Learning Lifehacks for Study Night
Regardless of your style of learning, chunking, speaking out loud, and interrogating yourself are some of the more effective learning lifehacks that will have you learning like never before.
Whether it's study night or for long term application, the truth with learning is that one size does not fit all. There are five different learning styles according to the VARK model, so if we can identify your style, you can capitalize on your style’s particular strengths. Let’s dive in and start by taking a look at the five different types of learning.
The Five Learning Styles
- Visual Learners
- These learners need to see information and visualize the relationships between ideas. Visual learners recall what they read rather than what they hear. Studying for this group involves rereading their notes. Any good lifehack for these types of learners is going to include the use of visual aids such as pictures, charts, diagrams, or maps.
- Auditory Learners
- Auditory learners depend on listening and speaking as their primary way of learning. They must be able to hear what is being said to understand the material. They are almost the polar opposite of Visual learners. Listening to music while studying or having different background noises, like having the TV on, actually improve this group's ability to learn and retain information.
- Reading/Writing Learners
- This group does have some overlap with the visual style of learning, but sets itself apart by being drawn to expression through things like reading online articles, writing in diaries, as well as looking up information about almost everything. Highlighting essential points in your study notes as well as rewriting them are two of the best techniques for this group. Regardless of the lifehack used, Reading/Writing learners retain information best when they are reading and writing.
- The Kinesthetic Learners
- Kinesthetic learners are natural doers. They learn best while being physically active or engaged. Kinesthetic learners often have a harder time in a more traditional classroom setting; they tend to learn best when they are hands-on with the information they’re trying to learn. Quite a few of the lifehacks below will be especially useful to this group.
- Mix Modality Learners
- The fifth type of learners are the mix modality learners; they are the combo group and use two or more learning styles. They don’t quite fit into any one of the groups above. How material is presented to this group determines how this group learns. Any of our ten lifehacks for learning below will be a good fit on study night.
So, now that we’ve met the learning styles, you can find out which type you are so that you can focus on those long term learning hacks to make study night a success.
After you’ve taken the test in the link above and you know what your learning style is, you can apply your preferred learning lifehacks in order to help you improve memory so that you can ace that presentation and get a good grade.
The Distraction Free Zone
Creating a distraction-free zone is the number one hack for learning. Now with some learning techniques for students, background music works acts as an almost barrier from distraction. A distraction-free zone begins with setting your phone on Do Not Disturb. You don’t need your cellphone creating unnecessary distractions while you're trying to study. While you are at it, do the same thing on your PC/Mac. Set it to DND and you're well on your way to long term learning.
Speaking out Loud
When you’re trying to commit something to memory, according to a study from the University of Ontario, Canada, reading and speaking your text out loud is a more effective way of committing information to long term memory instead of reading it silently to yourself. So an excellent double lifehack is to recite your notes out loud to a mirror. Speaking the text out loud is an especially valuable hack if you are either a Reading/Writing or Auditory learner.
Breaking up or Chunking
One of the coolest sounding learning lifehacks is called chunking. Chunking is merely taking the individual pieces of your notes (or chunks) and grouping them into larger units. By consolidating individual fragments into a larger whole, you can improve the amount of information you remember. Research has shown that when people focus on a single task for an extended length of time, their minds start to wander. Chunking is a great way to repackage similar information so that you learn more in a shorter period.
Go for a Walk
Another great hack to do while your chunking is to get up and out of the house. You may be tempted to hours-long cram sessions. There’s nothing wrong with having the occasional cram session, so long as you make sure that you give yourself short breaks while you work. This is especially true for the Kinesthetic learner. A Stanford study found that walking boosts creativity and clears your head, allowing you to retain more information long term.
If you're trying to get into Princeton University or any of the other prestigious universities around the country, one of the best hacks for learning is to teach someone else the material you want to learn. Teaching causes you to work harder to understand the material and accesses parts of your memory that store information more for the long term.
The Mnemonic Hack
There are a whole lot of different Mnemonic methods. A common approach is to employ a mnemonic that uses words and letters, and is noted as one of the best study tips for auditory learners. An example of this for remembering the first eight Presidents is: Will A Jolly Man Make A Jolly Visitor (George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren).
When you use flashcards and think of the answer, you are engaging a mental faculty known as “active recall.” There are many reasons this is one of the more useful learning lifehacks out there, but it's mainly because "active recall" has been proven to create a stronger neuron connection for your memory to trace. Drawing images on flashcards is a great way to help you improve your memory.
Draw It Out
This hack comes in handy when your subjects are chemistry, physics, biology, or mathematics, which naturally lend themselves to drawing. Drawing out the concept or the formula on paper is especially helpful.
Rewriting Your Notes
Rewriting your notes is similar to the drawing it out hack, but slightly different. Going over your notes, highlighting, and rewriting them can be combined with any of the other study tips for visual learners in order to amplify your learning process.
All of these learning lifehacks won't matter at all though if you don't let yourself rest. There is evidence that getting consistent, regular sleep helps to stabilize memory, allowing you to retain more of what you see, hear, and experience throughout your day. It seems that getting enough sleep before you find yourself spending time studying will pay you dividends in spades.