As students we are always looking for better ways to learn and make the learning process more tolerable because sometimes it could be really frustrating. We will be talking about some study techniques that might help you during final exams and any kind of test you will be attending.
This technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 80’s. There are six steps to follow:
- Decide on the task to be done, you might want to make a list.
- Set the pomodoro timer (25 minutes)
- Work on the task.
- Finish work when the timer rings take a short break (5 minutes)
- After three pomodoros are done, take a long break (20 to 30 minutes). Once the long break is finished, move to step 2 again.
This technique works because people can be more organized with the time they have disponible and that time is used to be concentrated only on the task you have to do. This may be a little obvious but during the 25 minutes you have to be focused and leave your phone or any other distraction behind.
This method have 3 rules for getting the most of each period of time:
1- Break down complex projects: If a task needs more than 3 pomodoros you need to break down the project into smaller steps so it can be easier to carry on.
2- Small tasks go together: Any tasks that will take less than one Pomodoro should be combined with other simple tasks, for example one math exercise and a reading of a text for another subject.
3- Once a pomodoro is set, it must ring. The pomodoro is an indivisible unit of time and can not be broken. If you have already finished your task and there is still time at the pomodoro timer, you can use it to re-read something, to make sure your task is completed correctly or to read something useful.
When you start working in timed sessions, time is transformed from abstract concept into a concrete event. It becomes a pomodoro, a unit of both time and effort.
The concept of time changes from a negative, to a positive representation of events accomplished. Cirillo calls this “inverting time” because it changes the perception of time from a lost time to a well used time where you realize it is much easier to accomplish a task.
The Leitner system is a method of efficiently using just flashcards. This system was developed by Sebastian Leitner in the 70’s. It is a simple implementation of the principle of spaced repetition, where cards are reviewed at increasing intervals.
The Leitner System employs the concept of spaced repetition, which is an approximation to memorization that uses time intervals. Rather than overload information into your brain all in one sitting, spaced repetition encourages learners to space out learning over periods of time. Under the Leitner System, learners dedicate different time periods to studying certain concepts.
To start with this system you have to do 3 things:
- Make flashcards. You can put a question on the front and the answer on the back. One card per concept.
- Label 3 boxes with study time periods (box 1 for cards to be reviewed every day; box 2 for cards to be reviewed every other day and box 3 to be reviewed once a week)
- Add your study times to your calendar.
Every flashcard will start in box 1. As you answer a flashcard correctly, move the card into the second box. If you incorrectly answer a flashcard, place the card back on the first one. Continue with this method for each flashcard in Box 1. At the end of this round, you will notice that some concepts stay in box 1, that means that these concepts are more difficult for you and require more time of studying. The cards that have passed to box 2, these are concepts with which you are more familiar, so you do not have to study them every day.
Each time you know the concept written on the card, you move it to the next box. Each time you get a card wrong, you put it back in the previous box. Once you have finished studying for the day, you will see which concepts are ones that you need to study more frequently, and which concepts may only need you to study them once a week.
Nootropics for focus
Apart from the study techniques we mentioned before, you can use some supplements for increasing your concentration and make the studying process even easier, these supplements can be some types of nootropics such as:
Citicoline or CDP-choline is a naturally occurring molecule that is vital for neuronal functions, particularly those related to cognition, learning and memory. This is because citicoline is rapidly converted into choline once in the body.
Choline is a key precursor molecule which is used to synthesise the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine (Ach). Acetylcholine is a key player in attention and alertness, it is also fundamental for complex behaviours. The cholinergic system of neurons is amply implicated in many aspects of cognition, learning and memory.
The good news is that, in contrast with other nootropic substrates, citicoline has been the subject of careful scientific investigation. This means we have a good understanding of its effects, efficacy, safety and use.
Studies in humans have highlighted that citicoline can have a beneficial effect on concentration, working memory and attention.
In 2015, researchers showed that a 28-day period of citicoline supplementation improved the performance of adolescent males on a range of attention and psychomotor speed tasks.
Rhodiola rosea, also known as arctic root, and golden root. This root activates blood circulation, unblock blood vessels, enhances mental function, and smooth asthmatic conditions. Rhodiola species has been extensively studied on its properties. Modern pharmacological studies indicate that its extracts can increase neurotransmitter level, central nervous system activity, and cardiovascular function. Current studies reported that Rhodiola can improve cognitive function, reduce mental fatigue, promote free radical mitigation, and has anti-oxidative and neuroprotective effects.
To summarize, Rhodiola extracts might help protect cells from damage, regulate heartbeat, and have the potential for improving learning and memory.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb rooted in Ayurveda, an alternative medicine originating in India. Ashwagandha consumption led to improvements in cognitive function in all areas, including focus and concentration. In particular, skills relating to attention, processing and reaction speeds were noticeably enhanced.
Whether its athletic ability, work productivity rate or complete mental avidness you want to work on, ashwagandha is scientifically proven to contribute towards improved performance.
As well as the role ashwagandha can play in providing good brain health, it could also boost your performance through benefits such as increased reaction speeds and better sleep quality.
As we always say, this is not a medical or professional article, remember to visit your doctor before taking any kind of nootropics even if they are known as natural.
Throughout this article we have shown some of the things you can implement or use to improve your quality of study without having to spend hours and hours reading over and over again a text with no sleep. Make sure to try all these tips and find which one suits you the best and good luck.