3 Study Methods You Should Use More Often
This was originally for an article writing assignment, but I thought “why not write something I can also post on my blog?” so here are three study methods that I haven’t seen a lot of in the studyblr community but are definitely worth mentioning.
The Leitner System
Flash cards have remained one of the most popular ways to study. Some people use them to memorize vocabulary, remember answers to specific questions, or even associate dates with events. Although the use of flash cards is convenient, their effectiveness has been reduced due to most people’s habits of prioritizing each card equally and therefore spending too much time memorizing the information on them.
The Leitner System, created by a German popularizer of science named Sebastian Leitner, is a more efficient method of studying that implements the concept of spaced repetition. All the cards start off in one pile. You would first scan through these cards, then test yourself. Each card you answer correctly goes to a second pile, while those you answer incorrectly should be revised then placed at the bottom of the pile. When you review the cards in the second pile and get them correct, they will be promoted to a third pile. An incorrect card will always get demoted to the first pile, even if they had previously been promoted to the last pile.
The reason why this method is so effective is that you end up reviewing the first pile of cards more frequently—the cards you don’t know very well. Some people choose to review their Stack 1 cards every day, Stack 2 cards every other day, Stack 3 cards once every three days, and so on.
Once all your cards have been promoted to the highest box, study them thoroughly and then start over. The continuous revision trains your speed so that you may reach fluency, which allows you to recall the information faster.
The name tells it all: you memorize a certain text within a time limit, normally around five to ten minutes depending on your fluency and memorization abilities. When the timer starts, you begin memorizing. When time is up, you flip to the next page, even if you haven’t finished the previous page yet. Continue until you’ve gone through all your material.
Timed memorization helps you to discipline yourself because your brain thinks that there’s no time for messing around; you have to do this here and now. Make sure to repeat the things you missed and revise everything frequently. This method is actually one of the most effective for cramming as it gives a better coverage than if you spend a whole half hour memorizing one subtopic.
The Memory Palace or Mind Palace
Sound familiar? In BBC’s Sherlock, the ‘highly functioning sociopath’ uses this method to remember vital information and facts. A mind palace is a systematic arrangement of information, each detail corresponding to a specific object in a familiar place. To ensure that you really remember everything, the objects have to appear shocking and conspicuous.
Here’s an example: if I wanted to memorize “crimson, 11, delight, petrichor (the smell after rain)”, aside from imagining Amy Pond or the Doctor saying it, I would first choose a place, let’s say my school. I’d imagine myself walking up to the front gate and seeing that the entire building has been painted the color of blood—crimson. The building would then rise as though it were lifted from the earth and crumble into rubble, controlled by Eleven, the character from Stranger Things. Now, since I can’t really picture delight specifically, I’d probably end up visualizing a colossal sign that simply reads “delight” posted in front of my school. As for petrichor, I’d imagine curves rising out of the puddles on the asphalt after a rainy night, a visual representation of the smell of the rain. Of course, these visualizations have been created to suit my memory. (I wouldn’t know if you watched Stranger Things.)
I used this method when memorizing case studies for geography, although I chose to visualize fictional places from television series and cartoons. Some people do opt to create artificial places, but these often become blurry and are easily forgotten.
As with any study method, repetition is vital to storing the information in your long-term memory. Visit your “palace” as often as you can. Soon enough, you’ll remember the data as well as you remember the place associated with the data.
So there you have it, three lesser known methods of studying that have proven to be immensely efficient. Now, there is no “correct” way to study, but there are methods that can ease your learning process.