Studying Tips – 30 Education Experts Share Their Learning Strategies

Studying Tips

The educational system has been facing many new challenges lately due to the pandemic.

In many countries, schools and universities have shifted from a traditional way of teaching, in person, to online teaching.

This causes a lot of difficulties for students that don’t have access to a PC or to the internet.

In addition to that, the learning process is also affected. It’s more difficult to focus when you are home because you have a lot of distractions, and also many people learn things easier when they can practice what they study, especially in technical domains.

As the exams are getting closer, we want to help students learn faster and better, so that’s why we reached out to 30 education experts and we asked them the following question:

What is your best tip for students that need to learn a large quantity of information in a short period of time?

We received amazing answers explaining different learning techniques.  Most of the experts are professors and teachers and some of them are psychologists which understand very well how memory works. Keep reading to see what they had to share.

Lindsey Wander – WorldWise Tutoring

Lindsey Wander

First, see what tried and true resources are already available. No need to “reinvent the wheel.” Maybe there is already a highly-reviewed guide, website, or app that you can utilize. Try to choose resources that incorporate different learning styles in order to deepen the infiltration of the info into your brain.

For instance, you can say the info on your flashcards out loud to tap into visual and auditory learning. If the flashcards are tangible, you can also randomly choose two or three and then arrange them logically based on a connection you synthesize to also tap into reading/writing and kinesthetic learning.

Second, seek help when needed. This can be in the form of online support groups, in-person study groups, or a private tutor.

Third, make studying a daily practice. While brushing your teeth, recite the info in your head. During your lunch break, complete a quiz. Before you go to sleep, study your notes. Constantly upload the info into your mind.

And lastly, laser focus on what is most challenging. Highlight flashcards, questions, notes, etc. that continue to give you trouble as a reminder to revisit those close to the actual assessment – then stop studying what you have already mastered.

Karen Gross Education

Karen Gross

There are a lot of things that contribute to information retention: the affinity for the subject; the level of engagement; quality of teaching to different learning styles of the learner; the level of anxiety and stress.

That said, here are some strategies:

1. Create nemonic devices where key concerns/issues/topics are represented as letters in a word that one can remember. Even set it to music. A learner can have three or four words that they can decode. Healthcare students do this all the time and pass these words/sings from generation to generation.

2. Create all the information — if you are a visual learner — on a one-page map/flow chart. Then keep adding detail to the map (so things connect) and then reduce and simplify the map. The vision and revisions to the map will stick in one’s memory.

I created course charts for students and they completed them again and again over the course of a semester.

Alison Clark – Healthy Minds, Safe Schools 

Alison Clark
Learning and memorizing new concepts and information to do well on tests can be very rewarding. There are very few earned experiences in life that result in instant gratification like putting in the time and effort to study for a test and getting high marks. Using tried and true study tips is a life hack that makes learning easier and taking tests less stressful.

Mental Imagery

Using mental images can help you remember new information with connections to visual representations, diagrams, and familiar places. Pairing new words or concepts with mental pictures are better remembered than words alone.

Mental images of routes and places can be associated with new information to help organize memories and lead to higher accuracy of labels, locations, and compositions.

Chunking and Rehearsal

Breaking information into manageable lengths to rehearse is key to learning. Chunks can then be connected and retrieved together later.

Short-term memory can hold four to seven bits of information, so a chunk should never exceed that amount.

The real trick to quickly transferring information from short-term memory to long-term memory is to interrupt the rehearsal between sets for at least 10 seconds doing something else, such as singing the alphabet or counting to 20 and then rehearsing the chunk of information again. That little break in between rehearsals allows the information to transfer into longer-term memory so it can be recalled later.

Otherwise, when short-term memory is full any new information added on top will be lost and there will be no guarantee that what was in short-term memory will transfer over to long-term memory, dimming your chances for retrieval on demand.

Mnemonic Devices

A mnemonic device is a way to organize, memorize and retrieve information by pairing new information with familiar, memorable and relatable images, words, phrases, sentences, rhymes, and songs.

Phrases and sentences can be used as reminders of lists and the correct order of things by using the first letter of each word to cue the correct order, like using “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” when solving algebraic equations to do math operations in the correct order, “parenthesis, exponents, multiplication and division, and addition and subtraction.”

Using rhymes helps with encoding information so it can be retrieved in an accessible way. “In fourteen ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Or try changing the words of a familiar song or poem to include the information you need to memorize, and you are more likely to recall it.

Acronyms use short words with a series of letters matching the first letter of each word in a list. For example, remember the great lakes by using the word “HOMES” to remind you of Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. Mnemonic devices can even help with rules of spelling, such as the difference in spelling between desert and dessert, because more than one “s” means you get seconds.

Speaking of dessert, give yourself frequent breaks with a highly positive reinforcement schedule while studying, like hugging a loved one, eating a piece of candy, making a short call to a friend, or listening to a good song. Your brain will reward you by associating the act of storing and retrieving large amounts of information with pleasure, which also improves performance.

Brian Galvin – Varsity Tutors

Brian Galvin

Triage that mass of information into four categories:

1) Do Know – information you know well and just want to refresh briefly to make sure you don’t forget, so this gets 5-10% of your time just to make sure it’s easy to recall when you need it.

2) Should Know – information that’s totally within your reach, the “it’s on the tip of my tongue” knowledge. That should get 30-40% of your time and be a priority in each study session – these are the easiest points for you to pick up fast.

3) Could Know – these are the practice problems that make complete sense when you read the solution, but that you don’t quite know how to start when you see them cold. You can do this with work! This should get 50-60% of your time.

4) Maybe Someday – the issue here is that many students prioritize – and then struggle through – the hardest content and in doing so miss out on the much easier points to pick up.

This category is one you’ll have time for as you’ve moved big chunks of “Should Know” and “Could Know” to “Do Know” – *and* in many cases the knowledge in this category comes faster when you can build it on top of a very strong “Do Know” base, so prioritizing this last means it will end up going quicker, too.

Angel Pretot – French Fluency

Angel Pretot

Know yourself. There is no one-size-fits all.

1. Know your learning style

For visual learners, techniques that engage your sense of sight will be helpful. Take notes, doodle, visualize concepts and even funny associations. Visual learners are a majority, so these techniques will work for most people, but not everyone.

For auditory learners, read your course out loud, record yourself and replay it, explain it to someone else (often the most powerful way to learn something at a deep level), or make associations that sound funny.

For kinesthetic learners (a small minority), use techniques that include movements or spatial visualization, such as the memory palace (associating each part of what you want to learn with a location in space), or learn while working out

2. Know your best times to study

Some people do better at night, some do better in the morning – know which times work best for you and don’t force yourself to study outside of those times. Use them instead to rest and recharge.

3. Finally, a healthy lifestyle will greatly help your brain do its best work.

Make sure you sleep enough, eat a healthy and balanced diet, exercise, and if necessary, take food supplements, like omega 3 and Vitamin D.

Dr. Justine Green – Dr. Mommy Green

Justine Green

The best tip is to know your student and know the test material. The more you know about your student’s strengths and weaknesses, the better you can help them prepare for the exam.

If you know that they are stronger in language arts than mathematics, focus on the big ideas in the mathematics section and review language arts quickly.

Spend time on the areas where the student needs support. Figure out what needs to be learned and what will make the biggest impact on their performance.

Theresa Bertuzzi – Tiny Hoppers

Theresa Bertuzzi

You can make the topic interesting for the students by making visual connections to the information you provide.

This is a great technique to implement because our brains find it easier to store and recall images.

Visual connections can help students make sense of the content, increasing their focus on concepts that may be challenging to understand through text only.

Dan Lee – Solomon Admissions Consulting

Dan Lee

When it comes to remembering a lot of information one of the most effective ways we have seen when we work with students is to write it down.

Take notes either shorthand or bullet points that help you grab the key information that is being shared to help remember key elements. When you are writing it down you are focusing on the conversation and the details shared.

You are not focusing on anything else but what is being written or said.

When you review your notes it’s easier to digest as you revisit the entire conversation in your mind. You tend to remember more as you start going through the data that can be useful during testing.

Patrick Quinn – Brainly

Patrick Quinn

The best way to learn the most and to retain information is to teach it to someone else. Set a certain amount of time to study without any distractions and learn everything you can in that amount of time, with the goal that you will explain it to another person.

The way a student will approach learning the material will be more analytical, and they’ll naturally pull the major elements of the lesson and figure out in their own mind, a way to pass that knowledge on.

Online learning communities are perfect for this. The student can find others struggling in the subject they are learning, and then offer their knowledge, reinforcing that lesson.

When they deliver the lesson, the questions asked will also likely inspire more research, offering a new perspective on the subject matter and enhancing what was already learned.

Basically, by teaching it to others the student reinforces the learned content and will become cognizant of potential gaps in the knowledge.

Dr. Karen Aronian – Aronian Education Design

Karen Aronian

Change lyrics to a song you love- to the words to the information you must learn.

I can show you an ideal example of this. My 13 year old just learned the entire Constitution this way.

My 11 year old learned the entire Periodic Table this way. I have audio and videos of each.

A key way to imprint content effectively, proven through evidence-based research, is to study in different environments and change up your learning spaces, so move from the living room couch to the kitchen to the outdoor deck and let it soak in with a review in the tub.

Finally, before you go to bed, go over your notes to embed them into your dreams and mind.

Tamar Blank – Riverdale Psychology

Tamar Blank

Review the information with a clear mind in a clear space.

A clear space can help our mind focus on that which is in front of us.

Set yourself up before beginning, go to the bathroom, have a drink and snack ready.

Handwrite notes, highlight that which is hard to remember and handwrite it again.

Continue until creating a condensed review sheet.

Cindy Clumeck Muchnick – The Parent Compass

Cindy Clumeck Muchnick

I believe in the “old school” tried and true methods. I am an educator and lifelong student. Quizlet and other online test prep “games” and apps can certainly help to some degree, but I always go back to the foundation practice of dusting off and implementing flashcards.

Working with old-fashioned flashcards is the most effective way to memorize and prepare for absorbing a large quantity of information.

Flashcards are particularly helpful when students need to remember key terms, new vocabulary words in a foreign language, concepts for a test, or to divide up ideas and key points that will be later connected in a written essay.

Simply take 3 × 5” or 4” x 6” index cards and write down a term/concept/vocabulary word/idea on one side and either a definition, a description of its significance, or a translation on the other.

Although making the flashcards might seem time-consuming, this method has many proven advantages.

First, the process of making the cards helps you begin to memorize the material. As you write down a term and its definition, your mind begins to process the information into your long-term memory.

Second, using cards enables a student to shuffle, make piles, and reorganize the terms in various ways.

For example, you can eliminate cards for terms you know well, and continue to test yourself on the ones you don’t, or you can make piles of concepts that can be linked together or relate to one another for future written essays or arguments that you need to present in your writing.

Once taking the actual test, students can also better visualize what they spent time writing and working on in their preparation for the test. And flashcards also allow students to quiz themselves! Or, having flashcards allows for someone to quiz you, too, if you prefer to study in a more social way, back-and-forth feedback way.

Steven Cox – Take Lessons

Steven Cox

Cramming lots of information in a short period of time is not a recipe for success for most students. There are a few exceptions for those students who have a photographic memory.

A better strategy is to know the material you are expected to be tested on, and then learn test-taking strategies, including how to eliminate answers and how to think like the test writer.

In general, taking tons of practice tests provided by the organizations giving the test seems to work the best. A deeper understanding of material often requires a different learning mindset than simply memorizing in order to pass a test.

In the long run, students will both pass these tests and retain more information this way. That deeper understanding can come from reading materials, discussing the issues, and writing about the topics.

Enric Batalla – Silicon Valley High School

Enric Batalla

Students who have a limited time frame to retain important information should implement spacing (distributed practice) as a learning strategy along with retrieval practice.

Distributed practice is essentially an opportunity for the brain to take a break in between lessons or study sessions, forget newly learned information, and work to “retrieve” it at a later date.

These two learning strategies go hand-in-hand because spacing encourages retrieval; newly absorbed information doesn’t fully stick around at first.

Students are able to learn more this way since the act of retrieving or “digging up” information cements new knowledge into the brain and promotes long-term retention.

Distributed practice in action means short lessons and study sessions as to not overwhelm the brain; think 30 minutes or less. Students can then come back the next day and retrieve what they learned previously, solidifying the memory in the process.

Self-testing via flashcards is a great way to practice retrieval. This process can be repeated as often as it is needed, every day leading up to an exam for example. These learning strategies are very effective for students who only have a short period of time to retain information because they do not overload the brain.

Amy Lawson Moore – LearningRx

Amy Lawson Moore

An effective way to remember a large amount of information is to create a story with a sequence of visual images that represent each piece of data.

Each image should connect to the next in some way. Images with odd or amusing details are even easier to remember.

For example, if you needed to memorize the order of all the United States presidents, you would create a picture for each one and connect them in a story.

April Brown – The Heard Counseling

April Brown

Something that we forget when studying is the importance of food and nutrition for our minds. Your brain needs energy and power to fire synapses and learn new information.

We forget the importance of consuming high energy snacks and meals throughout the learning process- coffee will not cut it for substantial information input.

For mood regulation, consume a snack or meal high in protein and fat. This helps regulate blood sugar levels that regulates mood.

Secondly, after that high protein and fat meal, consume some pure energy- healthy sugar. A banana is a great snack as it is high in sugars, but also healthy, offering pure energy for your brain. Cramming goes against our brains’ natural way it learns- we learn through continued exposure over time.

For that reason, you must supply it with the needed nutrients and rest it needs. Taking small breaks in between subjects by taking a brisk walk outside can help your brain retain and process information.

Bara Sapir – City Test Prep

Bara Sapir

We help students achieve state-dependent learning by intentionally creating a desirable state that they can reenter easily. We do this through mindfulness and holistic tools, including mindful meditation, hypnosis, Neuro-linguistic programming, sound therapy, and more.

Our goal is for students to enter the highly desirable “flow state” or ‘feeling present.’ In this state, students increase focus and recall and more easily recall content, hone in on questions, and employ the best test-taking strategy: ideal ‘during’ a high-stakes test. Simultaneously, students also feel unfettered by time pressure and inner/outer distractions.

Some of these techniques even disrupt self-limiting beliefs and unwanted behavior patterns. It’s a win-win all around. Below, I detail more about hypnosis and Neuro-linguisitic programming.

Hypnosis reprograms our unconscious mind by entering a ‘trance state,’ a highly focused and deeply relaxed state when we are more susceptible to suggestions. Hypnosis subverts the critical faculty and implants desired beliefs in our unconscious mind.

It makes our unconscious mind work for the actualization of those goals, rather than resist them. The results from hypnosis are immediate and sustainable, especially when we continue with a protocol of self-hypnosis.

Neuro-linguistic programming proposes that although we may not always behave in ways that are helpful to us, we make the best choices available to us given our unique processing and perspectives from our formative influences. Test takers often let meaning-making impulses affect our performance.

When we think about taking our test, we may think back to a prior test when we became anxious or nervous. We may recall that sense data and that feeling of nervousness. Instead of taking this as a call to action, however, we often become consumed with nervousness.

We may start telling ourselves stories about why we are nervous, like “I don’t take tests well…I never have” or, “I am always anxious about tests,” or “Why did I tell the whole office I’m taking this test, what will they think if I don’t do well, or need to retake.” This attempt to make meaning only reinforces the initial feeling of nervousness.

With NLP, we learn to stop at the first feeling— “I feel nervous”— and then take steps to DO something about the nervousness. Through NLP exercises, we alter the sense data their mind accepts or rejects and changes the way we respond to the challenges in a more productive, performance positive way.

Including state-dependent learning prompts our mindset and knowledge to coalesce seamlessly into improved retention and recall, better performance, and higher test scores. After all, tests don’t only measure what you know, they measure how well you take tests.

Leigh Ellen Watts Magness – Growth Therapy

Leigh Ellen Watts Magness

When students feel overwhelmed by a large quantity of information, this can lead to initiation paralysis or procrastination. One thing that helps minimize the paralysis is to make a plan for what you will study.

Break the information up into smaller, more manageable, pieces that then you can tackle one at a time. This is similar to how if you have a mountain of laundry, you may put off doing it.

But if you have just one load you’re more likely to start. The irony is even the mountain of laundry starts with one load, but we’d rather do something that feels like an accomplishment we can finish.

It’s also helpful to take breaks in between. It can seem counterproductive or like an inefficient use of time, but research shows we retain information better when we are consuming smaller pieces.

Instead of having a marathon study session, complete a few sections and then take a walk. Complete a few more and then have a snack. This helps to prevent burnout and increases motivation to get to the next stopping place.

Kelly MacLean

Kelly MacLean

We are only able to learn and remember a few things at a time. By using chunking, you can turn that into an advantage. The most common example of this in real life comes from numbers.

Phone numbers are separated into groups of three to four numbers, making the chunks easier to memorize individually rather than a string of seven numbers with no relation. Looking at the phone number 867-5309 as two parts rather than 8675309 as one unit makes it easier to memorize. A catchy tune can help, too.

But how does this apply to studying? When you study with flashcards, focus on learning 3-4 new terms or concepts at a time. Once you feel comfortable with those cards, add 3-4 new cards. Add those to the ones that you are already comfortable with, and repeat until you have the whole stack down pat!

If you use chunking when you are studying and connect terms and concepts with one another, recalling them during the exam will be a breeze.

Deborah Ann Davis – Awesome Mom Tribe

Deborah Ann Davis

Do you have a huge amount of material that you need to learn in a short period of time? Then do it your way.

Go to this link to download and take the Learning Styles Inventory. This quiz will reveal your preferred way to take in information. It’s well worth your time because once you identify your learning style, you can Google strategies for it.

Here are a few examples:

Auditory Learners:

  • Read the text aloud with a tape recorder
  • Listen to the playback to study
  • Audiobooks, recorded lectures
  • Discuss/study aloud with a buddy

Visual Learners:

  • Take detailed notes to absorb the information
  • Highlight and color code important points
  • Use diagrams, illustrated textbooks, videos, flipcharts, hand-outs
  • Find free printable worksheets/workbooks to supplement the topic

Kinesthetic Learners:

  • Vocabulary or historical facts flashcards
  • Create flowcharts, diagrams or posters
  • Watch videos on the topic, taking breaks to review
  • Highlight notes/text

There is no right or wrong way to learn. By using strategies that match your preferred learning process, you will retain facts and figures more successfully. Even if your teacher or boss does it differently, you can employ these strategies on your own.

Donna Novak – Simi Psychological Group

Donna Novak

To learn a large quantity of information in a short period of time can seem overwhelming.

Some tips for students would be to take it section by section, getting a good amount of information on paper or flashcards before taking small breaks.

These breaks in between sections will allow students to recuperate, focus, and be able to get back to business. If students sit there, rushing through the sections and barely putting in the time to focus and understand, it will hurt them more in the long run.

Depending on the amount of time, it’s good to make sure you’re going through everything thoroughly and making sure you understand the material. It’s better to understand portions of it than rush through it all and not understand.

Sia Goutzas – Maths Words not Squiggles

Sia Goutzas

As an exam date or deadline approaches, the weight of a large amount of content can become overwhelming. For this reason, it is critical that your study during these times is smart, effective and efficient.

So, how do you study smarter instead of harder? And how do you learn a substantial amount of content in a short period of time?

The best way to absorb a large quantity of information with a time restraint is to begin by understanding all the basics. This includes definitions, formulae, key concepts, and introductory ideas.

Once this foundational content is well-established and understood, it provides a platform for harder and more challenging questions and concepts to be absorbed.

In the worst-case scenario, when there is only enough time to learn the basics, it is these basics that may help you begin a question in an exam, and guide your response to earn higher marks.

Exams are designed to test a broad range of knowledge, so focusing on one topic and becoming an expert on it may result in full marks in one question or section, but the rest of the task at hand will suffer. Therefore, it is critical that time is spent understanding the entire scope of a subject, even if this understanding is only preliminary.

Don Martin – Grad School Road Map

Don Martin

Whether we like it or not, standardized test scores are part of the undergraduate and graduate school application process. Depending on the institution/program, your scores could in some cases be the deal-breaker regarding admission. With this in mind, my best piece of advice is as follows: A two-step approach.

First, be honest about your level of preparedness for the respective test you will take, and then decide what you need to do to bring yourself up to speed.

Second, plan ahead so that you are sure to have the time it will take to do this. Perhaps that means taking some time off from work or extra curricular activities, clearing the weekend or other social plans, and carving out daily blocks of time to study. This takes commitment, discipline, and personal accountability.

Katie Coscine – CoScine Creative

Katie Coscine

Students who are trying to cram a lot of information in a small amount of time should maximize their memory by using the power of color-coding.

First, students divide the information into categories and give each category a color. Next, students subcategorize or prioritize information within that category color by using shades of color.

For example, students could categorize algebra, chemistry, biology, and reading into red, blue, green, and yellow.

Then, they subcategorize or prioritize algebra topics into various shades of red with the darkest shade of brick red being the most common or important topic, and the palest shade of pink being the least important or rarest topic.

Students will recall the color easier and faster, and that will guide their memory towards the relevant information.

Arash Fayz – La Tutors 123

Arash Fayz

The biggest risk when cramming for a test or trying to learn a lot of information quickly is that you will move too quickly and think you grasp the material after covering it once.

Do not sacrifice comprehension for speed. Make sure you really understand the material before moving on and be sure to return to old topics after a break-in time to ensure retention.

For example, if you are studying vocabulary, study the words and test yourself, then move onto another topic once you feel you know the words. Then the next day, in addition to learning new material, return to those words you learned yesterday and retest yourself to make sure the material has sunk in.

It’s easy to be able to repeat definitions you’ve just studied or answer a math problem immediately after having done a similar practice question, but that does not ensure long-term retention so make sure you test yourself and study the material again as needed (and after a reasonable interval of time).

Osman Elmais – Medlink Students

Osman Elmais

For studying in 1-2 days before the exam

– Go through past papers, assess the style of asking the questions, and practice answering them.

– Prioritize the topics by their likelihood of coming up on the exam if you don’t have time to study everything.

– Make a schedule of the topics/headings that acts like a map for you. This allows you to visualize how much content you have to learn and prepares your subconscious mind to start remembering what you already know about these topics. This way, you begin to fill in the gaps quickly.

– If you have time, use a highlighter to lift the keywords off the page and into your mind. If you have more time, then write down the keywords and short sentences. Research proves that writing is a better way to retain information compared to reading. Actively rephrase the sentences every time. Don’t copy word for word because you’ll fall into a loop of passively noting down information.

– If you must stay up at night, even though it is detrimental for remembering information, sleep at least 1.5-2 hours before the exam. Make sure someone is there to wake you up and keep the light on so you don’t go into a deep sleep then you won’t be able to wake up easily. This will help your mind rest a little bit and not be too exhausted during the exam.

– Speak to people who have sat the exam before and ask them for their advice. They’ll usually give you insight into preparing well.

Daniel Koffler – New Frontiers

Daniel Koffler

One of my preferred strategies to learn/absorb large quantities of info in a short amount of time is a time-tested but not always remembered approach–an outline!

The simple act of organizing one’s thoughts can accomplish (at least) two important things:

-break down the effort into more digestible bites (which allows for easy reference/review of especially tricky/complicated fact-patterns)
-reinforce the priority issues/information that needs to be absorbed (which can help to ensure one doesn’t mistake the “signal from the noise”)

At the end of the day, when tasked with such an assignment, there aren’t any shortcuts. Tools like an outline can at least assist in making the effort seem less daunting–and a big part of any task like this is simply showing up and being confident you can do it. This can definitely aid that outcome!

Sarah Miller – Homeschooling 4 Him

Sarah Miller

When students need to learn a large quantity of information in a short period of time, it really helps to choose a study method that aligns with their learning style. There are several different types of learners.

Visual learners learn information best and fastest when they see it written down. Students who are visual learners should consider writing down notes and reading through their notes to help them remember facts. Visual learners may also benefit from drawing a chart or mind map to show how information is organized.

Auditory learners learn best by hearing information spoken out loud. Auditory learners can learn information faster when they say the facts they are studying over and over.

They might consider recording themselves reading their notes and then listening to the recording throughout the day. Auditory learners will also benefit from making up short songs to help them remember key facts.

Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing things hands-on. It is important that kinesthetic learners keep moving while they are studying. They may also enjoy teaching the material they are trying to learn to someone else, to help them understand it better.

Understanding your learning style and using it to your advantage when studying will help you be able to learn more information more quickly.

Adam Shlomi – SoFlo Tutors

Adam Shlomi

These are some of the tips that I was implementing when I study for my exams, and I did pretty well. I give the same advise all our students when they have a large quantity of information to learn.

  1. Teach someone else the information that you learn, in this way you speed up the process and you remember.
  2. Write down everything – research says that you are 40% more likely to remember or to implement if you write down.
  3. Focus on one thing at a time – by doing that students get more done, and feel less stressed. Multitasking is a myth.
  4. Find out when you are most focused, some students learn better in the early morning, others late nights.
  5. Learn in short chunks of time – learning for 50 minutes maximum and take a 5-10 min break to pause, reflect, stretch, and hydrate yourselves.
  6. Take a nap – Sleep is very important and when it comes to absorbing what you learn it could boost your capacity to retain the information.

Michael Fray – Yearist

Michael Fray

As a tutor, I have had to condense academic content into less than ¼ of the time it would usually be taught in at school, so I have a few thoughts on your query:

It is important to learn for understanding and comprehension. With limited time, you can not rely on rote learning or mass-repetitions, and there is not enough time to go over every possible way the content could be assessed.

Instead, you need to have a thorough understanding of the content such that you will be able to apply it to any situation which requires it.

Realize how all of the content is interrelated. It is much harder to learn 100 random, isolated pieces of information or skills than it is to learn five semi-related topics that each contain 20 related details.

Use a mental (or physical) mind-map to visualise how all of the content is related, or use a list of concepts that is divided into topics, with subheadings.

Similarly, work through all of the content or skills systematically. If it helps, create a checklist of all of the main concepts you need to learn and go through them one-by-one. For each one, cover the theory and then self-quiz or do practice problems, taking note of what you remembered and understood, and what you didn’t.

When you feel satisfied, move on. You will probably forget part of the content so, ideally, you would test yourself again at a later stage (spaced repetition).

Thank you so much to all the experts that have contributed to this expert roundup!

About the author

William Cohen

William Cohen

William is an electrical engineer whose great passion is helping promising students achieve their goals and dreams. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with aspiring learners from all over the world.

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