By Catherine Roebuck, Social Media and Communications Specialist
With school comes studying and, let’s face it— sometimes the subject is daunting, sometimes we just can’t focus, and sometimes we will find literally anything to do with our time besides study. But when it comes to big tests and earning a degree, studying couldn’t be more important. For Academic Excellence Month, we’ve (well, scientists) boiled studying down to a science to help you become a KKGenius.
1. Start Early: Ever heard of the “curve of forgetting”? This phenomenon, according to the University of Waterloo, shows that after attending a one-hour lecture, you lose 50–80 percent of what you learned within the first day. By day 30, you only remember 2 to 3 percent! Thwart this knowledge loss by reviewing the material within 24 hours: Spend just 10 minutes reviewing and you will remember almost 100 percent of the material. By day seven, it only takes five minutes to retain the material and by day 30, you only need two to four minutes to remember. So start early, review for a maximum of 10 minutes (per course) a day, and save yourself a lot of time and headaches come midterms and finals.
2. Disconnect: According to a study by The Ohio State University, multitasking during studying doesn’t help. Though you may feel more socially satisfied with a smartphone nearby, you aren’t being cognitively satisfied— you aren’t getting all you can out of studying because of the distractions. That same study also reports that when students need to study, they actually multitask more, even though it reduces the success of their studying. So disconnect and really focus on studying. Being on your phone or watching TV while studying only hurts you.
3. Have a jam session: Unfortunately, you’ll have to put Beyoncé on the back burner for this tip. A study from Stanford University Medical Center suggests you’ll be better off listening to obscure 18th-century composers. Research showed that music engaged the areas of the brain that help us pay attention and update what is happening at that exact moment in memory. Furthermore, they found that musical techniques used by 18th-century composers help the brain organize information. So even though Taylor Swift may tickle your fancy, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf’s more likely to leave you without a “Blank Space” in your study session.
4. Don’t study too much: While it may seem counterintuitive, repeatedly studying material you already know is actually ineffective. It’s called overlearning, and according to a study by the University of South Florida and the University of California, San Diego, you don’t get much bang for your buck when you overlearn. The benefits of overlearning only last less than a week, so instead, spend that time on a different subject.
5. Take a break: We’ve all done it. Studied for hours upon hours right before a major test. We’ve crammed the information into our heads hoping that, by the grace of the test gods, we would come out on the other side with a decent grade. However, the University of California, San Diego found that cramming is actually a terrible idea. Rapid learning is a perfect recipe for rapid forgetting. Space out your study sessions and you’ll actually retain the information much better than if you cram. Not to mention, stress can negatively affect how you perform on a test.
So fear not, Kappas. You can find even more study tips on our Kappademics Pinterest board that will help you become the KKGenius we know you are.