Study Smarter, Not Harder

Lydia WalkerNews, Student Life

This week I tried finding study hacks. I wanted shortcuts and easier ways to cram information in my head for the upcoming exams at the University of Mobile. Unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to install a photographic mind. (If there are, please let me know!)  I spoke with University of Mobile English professors for ideas, and they agreed that, fortunately, there are strategic learning styles we can use to improve study habits.

There are entire books written by experts about these strategies, but if you are a student, then you may not want to add an entire book to your pile of classwork during exam season. If you want extra tips, here is a short compilation of useful learning habits to help study smarter – and not necessarily harder.

  1. Personally, I am engrossed in classroom conversation. (If you know me, then you know I am engrossed in TOO MUCH conversation.) It’s much easier to recall the jokes, funny conversation, unique or funky mannerisms and topics. The more unique the conversations are, the more likely they will stay in our brains. If none of the teaching conversations are interesting, link them to something familiar and interesting that you will remember. The more you remember significant classroom conversations, the less you have to over-review.
  2. Release extra energy before you study. Walk, work out, or bike. When I am worn out, there is no choice BUT for me to sit and relax. Why not tire yourself then get some knowledge when you have no choice but to stare at a screen? (Further self-discipline enters the scene when you decide to stare a screen-and not binge watch Netflix. However, that’s up to you.)
  3. Discover what your personal learning style is. Since we are completely different, certain studying techniques offered can be helpful within the capacity of how you work. Do you like complete quiet, or music? Do you pre-plan studying time in a controlled environment, or do you like new atmospheres and a variety of coffee shop locations? Believe it or not, finding your studying style makes a world of a difference. The Student Success Center specializes in helping University of Mobile students discover their particular learning styles, and will help them develop effective learning techniques.
  4. Don’t cram. The average human performs terribly when cramming multiple chapters in their head overnight. (However, take that comment with a grain of salt. My brother is the best procrastinator in the world, and he somehow unveils his best work—after procrastinating.)
  5. Teach yourself, a friend or a wall. Verbalize what you’re learning. If you imitate or act like a teacher, then you will likely be able to remember the information.
  6. Lastly, have a positive attitude about studying — and about the ones who are teaching you. Professors will push us to grow – they challenge our brains and mental stamina. But luckily, University of Mobile professors know you and want to help you do well. That’s part of what UM means by their motto, “Know and Be Known.”