Studying, learning or capturing information does not just happen, it is an active action from your side. It is hard work, you need to force your brain to work as he is a quite lazy character! What we thus aim at is to learn cleverly, and we do that by having a structured learning process and to use the clever learning techniques called Mnemonics. What we want to move away from is that old feeling of "..but I learned/worked so hard...", yet, you did not succeed.
What we are concerned with here is to create a structure as to how you learn. Your brain likes to have a structure and that means that you have a set time and way you study. Study time is STUDY time, keep it separate from leisure time. When you play, play hard; when you study, put everything into it.
Herewith, then, is a well planned and effective study routine.
1. Plan your study time
Have a set roster for every day, and especially when it is time for studying for examinations.
Once you have your roster, then stick to it. If you then skip a session, that session is gone for ever,
and the knowledge you planned to get, is gone as well! I know it is sometimes tempting to quickly go and do something, like a swim or to play ball, etc., and to say, that you will catch up that time. The sad fact is that you never catch up again.
I repeat, that time is GONE!
2. Revision time
Revision is definitely the most important part of our aim to study cleverly and achieve great results without overworking ourselves. To understand why this is the case, and to believe that it works, you need to know how your brain stores and recalls information. Let me explain it in an easy to understand way.
You must understand your brain operates very much like a giant computer. The brain receives thousands upon thousands of little pieces of information, called impulses, per second. You do not actually 'see' something as a constant picture, your brain receives a split second of information and then connects the pieces together to form a continuous picture. It is very much like a movie film, made up of individual pictures, played back at a certain speed to give a moving picture.
Like a computer your brain thus receives information, or input, and it has to interpret or rework it to something you can understand. The computer uses RAM to do this, and the brain uses its Working Memory. Now, remember, those two things are both working memories, they do not store any information. When you switch your computer off without saving, the work you had done, is gone! Every person using a computer knows that you must save the work done on a hard drive or a memory stick. The brain works in the same way - sifting through that mountain of information it receives and then stores selected information in its so called Short Term Memory.
You now need to store this information into your Long Term Memory through the process of repetition. The more you repeat it, or 'learn' it, the better you memory and recall will be. The 'clever' way to learn is to do the revision as soon as possible and to use Mnemonics to make it easy for your brain to store and recall the information.
I trust you see how important it is that you do revision as soon as possible, and then at a number of intervals again. Let us now look at how you must do this revision.
Make revision part of your daily study routine and spend the first session of your study time on revision. It is important that you understand the following: Revision is not learning off by heart, it means purely refreshing the knowledge by going over it.
Scholars, of course, will not always have to revise every period that they had that day, only those periods where they are taught new work. Varsity or college students on the other hand will most probably have to revise every lecture, but their advantage is that many a time they will have free periods to do this in. Example ...