How could I learn more effectively?

7 tips for effective learning during your studies

Most students need a lot of organizational talent to master the learning workload for several exams in a relatively tight time frame. It is all the more important to use the time effectively. But how do you actually learn correctly? These 7 tips will help you learn effectively.

1. Create a schedule

In order to use the preparation time most effectively, it makes sense to first get an overview of the entire subject matter. It is advisable to first organize all lecture notes, scripts and summaries thematically and then to create a learning plan. Similar to a timetable, it is entered when which subject area is to be worked on. However, days off should also be planned in order to prevent the typical tendency to procrastinate. It is appropriate to use around 10% of the remaining time until the exam as a break interval.

2. Find the right study time

The REFA standard curve shows that most people's biorhythm has set itself in such a way that the high performance phases are in the morning and in the late afternoon. This is the best time for many students to study. But there are also academics who cram much more effectively late at night or at night. It is therefore important to find the right learning time for you. But watch out for the overflow! The human brain is not unlimitedly receptive. It is therefore advisable to take a short study break at least every 2 hours.

3. Linking knowledge

Our brain does not work like a filing cabinet, in which all contents can be placed separately and then ejected again and again. So that the learning material is really memorable in the long term, it is therefore important that the new information is linked to the knowledge that is already available (cumulative learning). In order to find out which previous knowledge is already available, it is worthwhile to go through old exams or exercises (to be found on the web on the respective student council pages) of the lecturer. According to the established schedule, the new content is then learned in portions. A positive side effect: a feeling for the professor's questions is already developed, which helps to reduce potential exam fears.

4. Build donkey bridges & learn with index cards

Donkey bridges and learning with index cards were recommended during school days for a reason. With these learning methods, you can also significantly simplify the examination time during your studies. Donkey bridges can be z. B. build by forming sentences from the first letters of the terms to be learned. During the exam, the respective sentence can be called up quickly in the head and the brain combines the letters with the searched terms. Alternatively, donkey bridges can also be formed with the help of rhymes.

Example donkey bridge for the 5 bones of the skull base (medicine):

Stefan's seven boars are subtle slimes. (= Frontal bone, ethmoid bone, sphenoid bone, occiput, temporal bone)

For long-term memorization of definitions, learning with index cards is also suitable. Terms, formulas or questions are written on one side of the index cards, the solutions are on the respective back. Then go through the deck of cards, with questions that have already been internalized being marked separately. In the next query, the focus is then more on the definitions that are not yet so sure. You can also build a card index box for this, based on the system developed by Sebastian Leitner in the 1970s. So the focus here is on continuous learning.

5. Create the right learning environment

If you prefer to study at home at home, it is important to create a suitable environment. First of all, potential troublemakers such as televisions, radios, smartphones and notebooks should be switched off - and stay there during the learning unit! Sufficient light is also important to improve concentration. Ideally, the desk should be right next to the window. A good supply of oxygen is also important for learning success, which is why regular ventilation of the learning rooms is useful. If the apartment is in a quiet area, the window can remain open during the entire learning phase. If, on the other hand, traffic noise is disturbing, you should ventilate for 10-15 minutes before the start of learning and then close the window again.

6. Form study groups

Study groups are particularly suitable for law, economics and science subjects. They not only help to review and understand the subject matter, but also make it possible to discuss problems and find solutions together. In addition, regular meetings can increase your own motivation to learn. Reliable fellow students are an advantage when choosing a learning partner. In addition, the group should ideally consist of a maximum of 5 participants. Important: Before each meeting, the participants should always agree on the learning material to be prepared so that all group members can prepare equally for the meeting.

7. Dress rehearsal: simulate exam situation

Especially with oral exams, it is worthwhile to simulate the exam situation and be prepared for possible questions in advance. As an examiner z. B. act as a fellow student or roommate. It is ideal if he is familiar with the topic himself and can therefore ask in-depth questions regardless of the summaries. Similar to a real university exam, the test should not only ask for definitions, but also discuss connections and research controversies.

Author: Bettina Weiss
Published on November 26, 2014

Tags: learning, learning plan, learning techniques, study