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Learning is a crucial part of all of our lives – even more for students. You need to learn dates and names in history; formulae and theorems in maths; complicated terminology related to human anatomy, periodic table, etc in science, and much more! A large part of how well you are able to do in exams or solve complex questions is based on
how well you learn, and are able to recall what you have studied. Therefore it is crucial to find how to learn in a way that works for you. Learning techniques that work best may differ from one person to the next. So in this article, we will tell you some learning techniques that have been proven to give good results, and maybe the best learning technique for you.
1) Take a break: we have stressed on this before, but will do it again to tell you its importance – sometimes, in order to change your mental perspective and lighten the mood and stress, it is necessary to take a 5-15 minute break every 30 min during study sessions. Studies show this is more beneficial than non-stop study, as it gives your mind time to relax and absorb information. This is because our average attention span is 25-30 min but it can be lesser or more for an individual. Experiment a little and figure out what works for you. Try to have goals for
each learning session, as to how much you will finish in one session.
2) Use mnemonic devices: A mnemonic is any learning technique that aids information retention and helps in retrieval. Mnemonics are probably the best learning strategy ever devised, and you can yourself see how effective it is! Here are few examples, that you must have definitely come across:
a) VIBGYOR – Mnemonic to remember the colours of rainbow and their sequence
b) To memorise the names of the planets and Pluto, we use the planetary mnemonic: “My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us a Nest” – where each of the initial letters matches the name of the planets in our solar system (Mercury,
Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, [Pluto]). Such mnemonics need not be limited to only basic things – you can extend these and make such mnemonics for anything – even high level science! For example,
here is one to help you remember the reactivity series – “Please Stop Calling Me A Careless Zebras Instead Try Learning How Copper Saves Gold.” Notice that the first letter represents the name of the metal!
3) Visualize it: a picture goes a long way in helping you remember it. You must have noticed that you remember an incident if you have seen a picture of it or a photograph. This is also where the term “photographic memory” comes from! Having a visual aid is therefore a good way to remember any information. Draw a mental sketch of what you
are trying to learn. This is where importance of flash cards come in – they can help you summarize information, represent it in pictorial form.
4) Create a mind map: A mind map offers a compact way to get an overview of an entire chapter project and helps you better remember it, by linking together information. Through mind mapping, you can see the relationships between different concepts covered in a chapter and will be better able at not just remembering it, but also filling in
some understanding gaps.
5) Brainstorm: Sometimes learning in a group is more effective. It has many benefits –
a) You may be stuck at a concept, your friends may be able to make you understand it
b) They may strengthen your concepts – Your friends may have an alternate explanation, that makes you understand something even better than your teacher sometimes – this is because your friends are at same academic level as you are.
So it’s likely that he/she will explain you in terms of layman, while a teacher may use technical language
c) You may discover new things in your brainstorm session – your friend may have a doubt and you all start discussing it. You will be amazed by how much new information can come out in these sessions. This is one of the reasons why large group meetings are held in companies for taking vital decisions
d) You don’t feel bored – sitting at home reading all alone may be demotivating sometimes. But when you sit in a group of people – all studying, you get motivated. Just make sure to study and not start wasting your time!
6) Write: When you read something, try writing it down yourself. It helps to strengthen what you have just studied.
7) Use post-it notes: best for remembering something you can’t seem to remember! It may be a chemical reaction, some event of french revolution, a formula, or anything else. Just write it on a post it or a piece of paper and paste it in front of your study table, mirror or almirah – or wherever you spend a lot of time so that you see it again and again and thus it fits in your brain!
8) Teach something: One of the best ways to learn something better is to teach it to someone else. Because when you try to articulate, you get to know whether you have understand it or not. The process of translating the information into your own words helps your brain better understand it. If you can’t explain something simply, then you don’t understand it well enough.
9) Relate new things to what you already know-For example, you can relate the concept of “potential” in physics with the experiment of two glasses of water connected by a straw in between. Learn what works for you. Some people are early birds, some are night owls; some prefer to study with a pal, others need complete and total silence. Experiment to find what’s most effective for you, and then stick with it! We hope these tips were helpful for you. We would be glad if any of these help you in learning better and scoring more