Study can be hard enough without knowing these psychology based tricks to help you study. Psychologists have been studying learning and memory for years, and it is surprising that their findings are not that well known. If you implement all of these tips into your regular study routine, you will soon see a difference not only in your test scores, but also in your confidence to keep the material you learn, long after exam time. These tips will not only help you pass your tests, they will help you actually learn the material rather than keep it in your short term memory till your exam and then forget it all. From small adjustments to revamping your studying style, here are some great psych tricks to help you study.
1. Instrumental Music is Best
If you love listening to music when you study, you will love one of these tricks to help you study and pass your tests. While you may love rocking out to John Mayer, Katy Perry, or Taylor Swift, you might want to swap your pop playlist for an instrumental one. Listening to music with no words and instruments like piano and violin can help you focus more on your material. Your brain can’t fully focus all of its energy on learning when it is busy comprehending words in your ears. Just try listening to instrumental music for one exam and you will see how much better you will do.
2. Switch up Your Location
If you are like me, you have probably spent hours on end in the same seat in the library with no break in between. While it may take a toll on your energy, it can actually hinder your ability to do well on a test. According to The New York Times, by alternating locations, you can enhance your memory of material. When you switch locations, your brain does not get the chance to associate the material with your location. That gives you a better chance of recalling the material come exam time.
3. Don’t Memorize
When it comes to vocab and definitions, it may seem like flashcards to memorize material is a surefire way to ace your exam, but that is just not true. In psychology, there are different levels of processing material, ranging from shallow to deep. Shallow processing would be memorizing something while deep processing is more about giving the material meaning and connecting it to you. When you memorize you are using shallow processing, which is not very effective when trying to remember info. Try to take the material and apply it to your own life to better remember it when you are tested on it.
4. Test Yourself
Studies have shown that recall is better when the conditions during learning and the conditions during testing are matched. This can be helpful to know when studying because it means you should test yourself to learn your material. The testing while studying will match up with the testing during your exam and lead to better recall. You can even take it a step further and match up your studying with the type of exam you will be taking. If it is multiple choice, take a practice multiple choice test. If you know you will have short answer questions, create some short answer questions for you to use while studying.
5. Be in a Blue Room
We all know studying can be stressful and include anxiety in even the calmest of students. That is why blue is the best color to study around. Blue has been known to reduce blood pressure and decrease anxiety. That leads to a better studying environment because you are relaxed and better able to focus on studying. You will feel less stressed and more confident in your studying ability, which can make all of the difference in a test.
6. Spread Your Studying
None of these tips to help you study will be that effective if you cram them all into one night. According to a concept called the testing effect, memory is enhanced when you test yourself right after learning material rather than days or weeks later. In a study, participants who were tested 1 day after learning had a better long term memory than those who were tested 7 or 21 days later. You can apply this to your studying by testing yourself the night you learn material in class. By constantly studying your materials as you learn them, you will place all of your info into your long term memory and better remember them on your exams.
7. Believe in Yourself
People really overestimate the impact confidence can have on an exam. In psychology, there is something called the self-fulfilling prophecy. It states that the predictions we make about ourselves can actually influence our behavior and cause those predictions to come true. In other words, if you think you won’t do well on an exam, it will lead you to not do well. Know that you are fully able to study and ace an exam, and it will cause you to do better on an exam. Confidence is key in everything you do in life.
The combination of all of these tips will help you ace your exams in no time. They have been based on scientific research and can make an impact on your test performance. Test them out and see if they work for you. Everyone studies in a different way, so incorporating these tips to your study routine can make all of the difference. What did you think of these psych tips to help you study? Do you think you will incorporate these tips into your study routine?