When most students think about studying, often they’re imagining long hours, re-reading the same material and sitting in the same place. Even though these methods can work short-term, they can also be fairly tedious. Rather than regularly using these techniques, we’ve discovered some handy study habits backed by science that are going to be much more beneficial. We guarantee they’ll help transform study time as well as help your kids and teens achieve higher academic results.
Regular exercise improves memory
Multiple studies suggest that exercise can significantly help improve memory, attention, information processing and problem solving. In fact, exercise increases the levels of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor which is important for the growth of brain cells. Exercise also releases powerful hormones such as serotonin (improves mood), dopamine (increases learning and attention) and norepinephrine (responsible for awareness and concentration). Make sure you encourage your kids to get their blood pumping by taking part in at least 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week. This can be a walk, playing football in the back garden, or enjoying after-school sports clubs.
Don’t sit in one place
We all know how easy it is to sit in the same spot for hours on end studying. However, science suggests that switching up study locations is a great way to improve retention. In fact, it gives the brain more locations to associate the material with, meaning students will be able to remember more information when it comes to exams. Encourage your children to move every hour or so for maximum results.
Don’t study the same topic all day
Studying a single subject for long periods of time is not only boring, but it’s not a very effective revision technique. Instead, alternate between different subjects every half an hour or so taking short breaks in-between. This ensures the brain stays alert and active, rather than falling into a lull from reading the same material for hours.
Teach someone else
Rather than studying just to retain the information, why not teach someone else that material? Studies have shown that doing this really helps commit the material to memory, rather than passively looking over it. Conducting mini lessons for others is also a great way for students to test their knowledge, practice understanding and explanation as well as note any areas they need to have another look at.
Get some sleep
Lack of sleep can have detrimental effects on memory, retention and processing. Research has even shown that staying up all night to study can actually cut a person’s capacity to learn new things by up to 40%. Deep sleep also causes physical changes to the brain such as strengthening pathways between brain cells around whatever it is that’s being learnt and also preparing for learning. It’s safe to say sleep really is important and making sure your kids and teens (no matter what age) are getting at least 8 hours (if not more) per night. It really will make all the difference when it comes to their academic performance.
Breaks little and often
Taking a short break every hour is extremely beneficial when it comes to studying. It helps improve focus on the task in hand without becoming distracted. Research has also shown that memory is at its strongest before and after a break, so it’s the perfect time for students to tackle trickier topics. Remember, breaks don’t have to be boring - they can range from going for a quick jog, skipping, to listening to music or watching a YouTube video.
Cramming may seem like a good idea at the time, however, it doesn’t give the brain the opportunity to process information into the long-term memory. The transfer of short-term memory into long-term memory takes time and repeated exposure. That’s why spacing out studying is going to be a much more beneficial study tip to stick to. Instead of rushing through multiple revision topics in one long session, try to spend a week gradually going over each one. Planning out study time a few weeks in advance may take a little more organisation but it will be worth it!