KTH:s Youtube-filmer med Björn, med tips om studieteknik: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSbpRjxYq24
Be a better student!
Make it easy to study
Try not to depend too much on will power, or how you feel any given day. Instead, create simple habits that make studying a daily routine. It’s better to study often and regularly, rather than having long and infrequent cramming sessions. Also, not all students are very efficient at home. If that’s the case for you, find spaces where you can can sit and get a lot of things done, and spend time there daily. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect to do the impossible. Gradually, little by little, we build our new habits. It often helps to connect with other students. Help them, and they will help you back.
Familiarize yourself first
Few things can be immediately understood. It often takes a while before it all falls into place in our minds. The sooner we can start the process, the better. Therefore, set aside some time every day to look ahead: What are you going to learn tomorrow and next week? What is the next lecture about? The next chapter? Familiarize yourself with the terminology and don’t worry if it looks complex and overwhelming. Tell yourself: ”I don’t have to understand this right now. If I start looking into it now, there will be time for my subconscious to process it before I make a conscious effort to learn it, later on.”
Make memory connections
To remember new facts, use your imagination. Allow yourself to think freely and out-of-the-box. Foreign words and names for example, what do they sound like to you? Do they remind you of anything you’ve seen before? When you connect something new to things you already have in your memory, a new memory is created. Example: citric acid reminds us of citrus fruits, aspartic acid sounds like sour Spartans. Exaggerate in your mind, make up little stories and colourful scenes. Once we have learned something well, we no longer need these association images, it’s just a help to make things stick. Memory and understanding go hand in hand. Start by learning the words and terminology and then move on to get the full picture.
Study for deeper understanding
When you read a text, stop now and then and summarize in your own words what you just read. This effort, to re-create the content and make your own little version of it, is precisely what is needed for us to learn. It creates more lasting memories. It isn’t enough to just ”feel” that we understand, because we will still forget. Do the same thing after lectures: go through in your mind (or tell a friend or write it down) what the lecture was about and what important new thing you learned. For sure, doing this is easier if you took notes. When we try to express in our own words what we have learned, we immediately discover what parts we don’t really grasp – the things we need to ask a teacher about, or look into deeper.
There’s help for most things. Do you spend too much time on social media? You can temporarily block distracting websites with apps like GetColdTurkey, LeecBlock or Freedom.to. Try habit builders like ”don’t break the chain” to keep up with daily tasks. Do you have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time? Use the ”Pomodoro” or FocusBooster method where you set a timer to, say, 20-30 minutes and don’t interrupt what you’re doing before the alarm goes off. Get comfortable using the most basic tool of all – a calendar. Plan ahead and set aside time to study instead of expecting it to happen all by itself.
Use spaced repetition
After learning something, test yourself after ten minutes. Now you will remember it for another 24 hours. Test yourself again the next day – now you will remember it for a week. Test yourself after a week and you will remember it for a month. Give or take. This is called spaced repetition, to review or repeat something with increasing intervals or spaces, to create very strong memories.
Digital memorization apps like AnkiSRS or Memrise have built-in support for spaced repetition and are very popular with students who need to memorize large amounts of facts. Or use a simple paper journal: Every day you summarize a ”today I learned this …”. Use bookmarks to keep track of what to review every day: yesterday, 7 days ago, 28 days ago. A study journal like this – or an app – can make a huge difference.