Catching Some Zzzzzzzzzzzzzs Will Likely Help You Net A’s and B’s

We have all heard the expression, “Get a good night’s sleep.” While this might be sound medical advice, it is also excellent academic advice. Studies have shown that students who consistently get a good night’s sleep can remember almost 20% more on tests of newly learned information than students who don’t.

Not only is regular sleep beneficial for cognition, but cat naps can also be helpful. Numerous studies have shown that even a 10-minute nap can enhance energy and concentration.

The Mishaps of Memory

How many times have you begun an exam thinking, “I’ve got
this!” and ended it muttering, “Maybe it’s not too late to drop the class…”?

Such calamities occur because of our metamemory—or how we think about our memory. In general, people are not very good at evaluating their own ability to memorize information. So essentially, we are overconfident and we think that we have
memorized information sufficiently when we really have not.

The best way to overcome this typical human error is quiz yourself on the meaning of the concepts, their relation to other concepts, and their overall context. When you start to quiz yourself like this, only then can you ascertain whether or not you have truly encoded the information.

 

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Go Head-To-Head with Your Mind

How many times have you heard that “your mind is your own worst enemy”? Research has shown that there is truth to the saying; students who believe intelligence and academic ability are set in stone will have a tougher time excelling than students who believe their abilities are malleable.

The difference lies in the fact that students who believe in growth potential
are more likely to redouble their efforts and try new strategies in the face of
adversity. Conversely, students who believe that intelligence and academic
abilities are fixed are likely to give up more easily.

So if you are struggling this semester and questioning your abilities—don’t check out mentally. Do check in on your thoughts. What messages are you telling yourself? What problem solving strategies are you not coming up with because of these messages? The mind is a powerful tool and it can master you… or you can master it.

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Skim Please! And We’re Not Talking about Milk…

Before every lecture, it’s good to know what you’re getting
into. That is why skimming the relevant chapters before class can be very
helpful to become acquainted with the material even before the professor
discusses it. After the lecture, go back and read the material more closely
with the aim of trying to understand, as opposed to simply reading through
words.

A 24-Hour Review Makes Information Stick Like Glue!

Did you know that reviewing new material within the first 24
hours of learning it helps you increase your retention of that knowledge by
60%?

So while it may be tempting to close your notebook after class and let it
collect dust, you’ll be doing your brain a world of good by reviewing your
notes pronto.

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Stupendous Study Tips for a Blissful Brain, Part III

While the idea of testing is as about as tempting as touching a tarantula, test practice on your own can yield big benefits. Research shows that when students test themselves after studying, they have a far easier time recalling the information than if they hadn’t tested themselves.

This is because retrieving information from memory improves your ability to remember it in the future. The more information you can consolidate in your memory, the more relaxed you’ll be for exam day. This way, you won’t be caught in the web of test taking anxiety!

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You’ll Be Ready for Showtime in No Time!

So you have a big exam in theater history. To get ready, you need to do a little rehearsal, but not the kind involving blocking or lighting. In order to best retain everything from Balzac to Beckett, you will need to do what is known as elaborative rehearsal. Such a strategy involves thinking about the meaning of what you study.

One of the best ways to do this is to write down the ideas in your own words. This is because when you generate information, you remember it far better than simply by recognizing it.  Try it—and when the curtain raises on exam day, your test performance will be drama-free!

 
 
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No-Nonsense Note Taking

In the age of lecture slides and SparkNotes, many college student wonder why they should bother taking notes at all. Despite professors’ handouts and study guide websites, good old-fashioned note taking is still the best recipe for academic success.

Let’s take a look at a few of the myths surrounding note taking:

  1. Myth: “Once I get my lecture slides from my professor, I don’t need to take notes.” Truth: Getting your lecture slides from your professor is like checking a book out of the library. In either case, the knowledge has not been transferred to you. In order for you to really acquire the information, you need to actively involve yourself an absorbing it. Note taking is one of the best ways to do that.
  2. Myth: “In order to take notes well, I would have to write down every single thing the professor says, and that’s impossible. So why bother?” Truth: Yes, writing everything down is impossible. And while trying to write down every single word sounds like active learning, it’s actually passive learning. Part of your job as a student is to discern which information is important and which is not. You don’t want to be a robot who simply copies words, but a thinker who can proactively sift out pertinent information.
  3. Myth: “Once I take notes, I don’t have to look at them until right before the exam.” Truth: The best way to commit something to memory is to look at it repeatedly. Sure, you could try reading your notes repeatedly right before the exam, but you’ll do a better job remembering the material if you look it over throughout the semester.

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Stupendous Study Tips for a Blissful Brain, Part II

When you need to study several topics in the same study session, it’s wisest to review subjects that are as different as possible. This happens because interference from related information makes it difficult to access information.

For example, if you were to study Italian and then Portuguese, you would have more difficulty remembering information from both topics than if you were to study Italian and then chemistry.

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Stupendous Study Tips for a Blissful Brain, Part I

Fortunately for college students, researchers in cognitive psychology have discovered ways to get the biggest bang for your buck when you study.

For part one of this series, study tips include the following:

  • Study only a modest amount of material at any given time
  • In that short study time, study groups of concepts are related
  • Review that material more than once

When you study in this fashion, you will reduce the amount of interference from other information so you can encode what you are studying more successfully. Additionally, this will make the material more distinctive.

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Memory Tip: Be an Attention Seeker

When it comes to recalling information, it’s all about attention. In order for your thoughts on Theology to flow from short-term to long-term memory, you need to focus on the material with a minimum number of disruptions.

This means turning off your i-phone, email, and any other distractions. If you can’t live without them, reward yourself by checking them after you’ve studied for half hour (or after however long it takes for you to start squirming in pain). A little concentration will go a long way!

 

For more information, take a workshop at The Study:

(www.loyola.edu/department/thestudy/studyskills/workshops)

 

 

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Memory Tip: King Henry Died Bloated Drinking Chocolate Milk

Make memory amusing! This King Henry line is a mnemonic (rhymes with “chronic”) device that helps recall information.

For all of you science fiends out there, the words “King Henry died bloated drinking chocolate milk” stand for the metric prefixes and base unit: Kilo, Hecto, Deca, base, Deci, Centi, Milli. What fun mnemonics can you come up with?

 For more memory tips, take a workshop at The Study. (www.loyola.edu/department/thestudy/studyskills/workshops)