Unexpected, inconspicuous, and incredibly clever – these are the core characteristics of these unusual learning hacks. Every student wants to be able to retain the university material better. Of course, this works best with a learning strategy that suits you. The following tricks are not standalone learning techniques, but they are wonderful additions. Take some work off your brain effortlessly! I have put together the most sophisticated tricks for better retention of information in this article.
Why Do These Unusual Study Hacks Work?
These learning hacks usually build on interesting study results. Numerous studies have shown that a small difference in learning sometimes has a major impact on memory performance. These tips and tricks take advantage of the fact that our brains tick in a very specific way. So, they do not necessarily promote better learning but better retention and increased retrievability in the exam.
1. Study Just Before You Sleep!
Sounds kind of counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Is correct! But this does not mean that you should only sit down at your desk when you are tired or that you should continue studying for hours when your eyes are already closing. This hack works as follows: If you notice that you are getting tired and can no longer concentrate sufficiently, you read through the recordings of today’s plain material for about five minutes. Leave the TV or laptop off and put away your cell phone. After studying for five minutes, you set your alarm and take a power nap or go to sleep if it’s already evening. You will now be able to keep the plain material better because your brain takes the last content with it to sleep, processes it, and saves it permanently.
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2. Smell & Taste Ensure The Recognition Value!
All of our senses are involved in learning. Let’s make use of them! That means: If you always notice the same smell when learning or always have the same taste in your mouth, then you will retain the learning material better! The information is linked to sensory perceptions. For example, find a perfume or deodorant that you only wear to study, or chew gum with a special flavor. On the day of your exam, you wear the perfume again and (just before) chew the gum. Smell and taste act like triggers that make your brain retrieve information faster.
3. Retain Info Better With The Right Font!
This is where opinions differ. Some studies say that 14-point Times New Roman is best for learning. Its simplicity makes reading easier. However, other studies have found that “harder” fonts are more beneficial because they make encoding a little more difficult. We read in more detail because the writing itself is not so understandable and question the content more intensively. In other words: We elaborate the text more, so we have a greater depth of processing and remember the information better. My recommendation: I would write summaries or elaborations, assuming you are doing them on a laptop, in a simple, clear font. Texts that you have found online and still need to read and understand, I would copy into Word and give an unusual font. This way you can be sure that you don’t just skim the text but understand it.
4. Short Walk: The Way Is The Goal!
Exercise is good – this is nothing new. What is new, however, is that a 20-minute walk just before an exam or a study phase boosts our concentration immensely. We can focus our attention much better after a short walk. We block out distracting noises more easily and work with greater concentration and precision on our tasks. So: Run to your next exam or take a short break before a learning phase and you will remember and reproduce your learning material better!
5. Clothes Make The Man!
I know it all too well myself: During the exam phase, nothing is more comfortable than sweatpants that are far too big and a sweatshirt. After all, feeling comfortable while studying is important, right? Yes, but we often associate these clothes with relaxation and not with concentrated learning. You can just lounge around in bed just as wonderfully in those clothes. Everyday clothes that are still comfortable promote our productivity, increase our self-confidence, and ensure that we retain what we have learned better.