How to Remember What You Study (With Minimal Effort!)

how to remember what you study

Cramming before a test? Want to retain more information? Use these 10 tips on how to remember what you study with minimal effort!

High school and college gets busy and it’s a no brainer that students have 0 time to get their studies in before a big test.

Before we get into the tips, it’s important to remember why you should do this…

Why You Should Remember What You Study

Remembering what you study will not only help you ace that upcoming test, but it will also help you remember that information forever.

Here are a few reasons you might need to memorize what you study:

  • You’re cramming before a test
  • You want to improve your study skills
  • You need to retain a lot of information at once
  • Studying feels like a ton of work
  • You don’t want to study multiple times

A lot of the information out there that tells you how to remember your notes always states that you should study over and over again throughout the day.

While this may be true, not every student has that kind of time on their hands. They just want to get this test over with!

Hopefully these tips will feel a little more practical…

10 Ways to Remember What You Study

If these 10 tips and tricks don’t help you get prepared before a test with minimal effort, nothing will!

1) Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro Technique

Did you know that there is a special formula created through scientific studies that is proven to be the most effective way to study ever?!

It’s called the Pomodoro Technique and here’s how it works:

  1. Work for 25 minutes
  2. Take a 5 minute break
  3. Repeat 4 times
  4. After the 4th cycle, take a longer 30 minute break

The amount of memory retention you get from this method is insane and will ultimately save you time in the long run!

I recommend setting a timer for the 25 minute cycles just so you stay on track. Avoid using your phone during the breaks and instead, go grab water or a snack.

Related Post: 10 Time Management Tips for Students

2) Incentivize Yourself

The human brain is wired to perform better on a rewarding system, so reward yourself if you want to remember what you study!

A good incentive could be as simple as giving yourself a piece of candy every time you get through a chapter, few pages of notes, or finally memorize a section.

Another way to incentivize yourself is by giving yourself a longer break when you’ve fully memorized an entire chapter, study guide, or anything else.

The point is, your brain will feel good completing tasks that offer an incentive. That makes it work harder, smarter, and faster.

It also has an easier time remembering “feel good” moments in life which will come in handy during the test!

Pro Tip: Dark chocolate is a natural focus booster… use it wisely!

3) Study After Working Out

This is probably one of the most underrated study hacks out there to retain information!

Working out naturally increases the blood flow in your body. That blood flow creates a steady pace of concentration to your brain.

Essentially, you’re triggering your memory to work more effectively. Plus, you’ve probably seen this scenario in action and never noticed…

Ever seen someone pace back and forth or tap their fingers when they’re trying to remember something? Yup… same principle!

4) Memorize in Sections

The easiest way to feel progress when studying is by memorizing in sections.

If you combine this with tip #2, you’ll fully maximize your motivation and incentive to keep going!

When using the Pomodoro Technique, try to remember a certain section of your studies within every 25 minute window.

Whether you’re studying math and science or psychology and history, there will always be a way to break up your work into smaller pieces.

Pro tip: Write out the big points of what you’re reading. Your brain remembers written words 7x more than words that you read!

It doesn’t have to be fancy either… just free-write without punctuation or grammar.

5) Color Code Your Reading

If you study from your notes, this is an excellent opportunity to change up how you take notes in class.

A few simple pens or highlighters with different colors can make or break your memory retention. And it all starts before you even study!

Here are a few things you can color code in your notes:

  • Section titles
  • Main points
  • “Must know” sections
  • Bullet lists
  • Similar topics

Don’t over code! We’re not highlighting entire paragraphs here. A few phrases here and there is good enough.

If you’re reading from a textbook that you purchased, you can still use the same methods by highlighting and underlining certain pieces of text.

Related Post: 10 College Life Hacks Every Student Needs

6) Get Rid of Distractions

We all know how tempting it is to go on your phone when you study. Life is simply more fun on that thing than in your textbook… I get it!

If you want to know how to remember what you study, your brain must be in a flow state (basically a state of full focus on your task). It requires no distractions at all!

Here’s what you should start doing right now:

  • Turn your phone off for tasks that take longer than 30 minutes
  • Put your computer on full screen to avoid opening other tabs
  • Only listen to music that is designed for focus (songs without lyrics)
  • Study on a full stomach and have water next to you

If you have to write these 4 points down on a piece of paper and stick it on your wall in front of you then go for it!

As long as you’re not getting distracted while you study, that’s all that matters.

7) Study in Groups

Studying in groups can be much more efficient compared to studying alone if you’re doing it with the right people.

Before you go off studying with your closest friends, just make sure you’re being honest with yourself about whether or not they’re going to distract you.

If you have the right people to study with, studying in groups comes with a few benefits:

  • Hear everybody’s answers
  • Study faster
  • Makes studying a lot more enjoyable
  • Create long term classmates 
  • Keeps you focused on the objective

As you can see, studying with others is not just to have more people around you. There are a lot of advantages to it!

8) Teach What You Remember

As a follow up to the tip above, teaching the information you do know so far is scientifically proven to help you remember it more.

Instead of studying the same section again, try sharing everything you remember with another classmate.

Don’t have a friend to teach? No problem. You can make a “cheat sheet” as if you were giving it to a friend. This has the same exact effect!

At the very least, you should be reading your notes out loud, because that helps memorize information way more than reading in your head.

Related Post: 10 College Dorm Room Essentials for Students

9) Blue Ink on White Paper

According to scientific research, the most memorable visual to read from is with words written in blue ink on white paper.

Use this as a tool for the future when you take notes in class and want to read them back later.

Throw out all those black pens and start incorporating blues into your studying. Definitely don’t use any other background color aside from white!

Imagine if using blue ink helped you memorize information 10% more than with black ink. Would you make the switch?

10) Study With Light

The more light in your environment, the more productive you will be. It’s the same reason office spaces are overly bright.

Studying in the dark is having a negative effect on your memorization. Don’t do it!

Turn on lamps, lights in your room, and open all the windows you got.

Especially when you’re studying during the night, you’ll be tricking your brain into thinking it’s day time.

Your focus will last longer and your energy levels will significantly increase with this quick productivity hack.

How Do You Trick Your Brain Into Remembering What You Study?

The best way to trick your brain to remember what you study is by combining multiple tactics such as rewarding yourself, memorizing in sections, and using the Pomodoro Technique.

The truth is, you can combine almost all of the 10 tips above to make yourself an absolute memorization god!

It’s less about tricking your brain to remember things and more about tricking it to work harder with minimal effort.

If you’re worried that studying right before bed is bad for you… don’t be. It’s actually proven to retain information even better (as long as you don’t sleep too late).

 

Hopefully this information will allow you to remember the most with the least amount of work. Now get studying!

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions leave them down below. Thanks for reading!

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