We all yearn for a picture-perfect memory and a brain to understand concepts at tenfold speed. Here’s some good news, with some simple tips for effective learning, even you can learn anything fast and effectively.
These study tips that we present in this article are nothing but just a few small changes in your learning pattern and schedules but make a big difference to the speed and effectiveness of our learning:
- Don’t read a textbook like a novel: It is very commonly seen that when aspirants prepare for an exam, they go through books the same way as they would read a story. Starting from the first page, reading each line and till the last. This is not a very helpful practice because it is not a systematic approach to squeeze information into the head and hope it stays there. This scientific technique to read textbooks is where you first get an overview of the chapter by flipping through it step by step before you start reading it to take notes. Here’s the detailed scheme that you can follow to read textbooks to gain from them effectively:
- First, flip through each page of the book to look at the chapter you’re going to go through.
- Look at all the pictures, graphs, diagrams, bar-graphs, etc. and the number of words that the author has incorporated and how he has placed them.
- Now slide at the end to see if there is any quiz related to the chapter.
- Generally, any textbook will provide a quiz or questions at the end. Read the quiz to see what you need to look for. Before going through the chapter, it is essential to know what you will get from it.
- Now, scroll back to the beginning and read only the bold prints. The author wants you to see and pay attention to the information that he has put in bold, which would be all the titles, subtitles, etc. These bold prints tell you about the breakdown of the information in the chapter.
- So, now you have an idea of how all this stuff fits together.
- Before you finally start to read the chapter now, just go through the first and last sentence in each paragraph. The first line is an introduction or overview of the contained information, whereas the previous sentence helps you sum it up.
- This entire practice is not for comprehension but for the introduction. So even if you cannot connect dots as of now, you at least have a map of all the dots. You have got a preview of coming attractions, and your brain is, thus, set up for the information.
- Now you are all set to read the chapter and take notes.
- Like this, you only need to go through a textbook once. Now, this may look like a lot of effort and time-consuming activity for JEE. But anyway, this is any day better than reading a book multiple times and getting bored, isn’t it? The process may be slower but is many folds more effective than traditional reading. Getting an overview of what the author wants to convey before you actually go through the chapter helps the human brain turn on its radar so that it is ready for the upcoming information. The information thus retains faster and for a longer time.
- Plan before you study: The human brain is designed to work at its maximum efficiency when involved in tasks that were pre-planned and known to it. If you follow a consistent schedule throughout your preparation phase, that is when you can utilize your brain the maximum for effective and fast learning for JEE. If you prepare a mind map for your study schedule for the evening in the afternoon itself, your brain is ready for the upcoming information and works its best to learn it the fastest.
- Mix and match: Always keep your study schedule having a combination of practising questions, learning theory and revising old subjects. Concentrating on only one of these at a time creates monotony in the brain and slows down the process of learning, making it inefficient. Try to keep learning or memorizing parts towards the start of your schedule, followed by revision of an old subject and towards the end of your study session, you can keep time for practising questions. Another study tip here is to make things necessary for your brain. Besides knowing the importance of the exam that you are preparing for, your brain must know it too. If the importance of a task is known to the brain, it’s seen that it retains the information faster and more effectively. Else, the brain tends to forget any attained information within minutes of learning.
- Repetition is the mother of learning: The Ebbinghaus forgetting curve represents the percentage of information the human brain retains as time after learning new information elapses. We see here that 42% of the data is lost within 20 minutes of the learning. This means that 56% of the gained knowledge would already be lost within an hour of reading this article. What do we do? We use intervals for memory reinforcement. Revision is one of the tips for effective learning for JEE. There is a pattern for even how revision should be performed for maximum retention:
- Immediate revision: first revision of the lecture or your own notes should be done immediately after the class.
- The second revision must be done within 48 hours or three days after the first learning. The third revision must be done within one week of the lecture, whereas the next revision can be any time within one month after you once learn a new concept.
- The last revision must be definitely once before the exam. The brain retains information that it keeps seeing continuously, known as the mere exposure effect.
- What you see, you remember: It has been noted that only 10% of what we read stays in our mind. Whereas if we see something repeatedly, it is an essential tip for effective learning as it finds space for a longer time in our memory. Re-reading or seeing fundamental formulae and concepts, even subconsciously, can help fast learn the same. We see that our brain tends to remember the advertisements that we see regularly, known as the mere exposure effect. If it works for ads, it sure works for studies as well. Making short notes or micro notes can be a helpful practice here. Even when you cannot sit back and solve questions for your upcoming JEE exam, you can always look at what essential concepts you’ve already gone through. You can also make flashcards mentioning the formulae that you have the most challenging time remembering. Place them in your room and keep their digital copies in your smartphone to have a quick review anytime, anywhere. This is also the only fruitful way to utilize your smartphone in your JEE exam preparation. There are multiple ways to relax your mind between your studies without getting distracted completely.
- Eat, read, sleep, repeat: Needless to say, quick and frequent breaks between study sessions are inevitable. What is essential is that the small breaks should not disturb the flow of studies for an aspirant. They should only be directed to refresh the mind to prepare it for the upcoming information. Music is also seen to increase concentration while studying for many students and restore the mind. You don’t need to stay away from social media or any platform if that does not disturb your mental peace. You must avoid any kind of news, events, engagements, or people that can cause distraction in this crucial preparation phase for JEE.
- Take a break: When you take a break from studying, be it a short break or a complete vacation. If you still keep thinking and stressing over what is left and how to do it, the whole point of having a break becomes redundant. A stress-free mind is the most efficient learner. It is necessary to take breaks often; not too long, though. It is always advisable to study in small stretches of three hours. Learning in small chunks helps in retaining the information attained efficiently.
- Method of loci: If you could use your existing knowledge to acquire new information, that would be a great study tip, wouldn’t it be? The good news is that this technique is already in use and is a very famous study tip for effective learning. Learning new subjects by making connections and associations with issues you have already studied helps retain and learn further information more effectively and faster, known as the method of loci. The brain finds appropriate routes and space to fit new information associated with the existing knowledge. This is why it is always advisable to first read and study all the subjects. After the information has been retained and stored correctly in the brain, there is only one way to ensure that it stays there and is “practice”.
- You never forget what you “do”: Even if you go through or re-read a problem multiple times, there is no surety that the concept will stay in your memory if not practised. Practice makes a man perfect, no matter what other tips for effective learning you try and apply. Practice as much as in your capacity. If you face issues in applying concepts that you have understood, joining a good test series, like one offered by PracBee, would be a good idea. A good test series helps reinforce or check the application of concepts learnt and boost your confidence in the subjects you have learned already.
- Time in analysis still counts as study time: Analysis of test series is also as critical. We never forget what we learn from our mistakes. If you make a mistake in a question, it’s sure that you will never forget the concept related to that question. However, if you fail to understand concepts completely, you may try to learn them for teaching. Teaching is a helpful practice to retain information that you acquire. You never forget what you preach, discuss and teach. This would help you clear your concepts and coach another aspirant to gain new ideas. This way, you both can save time and learn double the latest information, in time of one.
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