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Scientifically Proven Tips for More Effective Studying


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Jailenne I. Quiñones-Rodriguez (she|her|ella) 

www.jailennequinones.com in collaboration with QMA


Studying is part of everyday life and professional preparation. It is also a technique that requires patience, practice, and trial and error. As you think about studying tips that are right for you, in this blog we explore four scientifically proven study techniques from scientific journals and some of the world’s best resources like Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Cornell University.


1. Use Active recall 

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This controversial method of studying was a talking point in 2009 when a psychology professor published an article advising students against reading and rereading textbooks which, he argued, merely lead students to think they know the material better than they do since it is right in front of them. Conversely, he recommended students use active recall: closing the book and reciting everything they can remember up to that point to practice long-term memorization.


2. Use Leitner System 

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Named for its originator, German scientist Sebastian Leitner, this study technique forces students to learn, through repetition, the material they know least well. The system of spaced repetition, which is an approach to memorization that uses time intervals. Rather than memorizing information into your brain all in one sitting, spaced repetition encourages learners to space out learning over periods of time.


3. Try the Feynman Notebook Method 

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Physicist Robert Feynman created this organization-based learning method by writing on the title page of an empty notebook. From there, he developed a technique of deconstruction and reconstruction of ideas, to understand even the most complicated of concepts. To use this method and learn how to study effectively, first identify what you want to learn. Then, try explaining it as you would to a five-year-old. The Feynman method is ideal for using analogies to further illustrate your concept.


4. Take on the role of teacher 

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Research shows that students have better memory and recall abilities when they learn new information with the expectation of having to teach it to someone else. This makes sense, as teachers are charged with not only learning information for themselves but also with organizing key elements of said information to explain it clearly to others. Scientific literature also suggests that students are more engaged and will instinctively seek out methods of recall and organization when expected to take on a "teacher" role. This can be especially effective with subjects like reading comprehension and science, though part of the magic involves working out how you’d "teach" each subject on a case-by-case basis.


Remember that you can make an appointment with an academic coach to work on implementing any of the strategies suggested in this blog.





About the author:

Jailenne I. Quiñones-Rodriguez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Universidad Central del Caribe – School of Medicine (UCC-SOM) and is a current Junior Research Associate from Puerto Rico IDeA Network Biomedical Research Excellence (PRINBRE). She is a first-generation scientist in her family and received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico at Ponce. In 2015, she joined the graduate program at UCC-SOM. During her Ph.D., she graduated with honors from a master's degree in Anatomy and Biomedical Sciences. Her evident interest in human anatomy and neuroanatomy has led her to coordinate, instruct, and mentor medical students with interest in the surgical field through an outreach anatomy project, which promotes clinical anatomy research while the students could do peer teaching. 




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