Staff Writer | Dani Herrera
You’re probably used to the onslaught of studying advice from professors, parents and fellow students. However, science has backed a few unusual study tips that you might just want to test for yourself.
1. Study right before going to bed. Our brains strengthen our memories of the day while we sleep. A study published in 2012 titled “Memory for Semantically Related and Unrelated Declarative Information: The Benefit of Sleep, the Cost of Wake” proved that material studied while sleepy was better retained than material studied while subjects were wide awake.
2. A study done in 2010 at the University of South Florida suggests rotating subjects a few times throughout a study session. This can sharpen the mind to find different solutions and strategies to a variety of problems. This is similar to how tests are constructed, especially cumulative tests.
3. Change the scenery. Students can tend to be creatures of habit, always studying in the same place. A study done by the Department of Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University found that moving around is beneficial. Finding new places to study can re-energize you while you study and can also help you retain more information.
4. Take a break every 90 minutes. Taking small breaks can keep your mind more alert and gives you a chance to refocus your energies. Similar to changing the scenery, it can help boost energy levels.
5. Read the material out loud. Doing this helps with memorization and also with comprehension as your brain is able to process it in multiple ways — seeing the words, saying the words and hearing the words.
6. Get an app that lets you decide what distracting websites to block out. One is called “SelfControl,” and it’s free for Macs. Apps such as this one can help prevent procrastination and multitasking.
7. Try taking notes with different colored pens. A 2002 Oxford University study found that seeing the different colors helps memory by also triggering visual memory. Visual memory is located in a different part of the brain and can be more effective because our brains are primarily “image processors.” This can also be a fun incentive to take notes.
Hopefully, these tips help ease the burden of finals week and make those last-minute cramming sessions just a little more effective!