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Studying Smarter Not Harder

Five Effective Study Methods To Improve Learning

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By Vedika Patel | 30th April, 2023

Discover five effective study methods that can help you learn more in a shorter amount of time. Find out how to choose the right study method for you, manage your time effectively, and avoid overstudying with these expert tips.


In an educational system wherein students’ desks are flooded with assignments, and they find themself in a never-ending dilemma as to how they will even get started with their work, there is just the right thing to do.

The pressure that others, and even we often put on ourselves for acing every exam, scoring the highest and aiming for the best, I’m sure is not new to you. However, is the key to getting an all A* report really behind studying and spending hours at your desk, wrecking your brains?

No. it is NOT. You may believe the hours spent studying is much to show off or even be proud of, however, much to your dismay, there are people out there learning and gaining more information in their mere 2-3 hours than you have with an entire day. Apps like Yeolpumta where you can join study sessions with peers from around the world may sound like an absolute motivation and might even work for a while. Pushing you to exceed the hours studied by another however under the pretext of hours, you may just be glancing over material and not actually studying. Your attempts at being in the top 3 might just backfire on you. The people you exceeded most likely learnt worth more of material. So, depending on a title will NOT always bring you success. Don’t run after quantity over quality!

So How Do I Get Better? Outstand All The Others?

So, you want to be one of them? The smart, elite, beauty, and brains? - The first step to that is to understand that it is studying smarter and not longer, or harder. The more time spent gnawing at books doesn’t necessarily mean you automatically become the best, sometimes it may be the complete opposite! Studies have shown that overstudying causes mental distractions and makes it harder to retain information. (Probably why you might have experienced forgetting a formula right after seeing it!) You would find that most of what you’re reading isn’t being processed and thus, you can’t comprehend any of the information.

Researchers say that too much studying can cause brain inflammation and even result in memory loss and depression. Which is why things definitely look better when in limit! Doesn’t it sound like music to your ears?

One of the main ways to study for a shorter period and learn more is by identifying which study method works best for YOU— Not for any of the tiktokers or youtube vloggers who “100% recommend this method! but YOU, yourself. This is because every individual’s brain works different, and how we retain information the best also differs. So, do some trial-and-error! Try out the following study methods and time yourself to see which method worked the best for you - where you learnt more, felt light and focused with!

  • 1. Pomodoro technique — a time management method based on 25-minute stretches of focused work broken by five-minute breaks. And longer breaks, typically 15 to 30 minutes, taken typically after four consecutive work intervals.
  • Active Recall — a study method that involves forcing your brain to recall the information through various techniques like flashcards, making your own questions, pretesting yourself before and after a revision or even teaching a friend.
  • Time blocking method — a strategy where you schedule out every single part —even the 2 minutes spent brushing your teeth— of your day. With this, you're effectively breaking the work and allocating it to a specific time which most likely leads to all your work being completed in or before the given slot, and the best part is this even allows you to analyze your weaknesses and strengths!
  • Spaced learning — or even known as distributed practice is a method that reviews material at systematic intervals based on how good your understanding on the topic is, and helps you keep it for longer in your brain! Study apps like ‘StudySmarter’ have incorporated this into their functions.
  • Feynman’s technique — After the physicist Richard Feynman himself, the technique compromises of learning a topic and explaining it to others, or even a wall just in case you lack the presence of another. This requires elucidating the information in simpler terms or from the basics which in turn helps YOU understand it fully!

These were just few of the best multiple techniques you can find via browsing. Once you have found the right technique for you, the only thing you need to focus on is time management and targeting your strengths and weaknesses.

Is That It? That Simple?

The question might occur to many of you, ‘is that it? is it really as simple as choosing an effective study method’ and the answer is somewhat along those lines, but not exactly it. Choosing your study method will improve learning but you must also incorporate other facts to avoid overstudying, or ineffectively studying. This, you can do by enforcing the following in your lifestyle.

1. Managing your time and separating leisure tasks apart from work and education related tasks 2. Committing to yourself and the task with a no distraction environment, where your devices are out of reach or on focus mode. 3. Avoid playing music because it actually only acts as a distraction! Instead turn to brown or white sounds which have proved to be effective. 4. Build a growth mindset and always look to improve despite facing struggles in the process of learning. 5. Avoid comparison with others, and the toxic study motivations you come across, even though they’re uploaded for motivation reasons. Your brain begins to believe what is said over time and thinks of you as ‘dumb’ or ‘slow’ as stated in the videos.

But.. Is It Reliable Enough?

Studies and researches have proven that such effective alternatives to spending day and night buried in books definitely has a good outcome. You can rely on TEDx speaker; Kiki Fan who herself spoke on this and formed a community that agreed. In fact, that person you are jealous of in your class might just be following these methods themself, and the only way to confirm is to do them as well! It’ll do no harm, but surely much good!

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