Science With Hannah: 5 Ways to Improve Studying

Hannah Narvaez ~ Staff Blogger         

  As students we know it all too well—that hell that is about to rain down during the final two weeks of the semester. But don’t lose hope!

          There is still time to improve your chances of doing well on your final exams, and here are 8 ways to get you started on the right track to success!

  1. Ditch cramming: Psychology professors at the University of California, San Diego found that there is more success in the memorization of material if it is reviewed the same day it was learned. If you do not review the material within 24 hours of it being taught, you are estimated to forget 80 percent of the content!
  2. Stick to print: Researchers at the University of Leicester in England noted that students required more repetition to obtain material from reading off a computer screen versus a printed book. Further testing found that when it comes to reading, an iPad screen is associated with 2.6 percent slower reading times than a printed book, and a Kindle is 10.7 percent slower.
  3. Don’t overlearn: The continuation of study after a student has achieved an error-free performance defines overlearning. Student research done at the University of South Florida combined with information found by student research at UC San Diego suggest that studying too much is a waste of time.

           “There is too much bang for your buck,” meaning that the extra time you put into learning something you already know can be used to focus on things you have yet to learn. It was concluded that there is no benefit to overlearning, so why bother. It’s more effective to repeatedly review the material with retention intervals to remind the brain what it is it already knows.

  1. Stress hinders learning, so RELAX: This is the best advice I think anyone can give and take. Stress, even if it is temporary, has the ability to engage corticotropin-releasing hormones that disrupt the process of creating and storing memories in the brain. This is why it is so important to plan out your study schedule to not feel overwhelmed, give yourself breaks and find an activity that helps you de-stress.
  2. Exercise: Multiple studies across the United States have looked into the benefits of exercise and the brain. Getting your blood pumping well throughout your body creates high alertness, which can result in a positive mood and motivated attitude toward studying. Even if it’s a set of 10 push-ups, jump roping for five minutes or spending 10 minutes on the stationary bike, your heart will get going and create that increased blood flow.

          An alert brain is also similar to a sponge. The ability to retain information is the whole point of studying and can result in higher possibilities of being successful in relaying that information for the big test.

          Everyone has their own method to their madness, especially when it comes to studying. The beauty of the process is that we all have the same goal: to do well. Best of luck to everyone on campus, for we have worked a handful of months to get to where we are now. Let’s finish off the semester with our best foot forward!