As an experienced teacher, you know that students perform poorly sometimes because of using the wrong study techniques – which is actually a more dominant factor than their innate intelligence. When you go out and scrape the web for answers, you’ll find lots of suggestions that might even blow your mind.
However, this article contains only 8 most recommended and research-backed study techniques that students can apply and dramatically change their academic performance.
1. Distributed practice
Distributed practice also known as spaced practice, is a technique that involves spacing out study sessions – while focusing on a topic for a short period of time on different days. This technique has the following advantages;
- Improving the students’ retention
- Enabling students to interpret and understand instead of cramming
- Giving students enough preparation time as opposed to cramming the night before
This is trusted as the exact solution for cramming, as it is more of a sustainable studying technique for all students.
The use of flashcards is also known as the Leitner system. It involves ideally keeping your cards in several different boxes to track when you need to study each set. Each box determines how frequently you have to read something, for example;
- Box 1 – every day
- Box 2 – every two days
- Box 3 – every four days
- Box 4 – every nine days
- Box 5 – every 14 days
3. Information retrieval
Retrieval practice is one of the most popular techniques based on the concept of remembering at a later time.
The people that use this technique believe it’s better and more effective to remember a previous answer than having to search for it every time.
4. Spaced repetition
Spaced repetition is a study method that uses active recall techniques – taking the information you need to memorize, and repeating it over increasing intervals until successfully memorized.
5. Mind mapping
Popular among visual learners, the mind mapping technique works when concepts are visually arranged in a digestible diagram that clearly shows how each point works, for example;
- Write your study topic in the middle of a blank piece of paper
- Connect one of your main ideas to the main topic as a branch
- Connect sub-branches that signify supporting
- You can apply different colors to the branches or even draw diagrams
This studying technique is made up of five steps that make the acronym. They are aimed at enhancing the comprehension process of every reader. The steps include;
- Survey: This involves the preparatory process of skimming through the first chapter of the book and taking note of the things that stand out like the headings and images
- Question: This involves trying to find out what one knows about the title or the hint they’ve come across
- Read: Now, this one obviously involves reading the first chapter extensively in order to answer the questions in mind
- Recite: This involves rewriting or saying out loud what you’ve read – in your own words
- Review: As soon as the chapter is done, it’s important to reread the matter and make sure to memorize it.
7. Feynman technique
This technique of reading was introduced and mainly popularized by the scientist Richard Feynman, who suggested that explaining something simply is the key to understanding it better. It involves the following process;
- Write out the subject matter of what you’ve been reading
- Continue to write a detailed explanation of what you read in your own simple words
- Find out the mistakes you’ve made, revisit the notes and repeat the process until you understand
There are so many students and even adults that struggle to learn and grasp new things because they don’t know what technique works and what doesn’t work for them. As for me, I suggest that you try out each of these techniques and recommend for your friends and students to do the same thing until they discover what works for them. As you’ve noticed though, some techniques work best when they’re used along with others.