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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPRM chapter.

Throughout our educational journey, we all come to the realization that understanding how our brains work and how we learn is essential. From early childhood, we’re immersed in a structured system of learning. This often leads us to believe that the only way to learn is through repetitive reading of notes until they are imprinted in our memory.

Indeed, those methods can be effective in subjects like science and language studies. Other times, you might need to practice math problems to prepare for an exam. However, as we progress in our education, particularly when transitioning to college, we often confront the truth that we don’t know ourselves as well as we thought when it comes to learning how to learn.

You’re not alone in this struggle. In this article, I’ll introduce you to various study techniques that have personally helped me during my college journey. Remember, these methods can be tailored to your preferences and combined for maximum effectiveness.

Let’s dive into more efficient studying!

1. Mind Maps: You might be familiar with mind maps from your early school years, but they can truly shine in college. When you’re faced with a week full of exams, creating mind maps for subjects like Spanish or History can provide a broad overview and help you grasp timelines. They’re also an excellent tool for gaining perspective on the material before deep diving into your studies.

2. Blurting: This technique is less time-consuming, but demands more mental effort. Grab a piece of paper, a computer, or an iPad, and start jotting down everything you know about a topic. There’s no need to worry about structure or flow, simply spill everything that comes to mind. This exercise can be timed to ensure you don’t spend the whole day on it. Afterward, you can compare your notes to the material provided. Blurting is especially helpful for identifying gaps in your understanding, areas where you struggle, and concepts you’ve yet to grasp. I personally like to use it in classes related to science. 

3. Active Recall: Challenge yourself by questioning your topic knowledge. This can be implemented as flashcards or self-constructed questions placed at the end of your notebook. Active recall improves your long-term memory and enhances your memorization skills. By forcing your brain to formulate coherent responses, you reinforce your understanding.

4. Spaced Repetition: This technique complements active recall and aligns with the concept of the forgetting curve, which illustrates how our memory weakens over time. To counter this, spaced repetition recommends reviewing a topic immediately after learning it, then again a week later, followed by two weeks and a month after the initial study. You can also use it to distribute the subjects you need to review over specific days on your calendar, culminating in your exam day. Personally, I maintain a separate calendar to keep track of my reviews and the dates for each.

5. Feynman Technique: This approach focuses on teaching someone, possibly a child, what you’ve recently learned. To do this effectively, you must understand the topic thoroughly and simplify it for the listener’s comprehension. It also fosters the vital skill of effective communication, a valuable asset in any career. Don’t limit yourself if you do not have somebody to teach to, because you can be your own teacher. 

Starting with these methods and customizing them to suit your learning style can pave the way to smarter, more efficient studying. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution; the key is to experiment and discover what works best for you. Happy studying!

I am a writer at Her Campus UPRM chapter. Within this platform, I channel my creativity into making pieces that are from a diverse range of topics, including mental health, productivity, lifestyle, and wellness in both languages English and Spanish. Beyond writing for Her Campus, I am a motivated and forward-thinking college student pursuing a career in Biotechnology. My journey is fueled by an enthusiasm for both environmental and science topics. I am striding purposefully into the future driven to cultivate a dynamic skill set for my professional aspirations and personal evolution. When not diving into academic pursuits, I am a voracious reader, who wants knowledge from various sources such as finance, business, and more. Productivity videos are my go-to since I constantly seek ways to optimize my time and efforts. I love to move my body, so workout sections are the highlight of my day. Overall, I am always open to the opportunities that lie ahead.