Alternative Study Techniques for Success

I am always trying to reinvent my study techniques be it through the tools I use or the places where I study. All of my exams coming up are essay-based and, with a lot of written content that comes with my Humanities degree, I have to try find new ways to get all of these arguments, concepts, and skills into my brain.

As a self-proclaimed studious girl who lives for #studyspo and #studyblrs, I have developed a set of techniques that are alternative, effective, and guaranteed to spice up your study routine. These are study techniques that Kim Kardashian would be proud to use.


  1. 1. Follow Your Nose

    It is true that smells trigger memories. Have you ever caught a whiff of alcohol and remembered the time you almost died in Long Street? USE that to your advantage! Maybe not the alcohol, but the smell method to trigger memory. If you wear a specific perfume while revising for a section of work, wearing that same perfume in the exam could help you remember what you studied.


  2. 2. Space Out

    This is a technique I was taught by one of my best friends: Use different rooms in the house to study for different topics. For example, the kitchen table could be your study space for mitosis, the lounge for sexual reproduction, and your bedroom for human evolution. In the exam, picture yourself walking through your house to these different rooms, and you’ll be surprised how much you can remember about your workload!


  3. 3. Sing Your Syllabus

    I used to use this method in high school for the more trickier subjects when I could not remember content easily. To this day, I still remember my ‘Properties of Solids’ song and ‘The Water Cycle’ song. Setting your course content to popular songs is one of the easiest ways to get a bulk of information to stay in your brain. You could even use nursery rhymes, I recommend ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’.


  4. 4. Let Your Work Speak

    As a visual learner who has a passion for theatre and performance, I find this method to be highly affective. When I studied Biology in Matric, I struggled to remember the process of digestion. I ended up making each organ and digestive enzyme a character, such as Constable ‘Glottis (epiglottis) and Nurse Saliva. Constable ‘Glottis was a strict police officer who allowed flow of traffic of food by opening and closing for safe and easy swallowing. Nurse Saliva was a kind, clean, and gentle character who softened the food and provided an anti-bacterial function. See, how easy was that?!


  5. 5. Talking Body 

    “I know the answers, and I can prove it if I can move it!”

    You may remember that from the episode of Hannah Montana with the famous ‘Bone Dance’! Miley creates a dance to help her remember all the bones in the human body. Her reason for doing this is that she remembers dance movies better than anything else, so she uses this to her advantage when studying by turning her test content into a dance! Transforming your course work into something that gets your body moving is one of the most effecive methods of remembering lots of information. After all, your body is always with you, but your notes aren’t!


  6. 6. Taste Test

    The sense of taste, much like smell, is able to trigger memory. If you haven’t tasted your mother’s butter chicken curry since that wintery night in 2008 and you suddenly eat it again, you will be transported back in nostalgia to that night. Try eating the same bubblegum during your exam as you do in your study sessions, or maybe eat only red MNMs for parabolas and green MNMs for exponential functions.


  7. 7. Same Space

    Something I am yet to try: Studying in the same space that the exam will be held in! This could easily trigger memories of your study material.


I hope that you try at least one of these techniques. It is only through trying new things that we find what truly works for us.

Happy studying!