Techniques on how to study better and retain more information
We all know studying and retaining more information is a process that must be learned. But did you know that there are some very sound studying techniques to help you and they don't involve long hours huddled over the textbooks.
There are a couple of studying techniques that you should understand. They are the spacing effect and surveying.
The spacing effect
The easiest way to absorb information is to use the spacing effect, a study technique that researchers have called “one of the most remarkable phenomena to emerge from laboratory research on learning.”
Basically, when you learn new things, your brain stores that information in neurons. It then connects those neurons to existing neurons that contain information you already know, forming a network of associations.
The problem is that your brain can only grow this neural network of associates so strong in one sitting. That bears repeating—it is physically impossible for your brain to grow neural pathways strong enough in one day for perfect retention. That’s why if you force yourself to study the same information many times in one or two days, also known as cramming, you’ll have a hard time remembering it even though you studied for hours.
The second study technique is called surveying.
By using the spacing effect and surveying, you’ll be able to review all the information dozens of times. These multiple spaced exposures will be key in helping you memorize everything you need to know.
Surveying is a technique to help you condense all the information into something more manageable. I’m assuming that you’re taking classes while learning all this information, but if you’re not, just apply this to your textbooks.
- Peter McGregor