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What study methods can I use to retain more in less time?

Learning new material has always been quite overwhelming for me especially when I think about how much time it is going to take me to learn it all. My current study plan involves spending hours on studying books. I would like to change this. I want to know how to study hard without spending every passing minute studying. I would also like to develop effective study skills and know which study methods I can use to retain more information in less time. I believe this would enable me to be more efficient in my studies.

Megan Page

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Aaron Lee on January 10, 2018

There is a common misconception that spending a lot of time studying means you are doing effective work. However, this is not the case. You do not have to study for hours to retain more information. You simply need to develop skills for effective studying that will enable you to retain as much information as possible in very little time.

There is a number of methods of studying you can use to retain more information without having to study books all the time. These include:

  • Taking notes: Whether you are in class listening to a lecture or studying on your own, always take notes. Note down everything that stands out for you in class and expand on it in your own words. Doing so will not only enable you to retain the information better but will also help you to get more understanding of the topic.
  • Study in sessions: According to research, ability to retain information normally diminishes after 25 minutes. This means it is pointless to study for 1-3 hours without taking a break. Instead of doing long hours of study, try studying in sessions of 25 minutes. Take a short break of about 15 minutes after every 25 minutes. However, do not do anything that might completely ruin your concentration during the break.
    A good way to spend your break time is to try and remember everything you have learned in your previous sessions.
  • Teach others: Another great way to retain the information you have learned is by teaching other people. Try teaching a student in your class the topic you have learned. Use your own understanding and your own words and reference your material to be sure you are providing the right facts. Doing this will enable you to have a solid grasp of the topic.
  • Read material effectively: Learning how to study harder is not enough; you also need to know how to read your material effectively. You are not supposed to read the material like a novel or storybook. There is a more effective way of reading textbooks. A good example is the SQ3R method. Have a look at this method of reading. Use this strategy when reading all your textbooks and any other school material. It will definitely teach you how to read effectively thereby enabling you to retain the information you learn during all your study sessions.

Caleb Jenkinsa year ago

I agree with this. Most students who spend hours and hours reading their textbooks never receive a lot of information because they do not take a break to understand what they are reading. Effective studying is not about quantity, it is about quality. This means you have to study smart in order to retain information and remember it even after you are done with your examinations. I would suggest you identify the study methods that give you the highest level of information retention. These methods are the ones that will be easier for you to use and will enable you to remember everything you read. For instance, if you find it easier to remember things when you have discussed them with other students in study groups, it might be a good idea to join more study groups especially for the subjects you struggle with. This will make your study sessions more successful.


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