It doesn’t matter what you’re studying for — a test, a work presentation, maybe even the faces and names of your new coworkers — it can be hard to remember what you study.
This happens to everyone at some point and for any number of reasons. Maybe you didn’t study long enough, or you over-studied and wore out your brain.
No matter what reason is your most frequent culprit, you can still find a way to successfully remember what you study.
The key is to try out different methods that have been proven to help people remember what they want to remember, and then use it whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to study again.
If you try out some of the following techniques and still have a hard time remembering what you study, don’t give up! You will find what works for you if you just give yourself time.
To get started, though, here are four ideas:
1. Organize Your Space
Especially for students, this is a tip you probably hear a lot and want to ignore. Why waste time cleaning your room when you’re supposed to be studying? Well, it could actually help you in more ways than one.
Eliminating things like distracting smells and uncomfortable temperatures can help you focus on what you need to remember. Additionally, if you have too much stuff around, it can be overwhelming — and your ability to concentrate goes out the window. Think of Feng shui as you organize and get your work space to a point where you can sit down and feel a sense of calm rather than chaos.
2. Take a Break
Sitting at a desk in your room or the library and studying for hours on end can make you lose your will to do anything, much less remember what you’re studying. How do you combat this? It may seem counterintuitive, but simply taking a break can boost your productivity.
Your brain can only hold a finite amount of information in its short-term memory at a time. Taking a break gives your brain that needed reprieve to help you make the necessary connections for the information to sink in.
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Having someone there to continually motivate and encourage you is half the battle. We got you.
3. Hit the Gym
Yet another reason why you should be going to the gym more often: It might help you improve your grades by boosting your information retention. A recent study done by UNSW proved that participants who did low-aerobic exercises for just five minutes after studying remembered the material better than participants who didn’t exercise.
Even if you go just to run around the track a couple of times, you’ll have science backing you up to prove that you’ll make a better grade this time around on your exam.
4. Summarize That Chapter
Sometimes what you have to learn is just too much all at once. You can’t possibly memorize ten chapters all in one week, which is when you should break out your favorite pencil and write in the margins.
Summarizing your reading material in the margins helps condense what you learn into more manageable chunks. You’re also re-teaching yourself the information in a way that your brain can specifically understand and remember it.
The next time that you find yourself scheduling a study night into your week, don’t feel defeated. Even if the material isn’t your strong suit, you can still find ways to help yourself so the time you spent studying isn’t wasted as soon as you put the book down.
You’ll eventually find a way of studying that works the best for you. Your reward will be a stronger ability to remember the information — which translates to better test scores, better preparedness for that work presentation, etc.
Each of us remembers things differently, so be patient with yourself as you find your ideal study method!
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