What are some study hacks every student should know?

Over the years I’ve given students a lot of advice on how to get the most bang for their buck on studying. If I had to narrow it down to three of the most valuable is would be: Youtube, the theory of time spaced learning, and getting the right tools are three study hacks every student should know about.

1. Youtube/video tutorials. These are invaluable. If you just can’t recall what your math teacher said you can use Khan Academy, a free service put on Youtube and Google via a math teacher. He has received wide acclaim for these tutorials and I have used them widely with my students as well as with my own children when stumped doing their homework. Besides that, there are millions of freely shared videos on Youtube that you can access through trying a few simple combinations of keywords. There is one catch though, if you didnt pay attention in class, you have to py attention to the Youtube video. Nothing is automatic.

2. “Space it Out” The theory of time spaced learning

I wrote a longer article about this here. Whether you are learning or teaching, it’s important to not over stuff your brain. Studies have shown that the mind cannot absorb more than three things at a time. So, if you are writing, don’t make more than 3 main points or they will be wasted on over-fed minds. If you are looking to read and understand something, break it down into three or less main categories. Yellow pads are great for this. You’d do well to “space out” the time you have to study as well. The theory of time spaced learning got me through College Algebra at the junior college. I have always struggled with math and a teacher shared with the class about it. My life has been improved ever since! And this will also help you get some online jobs as well.

The theory goes like this: instead of studying to absorb new material over the course of an hour, break up your time into 15 minute increments. The data shows that memory is strongest when you start and stop a study time. Therefore, instead of having strong memories only twice in an hour, you will have them at the start and stop of each mini session. This equals more knowledge retained! Now this was great news to me, because I loved taking breaks from math!

When it comes to our brains, less is more and quality is better than quantity. Slow down and take more breaks, you’ll be amazed how much more you retain for life!

3. Take the time to get the right tools. If you’ve ever failed at a household task because you stripped a screw, you know the value of the right screwdriver. Studying is the same way, it often requires tools to be done more effectively. If you are studying a foreign language, stop on the way home and get 3×5 cards for new words to study. If you need pencils, get hundreds and a reliable sharpener. Study a few times without them and you will remember what I told you. Write down the things that you need (even if they be healthy snacks) and have them ready the next time you study.

Author: Damien Riley

Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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