air-conditioned room, you should memorise in an air-conditioned room. Although it may seem insignificant, having these similarities improves the chances of you not forgetting what you have studied!

Personalise what you learn

Think back to last year. What are the most memorable moments or events that you can remember? More than likely, what you remember is specifically significant to you and has personally affected you in some way. This is known as the self-reference effect – we recall information better when it is personally relevant.

To use this phenomenon, people should try and relate with what they learn whether it be through personal experiences or applying the knowledge or ideas. For example, if you are learning about film techniques, try and identify examples of those techniques in your favourite movie. For subjects that are more theoretical, try and teach what you learnt to someone else.

Have fun studying!


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