The “Correct” Way to Study

Delainey Root, MVC writer

For hundreds of years, students have been plagued with the question of what is the most effective way to study. Every student has had a big test that they need to study for, but have been unsure as to how. Although there is no perfect way of studying, there are ways to help people study more effectively. 

One common misconception in studying is that reading a text multiple times is an effective way of memorizing information. Re-reading does not engage the learner and leads to the information quickly being forgotten. Instead, one should make study guides or ask essential questions. Creating a study guide with questions formatted similarly to a test, has been shown to improve understanding and preparation for the format of a test. 

Another important tip: make sure that all of the study materials are well-organized. Studying is often a boring and tedious task; however, organizing material makes it easier to sit down and get a lot of material reviewed. When organized, someone can cover twice the material in half the time, because it removes all the time used up by searching for documents. It is also important to find a nice, cozy place to study with all materials organized in a manner that improves the studying process. 

Studying in smaller chunks instead of all at once also helps. It is most effective to study during multiple short periods over the course of several days or even weeks. It is best to work a little bit on each class every day. The quality of studying and information learned is much more important than the amount of time a topic is studied. If someone only does a few problems a day or reviews notes for 15-20 minutes a day, then overall understanding will be better. According to a study performed by researchers at Stanford University, studying 15 minutes daily improved student grades from B+’s to A’s.

When someone forces themselves to sit down and study for hours, their brain gets tired and stops retaining information at the same rate as before. This makes studying twice as hard. When the brain no longer wants to retain the information, people will have to go over the same information twice as much before it gets stuck in the student’s head. 

Frank Christ’s study cycle is also a way to improve studying. The study cycle is a five-step plan to increase information intake, and improve school performance. 

Step one of this cycle is to preview what will be taught in class before the lecture. For this, one would have to do pre-class reading or research. This can be accessed by talking to the teacher or researching the curriculum. It has been shown to better help students with remembering information. Hearing it multiple times can help to get the information stuck into someone’s head through multiple forms of learning. 

Step two is to attend the class. This is more than just being physically present in the classroom. This also means being attentive and engaged in what is being taught. It is also helpful to take notes on whatever is being covered during class time. 

Step three is to review. This is looking over the notes. It can just be a quick skim and not a long tedious event. Being exposed to the same material multiple times will help with remembering and understanding the topic. 

Step four is studying. This means taking multiple brief study sessions to refresh oneself what has been taught. 

The fifth, and final, step is to check that the studying method is working. If the method is not working, it is not worth the time. The easiest way of checking is doing some sort of practice test or study guide and see if the information has become easier. You can also check by looking through past homework or googling worksheets online.

Studying is an inconvenient part of school and life as a whole. Knowing the best and most effective way to study can make the process much less grueling, and give someone more time to themselves instead of spending all night studying before a big exam. The most important thing is finding a method that suits one’s personal studying needs.