Learning, just like many other things in life, is a skill. Even though it might not seem so, learning and studying effectively is something that requires practice and thought. You might be the type to beat yourself up for spending a lot of time hovering over a book while thinking you’re not learning as much as you should’ve, especially if you’re in an IB school, but don’t be! Learning efficiently is a mindful process, and here are some effective hacks on how to improve your learning skills in no time.
Take Care Of Your Body
Although it might not be the most obvious, or the first thing you think of, taking good care of yourself physically will help you boost your memory retention. Healthy minds live in healthy bodies after all! Health affects learning too. When you’re tired and stressed, you won’t be quite able to remember everything no matter how hard you try, you might feel like words just aren’t sticking. So one of the most important habits to pick up is to set up a proper, healthy sleep schedule (try avoiding all-nighters), eat regular nutritious meals, and drink a lot of water. Don’t forget your vitamins either! The quality of your life will change, and suddenly you’ll notice that you’re able to remember more things in less time, and you’ll be able to stay focused for longer periods!
We can often hear a lot about mind maps, it’s a topic that’s been so widely thought and talked about when it comes to studying and learning. And for a good reason! A lot of students just brush past this genius hack, which is a shame, because mind mapping can be used for almost anything. Imagine you’re trying to think of an IB Mathematics Standard Level (SL) essay topic, or doing your essay on a topic of your choosing. Creating a map by putting different concepts together can help you creatively come up with the idea of your topic, or figure out the correlation between seemingly different things. It’s a genuinely fun, creative way of learning and thinking, as it helps you categorize different concepts and thoughts. And having that visual overview in front of you while you study, or write stimulates your brain and motivates you, as it gives your brain some light exercise. So don’t be afraid to try it out!
Switch Things Up
One of the things our brains love is variety. It’s so easy to fall into a routine or pattern, that will just make our brains go on autopilot, and not partake actively in whatever you’re doing. That can be a little problematic when it comes to learning as taking an active part is one of the most important things in the process. That’s why it’s a great hack to often make slight changes while you’re studying, to keep your brain active. If you normally study at the library, don’t always choose the same spot, switch it up a bit, as even the slightest change of setting might help you refocus. This also works for using different stationery, changing the color of the highlighter you normally use or studying in a different style or technique. In any case, give your brain some variety, it will thank you by retaining more information!
Learning How To Learn
Everyone has a different learning style. It’s something that we might not even think of, but it’s something we wish our teachers told us. Finding out about your learning style is crucial because then you can find out what’s the best way for you to retain information the best, and spend less time hovering over a book. The VARK method explains that there are four types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, kinesthetic. Visual learners thrive on the graphic depiction of things, while auditory learners are great listeners and retain information best by hearing it. Students who have reading/writing as their learning styles learn best by having a book and notebook by their side, and on the other hand, kinesthetic learners engage in the studying process with all their senses. Now, what’s your learning style?
Studying isn’t easy. Especially when it comes to difficult subjects or things that aren’t really in your area of interest. But as we said, learning is nothing else but a skill. And using these hacks, while also learning how to learn efficiently, is going to help you and reduce your time studying, while also increasing the amount of knowledge you retain. Don’t be afraid to use them. And we wish you the best of luck. You know how they say, those exams won’t pass themselves!