7 Scientifically Proven Study Hacks

By Maddie & Ansh

Every individual has their own study methods and it’s no secret that the same tricks don’t work for everyone. However, we’ve found a whole bunch of suggestions to add to your repertoire if you’re looking to try something new. Feel free to give them a trial run and see if they work for you!

1. Don’t look for shortcuts

Cramming causes anxiety, and this will ultimately lower the opportunity for material to transfer into your long-term memory, and consequently affect your ability to retain information.

Short term memory information is here for a good time but not a long time, so allowing information to transfer into your long-term memory is essential for future retention.

Make a study plan, and chip away at your work over the semester. Find a study planner here:  https://student.unsw.edu.au/long-and-short-term-planning 

2. Minimise distractions, maximise time

Though it may be tempting to listen to music while studying, research shows that this habit will decrease the likelihood of you retaining that information while you study.

You can use apps to help you achieve this:


3. Get into good sleeping habits

“Your brain is like a tree, learning causes a branch to grow, but sleep helps it to grow the leaves and other tiny branches that will sustain and strengthen it.”

When you sleep your brain assimilates the information you have learned when studying. Therefore getting a good night’s sleep is essential to being on top of your game!

4. Exercise

Exercise changes the blood chemistry of your brain. It releases serotonin (mood booster), dopamine (aids learning and attention), and norepinephrine (aids awareness, attention and concentration). Therefore, aim to do 20-30 minutes of cardio every day.

5. Take regular breaks

It is essential to ensure you remain focused while studying, and study sessions that last too long may make information retention much more difficult.

Different students however have different personalities, and may prefer to study in different ratios during different times of the day.

You can access descriptions of these different personality types and their respective recommended study-break ratios through the following link. Have a read and think about whether or not this is something you could incorporate into your own schedule. https://www.oxbridgeacademy.edu.za/blog/how-long-is-the-ideal-study-break/ 

6. Engage with the content

While it is understandable that tests require insane memorisation, beyond remembering definitions by criteria positioning or mnemonics, you can also recall information by comprehending what it means.

There are various mediums through which this understanding can be acquired and consolidated, depending on the type of learner you are.

Techniques include creating mind maps and engaging in discussions with your fellow classmates which will allow you to verbally explain difficult concepts.

Nevertheless, if you feel there isn’t enough time for these methods you can instead apply the simpler memorisation strategies provided in the following link:


7. Form study groups

To avoid embarking on a similar high school rant on forming proper study groups, we simply recommend you choose your study partners wisely for optimal productivity.

However, the primary focuses beyond who you choose, are what material you cover in each study session and how frequently the sessions occur.

It is advised that study sessions for each course are conducted at least once per week and last between 1-2 hours.

These sessions should be used to revise content already covered (or if the group prefers, content that will be covered in the near future). They should allow students to both take note of particular sections of covered content and explain them to the rest of the group, for mutual understanding.

Although individuals learn differently and study groups should be flexible enough to accommodate to all members’ needs, discretion should be exercised in ensuring the group remains on track with the objectives it wishes to achieve during every session.








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