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Effective Study Methods

Are you still studying just by reading your classroom textbook? Feeling stressed trying to grasp so much content within such little time? Here are 3 study techniques to help you manage time and effectively prepare for exams and tests.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

Late 1980s, Francesco Cirillo developed The Pomodoro Technique as he was a struggling student who had trouble focusing on his tasks. He forced himself to study for just 10 minutes at a time. After using a tomato timer to keep track of time he spent, the Pomodoro (Italian for tomato) Technique was created. Its simplicity and effectiveness make it popular even after several decades!

The Technique

How do you use the Pomodoro Technique? Well, it’s very simple.

  1. Choose your task- it can be anything from homework to chores

  2. Set a 25 minute timer

  3. Work until time runs out

  4. Take a 5 minute break

  5. After every 4 repetitions, take a 15-30 minute break

There are plenty of videos on YouTube that share Pomodoro study timers to help guide you with studying. Some even have background sounds such as music or rain to help create a studying environment.

Here are some videos you can play while studying:

Scientific Backing

According to the scientific journal Cognition, short breaks between times of focus can significantly increase productivity over a long period of time. However, this is only true if you follow the strict time constraints. As the Pomodoro technique distributes time between working and resting, this study method proves efficient. While any study technique adhering to a time limit should be effective, Pomodoro still seems to be the most popular, simply because of its easy to follow structure.

What is “Self-Teaching?”

With the “self- teaching” method, students practice teaching material to others or to themselves. Like teachers, with self teaching, students must know their material comprehensively in order to explain it to students. In finding what areas students lack familiarity while teaching, students are able to learn more effectively, focusing on more specific areas. Additionally, this method is a quick way for students to learn from partners or groups. As one person teaches the others, the others can find new perspectives on a subject, all benefiting from the experience.

Scientific Backing

Richards E. Mayers, with a major in education psychology, supports the self teaching method saying, “if students feel confident enough to explain it to someone else, they might develop a higher self-efficacy. That’s going to be motivating to see themselves as competent learners.” Additionally, by learning through teaching others, students are more likely to remember content long-term and more deeply.

The Feynman Notebook Method

This method builds on the previously mentioned “self-teaching” and takes it one step further. It was developed by famous physicist Richard Feynman when he was a student, just like Francesco Cirillo.

The Technique

  1. Write your topic at the top of a page

  2. Explain your topic as simply as possible, as if you were teaching it to someone else without any knowledge of the topic.

  3. Review the explanation and figure out where you think your explanation needs work or wasn't as clear

  4. Go back to your notes to make sure you understand these areas in the future

  5. If you find that parts of your explanation use complex or confusing language, rewrite them so that they’re simpler

Scientific Backing

According to CollegeinfoGeek, “the Feynman Technique gives you a quick, efficient way to shore up (weak areas) using targeted learning.” This is because you get to write down everything you know about a topic, and read over it to find what you’re lacking. It allows you to crystallize exactly what you might be missing out on. Once you identify areas of lack of familiarity, you can go back and reinforce those areas.

With these study methods, students will find study sessions to prove easier with more focus and information retention. Students will feel confident in the material and themselves to ace their next test!

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