6 Proven Study Methods That Actually Work

Image captures three students at a desk, engaging in a discussion over their books. One student gestures excitedly, another listens attentively, while the third speaks, illustrating an interactive study session or group project in a vibrant, colorful classroom setting.

The prospect of exams can be daunting, often accompanied by the stress of how to effectively prepare. However, the secret to success might not be in studying more, but in studying smarter. With the aid of scientifically-backed methods, you can transform your study routine from exhaustive cramming to efficient, brain-friendly learning. This article explores a variety of proven study techniques that have been shown to significantly boost exam performance. From taking regular breaks to incorporating physical activity, these strategies will help you optimize your study sessions for maximum retention and understanding.

Studying for an upcoming test or exam seems stressful. You’re probably wondering, “are there ways to enhance my studying power?” Well, allow us to tell you, absolutely. With scientifically proven study methods, you can say goodbye to tedious cramming sessions, endless all-nighters and examination anxiety. If you want to study smarter, zoom in to some of the top study methods we’ve listed below.

You can also check out some of the study hacks that Youtuber Jessica Holsman shared with us before. Her tips can help you increase your marks, and study wiser.

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1. Take a break.

When it comes to preparing for an exam, too much studying could do more harm than good.

Studying for long periods of time might seem like the best way to power through your review materials but it really isn’t. In fact, trying to review for hours can overload your brain. Whilst you might add a lot of information to your short-term memory, it won’t make its way into your long-term memory. As a result, you won’t be able to recall it when you’re sitting in the exam room.

Instead of spending hours in front of your books or reviewing your online course materials, schedule regular study breaks instead. Many scholars suggest short breaks every hour, as this helps to keep you feeling refreshed. If you can use your break time to do something revitalising and constructive, that’s even better!

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2. Study with a buddy or two.

If you’re worried that studying with a friend or in a group will be distracting, you needn’t be.

When studying in a group, discussing the content, explaining core concepts to one another and testing each other can help you to retain the information for longer periods of time. In fact, retelling and reflecting on information increases the chances of it entering your long-term memory.

Therefore, combining group study with individual study sessions can successfully vary your schedule and get the best of both worlds.

3. Do some physical activity.

Research shows that our blood chemistry alters how our brain works. By delivering essential nutrients and enhancing our attention span, our blood has a considerable impact on how well we solve problems and how effectively we process information.

When we exercise, we release a variety of mood-altering hormones. It also affects our blood chemistry, dopamine, serotonin, and epinephrine, enhances retention, and improves brain performance. This means that regular exercise can directly impact the effectiveness of your brain function. To conveniently incorporate regular physical activity into your routine, consider exploring online fitness courses. These courses can guide you through various exercises that can be done at home or anywhere you prefer, without needing to hit the gym.

Remember, exercise can take many forms so if you don’t feel like hitting the gym, try something else. A brisk walk, a relaxing swim, or even a quick dance around your room can be a great way to take a study break and improve your brainpower.

4. Get some sleep.

Studying for an exam always seems to involve all-night cramming sessions but how effective are they? Contrary to popular belief, not sleeping won’t get you better grades. In fact, it can take up to four days for your body to recover from not sleeping at all.

When we sleep, our brains develop. As we acquire new information, our brain cells grow new connections, and thus, getting a decent night’s sleep gives your brain the time it needs to make these connections.

In addition to this, our alpha brainwaves are at their most active within two hours of waking up. This state is most suited to learning new information and knowledge. This is when you’ll be at your best in terms of studying.

On the other hand, incorporating a power nap in can even double the amount of time you spend experiencing your alpha brainwaves. With an extra sleep session, you’ll have increased exposure to alpha brainwaves and be able to interpret new information more effectively.

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5. Reward yourself.

Enjoying natural light, listening to uplifting music, enjoying a warm drink or munching on some cookies are enough to enhance one’s dopamine levels. When the brain switches to reward mode, it’s more receptive to the stimulus around it because dopamine increases.

Some studies say that higher dopamine levels also increase knowledge retention. This could also help you to transfer information to your long-term memory. Also, you’ll find it easier to process information and solve problems. Feel free to experiment with rewards and find what works best for you.

6. Strike a pose.

This one might make you feel a bit silly, but it’s definitely worth a try. Striking a power pose has been shown to reduce cortisol and increase testosterone. Known as the stress hormone, cortisol levels will naturally increase when you’re nervous or anxious. Conversely, testosterone can make you feel stronger and better prepared.

If you want to put yourself in the best frame of mind before you take a test, strike a power pose before you enter the exam room. Visualise your favourite superhero, take a strong stance, put your hands on your hips and take a deep breath. You may even want to vocalise your intentions to do well and boost your self-confidence at the same time.

You can do it, hey!

We hope these study methods will help you get high scores in your exams and improve your brain power.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got questions about this blog post, or if you’re interested in studying any of our online courses, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can do that by filling out our enquiry form which you can find by clicking the orange button below.

Good luck!