Several of you may be studying an advanced degree or even a short course to stay up to date with your profession. Studying can be challenging, especially when it has to be balanced with work and all your other responsibilities. Also, we are surrounded by distractions, your smart phone being the main one.
School and university education can be very stressful, too, because of the pressure people feel to succeed. We live in a very competitive world and starting in school, parents hire tutors or have their children take extra classes. So how can we study smart and not hard? First of all, you might want to try going to bed a little earlier as lack of sleep affects everything else.
Mindless memorization simply doesn´t work for long-term learning. Highlighting entire pages in your textbook is also useless and doesn´t mean you´re learning. For a long time, cognitive psychologists have been studying memory and learning. We know several things; information has to have meaning in order for it to be remembered. How does that work? Learning is constructed by connecting new information to old information. First you learn that people who think and speak, then that there is something called a brain which allows us to do these things and then you can look at the parts of the brain and how a nervous impulse works. You have to understand the general before you understand the details.
It is essential to pay attention when new information is coming in. This can prove difficult for some people and it is the lack of attention that impedes proper learning; all you have is sound which stays for a few seconds in your sensory memory before it decays. Some things are quite frankly boring, but if you have to know the material, you have to make a conscious effort to focus.
There is a limit to how much information we can fit in our short-term memory. The amount seems to be between 5 and 7 units of information. That information has to be rehearsed in order for it to go to your long-term memory. This takes time, which is why cramming doesn´t work. Actors are able to remember entire plays because they rehearse dozens of times. Plays are complex; there is emotion involved and if the play is good, it should be interesting. There are also memory triggers, or cues. There comes a point everyone involved knows the whole play.
Have you ever tried to memorize a phone number? This is a dying skill, because we just save people´s numbers in our phone. In ancient times, rather than memorize each number individually, numbers could be grouped like this 378-55-68-86. Visually, this is easier to digest, and you can give it some rhythm rather than recite it in a monotone.
Your brain needs to be engaged in order for learning to take place; passive reading is simply not effective. RMIT University in Melbourne has recently developed a font called Sans Forgetica. If you are the kind of person who likes to type-up your notes, you might consider downloading this font. You can also select it for your chrome browser so that when you´re reading through web pages, your brain is challenged just enough to make the information memorable.
RMIT´s Behavioral Business Lab says “Sans Forgetica is more difficult to read than most typefaces – and that’s by design. The ‘desirable difficulty’ you experience when reading information formatted in Sans Forgetica prompts your brain to engage in deeper processing”.
This is what the font looks like. It is free to download on the webpage and you can even see videos about how the font was designed and according to what principles. If you like to make flash-cards on your computer, you might consider writing them out in this font.
Of course, writing things by hand is also effective because it requires more effort. Cursive writing also allows thoughts to flow more freely.
By taking all these things into account, your studying is sure to be more effective.
For more information, you can call Property ACES at (305) 985-2237 and get started with the next stage of your life.