How to study better

Why your study strategies are ineffective:

In developed countries children spend between ten and twenty years in various educational systems. You are "taught" subjects the government feels it is important for you to learn, to make you a useful and productive member of adult society.

Yet across the developed world few are taught how to be better learners!

At the bottom of this page you will find a link to download a pdf document that will show you how to study much better - in only 5 pages. No catches, no adverts, just free. Get it now if you wish, or read on.

If you are reading this as a parent of a schoolchild you can use the information to help your child learn better ways to study.

Experiential learning: "You will learn it by doing it"

If that works so well, why are the other subjects "taught"? The truth is this:

1: Experiential learning relies on you making mistakes, and "you learn from your mistakes". Well, you CAN - but only if prompt and sometimes painful results show us its a mistake. Otherwise mistakes get repeated, and may become habitual.

2: Even when its successful, experiential learning only teaches us ONE way of behaving. It may not be the most efficient - it may even be counter-productive - but we have learnt "that is how its done".

3: The strategies we learn as young children work - to an extent - for children. As adults we continue to use them even though there are techniques much better suited to our adult minds.

4: The aim of many techniques we learn (or are taught) at school is not always to be the most efficent learner. There are other aims, such as managing discipline or assessing our learning.

Children learn

Learning to read at school:

Book on desk, head bent, using a pencil ruler or finger as a guide. Reading aloud, sounding out new words. Allows the teacher to see children are "on task", (but with very poor posture); and as each child reads a passage aloud, to tick off their "progress".

As adults

Reading:

These strategies are very counter-productive. Our developed brain no longer identifies individual letters but recognizes whole words and phrases. We don't need to scan eyes along the line, or to say or "sub-vocalise" the words; if we can do that is because our brain has already absorbed the information.


Improving your study skill set; Becoming a better learner.

Studying is a set of skills. You learn skills through practise - like riding a bicycle or playing an instrument. So reading the document wont make you a better student. You will need to read it to find out HOW to do better, then use and practise the skills and techniques described there. The good news - it wont take long to make a big difference.

The best way to use the document.

Read it. You may immediately identify things you are doing wrong, such as not taking breaks. Then pick ONE of the techniques that seems most useful to you, and try it. Not just once, these are skills that improve with use. If you feel its not beneficial or appropriate to your subject, try another.

Techniques described in the document:

  • How we remember - and why we mostly forget.
  • Preparation for study
  • Scheduled study and breaks
  • Review
  • Multi-sensory learning & mind maps