12 Creative Study Tips to Get Your Brain Moving and Shaking

Jul 1, 2015 | Australian College

Reading, re-reading, and re-reading your study notes in a quiet study spot might seem like the best way to learn, but it is more likely to send you to sleep than to a higher plane of knowledge. 

Get creative with your study approach by exploring which memory retention techniques get your brain moving and shaking. Not only are you guaranteed to have a bit of fun, you will also better engage with the information that you are learning.

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1. Get Colourful

You can make your study notes a whole lot more interesting and fun by making them more visually appealing with colour.

In fact, you can even associate certain colours with various topics or study material to help you remember your points. Just make sure you don’t get too distracted planning how beautiful your notes are going to look that you forget to do the work!

2. Make Up a Story

Turning the details you need to remember into a crazy story helps make the information more meaningful. For example, remember the Early Education learning handbook ELYF this way: The Elephant(E) went to the Leopard (L) and said Yes (Y) to Frappuccinos (F).

3. Make Your Study Space Portable

We may be creatures of habit with a favourite study spot, but information retention actually increases when you change the places you study. That’s because, every time we move around (from our study desk to the coffee shop, or the coffee shop to the toilet seat), we force the brain to form new associations with the same material so it becomes a stronger memory.

4. Pretend You’re Taking Notes for Someone Else

Have you ever tried to explain something to someone else and you realise there is a massive flaw in what you are saying? Taking notes for someone else prompts you to really think through what you are learning. Einstein famously said “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

5. Listen to Classical Music

When listening back to recorded lectures, put on an instrumental radio station on very low in the background. You will be surprised how much it promotes focus!

6. Use Smells to Jog Your Memory

When was the last time a particular smell bought back a memory? This may seem a bit out there but spraying a new scent while you’re studying can help jog your memory when you spray it again just before an exam or interview. Just don’t overdo it.

7.  Watch TV?

It might be called the idiot box, but watching a documentary on a topic that you have trouble understanding can only make you smarter. Engaging with the information through a visual and audible narrative presents another learning channel when a textbook just won’t cut it.

8. Use Apps to Block Distracting Sites

Are you browsing the net as a break from study, or are you studying in-between browsing the net?

If you find that you need a bit of help with self-control there are a bunch of apps that will help you out by blocking those distracting websites for a certain amount of time.

9. Shout it Out

Reading information out loud means that you are mentally storing it in two ways: by seeing it when you ready and hearing it when you speak it.

We just can’t guarantee that everyone around you at the library or cafe will appreciate this technique.

10. Dyslexia Help

Dyslexia is estimated to affect some 10% of the Australian population (Australian Dyslexia Association). If you are dyslexic there’s special fonts, such as Dyslexie, that can help you read more easily.

11. Drawing it Out

Drawing diagrams creates a visual memory in your mind which can be recalled. Even if you’re not Picasso re-invented, this technique will help you to visualise information which would be hard to describe, or long winded to write.

12. Finally, learn what works for you.

Some people are early birds; others are night owls. Some people prefer to read, others learn through sound, or visual aids. Everyone is different and will excel in different ways.

Experiment to find what is the most effective learning style for you and stick with it!

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