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August 2017

How to Learn More with Less Effort

Tips for improving study

In many ways, studying is a lot like losing weight; it’s a timely process that requires daily exercise and effective practice. It may seem that weight loss is as simple as eating less and burning calories, but the truth is the quality of foods you eat also plays an important role. Similarly, studying isn't just about sitting down for long periods and ingesting knowledge. Long cramming sessions, the kind that university students undergo before exams, may actually be counterproductive to effective studying, despite all the effort and dedication involved. It's not how much you study but how effectively you study that matters. Today we’ll look at study tips that can help you learn more with less effort.

Study in short segments

You may think that long study sessions help you to retain knowledge better, but familiarity isn't always the same as fully understanding material. An article on language learning in the Wall Street Journal examined this paradox. According to the article, experts advise that students study in 45-minute segments. This is because students tend to have greater bursts of energy at the beginning and at the end of study sessions. You simply make the most of your time and avoid the tendency of burning out.

Test yourself regularly

It's not enough to just know the information you’re learning; students must understand how the information is used. Rather than re-reading the material over and over again, try and utilise the knowledge in a real-world setting. For language students, this could equate to role-play or going out to actually use the language. Memorised words only disappear in the mind if left unused. There’s the common misconception that re-reading material leads to memorisation, when in actuality it may only lead to a familiarity.

Create a safe study space

Protect yourself during your studies, not from wolves and bees, but from distractions and stress. Let your study session be your time of refuge, when you can ignore the world for a few moments and really concentrate on expanding your knowledge. Discover if it's better for you to study in the morning, during lunch breaks, or after work. Keep up the routine and do a little bit every day. If you miss a study session, don't beat yourself up about it. Just keep moving forward the next moment you can.

With a little help from your friends

Studying with friends can offer the motivation and excitement necessary for maintaining enthusiasm in studies. Whether it's studying at home with friends or meeting new individuals in meetups, getting social with your learning can make it seem less like relentless study and more like play. This is a particularly good idea for language learning, as languages are a very social thing indeed.

What are your tips for learning things and retaining knowledge? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on language learning from around the world.

Picture (c) Fotolia, Rido