One of my favorite methods of studying has always been dispersing the studying through my day randomly. I would put a set of flashcards in my pocket and look at them whenever I had a few seconds to spare. Using that strategy it was virtually pointless to sit down and worry about studying.
I suspect this works well because study time is usually the worst time to study.
It’s hard to remember boring information. Most of studying for most students is insanely boring. That makes trying to remember information an absolutely miserable chore. Your brain doesn’t care to remember the information because you’re giving it every reason not to care. (You’re sitting still. You’re not eating. You’re not reproducing. You’re not getting feel good hormones from anything.) You’re making the information completely unmemorable.
When you’re waiting in line at a store or something, your brain was being stimulated seconds before. It was looking at stuff or people around you. There may be sounds that catch your attention. All these things can be memorable for your brain. Randomly introducing study stimuli during those moments increases the chance you’ll remember them compared to a boring afternoon sitting at a desk looking at a textbook.
On this blog I try to teach how to make study time a better time to study. Using certain strategies during study time can make it more efficient but if you had the discipline (and nerdiness) to study randomly through the day, you’d rarely even need an official study time because you’d already be done with most of it.
I still recommend the 15 Minute Study Strategy because you’re much more likely to follow through consistently with it. It also doesn’t require flash cards which could end up taking a enough time to ruin all the time gains anyway. My point is that a big part of studying is figuring out how to make study time suck less for studying (without ruining the studying part.)
Let me tell you (an inappropriate) true story…
It was high school Spanish class…
I was a Senior in a class of Sophomores. There was one other Senior in the class. Best of all –
She was smokin’ (as the old folk say.) She was gorgeous. 10 out of 10. Tight jeans. And she always sat right in front of me in class (gulp.)
We were the only Seniors in the class. By default… that made me the coolest guy there… And trust me… I’m never the coolest guy there.
But we’d talk. Sometimes in class she’d lean over. I’d continue to pretend me importa la espanol stuff pero… Seriousamente… 😛
Sure… I’d show up to class. But my brain rarely stuck around for the lecture. And that’s why you might not be surprised I was getting a C- in class.
It’s funny how that stuff that distracted me in highschool wasn’t so problematic in college where I took a double course load and still scored near the top of my class…
You don’t need to be perfect to score near perfect.
You just need to know how…