“Go to your room and do your homework. Don’t come out until you get it!” Sound familiar? Ok maybe that was just me, but not that many years ago the accepted thinking was that the best way to learn was to lock yourself away in a quiet room and immerse yourself in a subject until it ‘stuck’.
I remember parents, teachers and older siblings telling me that was the way to make information stick. Well as it turns out, according to a New York Times report, all that well-meant advice may have been wrong! The report suggests that many of the study methods that previous generations relied on are scientifically unsound!
Here are some top tips, some old, some new, to help you improve the way you learn:
- ‘Flash cards work’ – Not all the old tricks are wide of the mark. Flash cards are still an effective method of learning. Writing things down, and repeating them out loud does help imprint information.
- ‘Find your place’ – A library or quiet bedroom may work for some, but scientists suggest that if you change up your place of study you are more likely to retain information. Your memory is impacted by location; a change of scene can help you remember more.
- ‘Cram doesn’t pay! ‘ – Cramming is not the best way to absorb information long term. It may help you get you through a test, but not an entire course.
- ‘Group study works’ - As long as you study when you get together, study groups do work. Work through an assignment, test each other, or take turns in explaining or demonstrating procedures.
- ‘Cherish tests…they work’ – Formal tests and exams enhance our knowledge and understanding. Consistent testing helps us recall subject matter, and it pays off when preparing for finals.
- ‘Talk to your dog!’ - Repeating information out loud helps your brain retain information. If you can’t arrange a study group, talk to your dog! He won’t know what you’re saying, but he’ll love the attention, and the exercise should help you embed the material in your memory.
- ‘Switch things up’ – Scientists say that immersion in one subject is not an effective way to learn. Regularly switch between related topics to keep your brain engaged.
- ‘Practice hard and often’ - Many of our Carrington College California certificate and degree programs include an externship. If your program has one, make the most of it because practical experience is highly valued by potential employers. But you don’t have to be on externship to practice your skills – volunteer somewhere that gives you hands on experience, or form a study group and practice with your peers.
There’s no big secret to becoming a ‘smarter learner’, but these tips may help. Speak with your Carrington College California instructors – they may have some helpful hints of their own that could work for you.