Which of these works best for you? Let me know in the comments!© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
A psychologist named Von Restorff noticed that when he gave test subjects a random list of words. . .
cat, bench, art, canopy, Zimbabwe, fish, etc.
. . . they remembered best the words at the beginning and end of the list. No big surprise there. That’s the serial position effect I talk about in my book.
BUT: they also recalled unusual words, such as “Zimbabwe.”
Now it gets a little weird; subjects also showed better recall for the words near the uncommon word.
This effect is called—appropriately enough—the Von Restorff Effect.
Use this in your studies.
Do something novel, strange, fun, interesting, or just flat out weird during your study break. (You do take study breaks, right?)
Anything you do to make the break interesting and different from the study time can boost your memory of the studying on either side of the break.© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
Check out this excellent explanation of how taking breaks works to improve long term memory of a topic–with the research–by Dr. David Gilden.© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
Motivation done right lets you motor through your to-do list like magic. Try this simple trick from London-based writer, Sidin Vadukut. Pair each chore on your daily to-do list with a short, sweet reward.
You are using a to-do list and a calendar to make short work of your academic tasks, aren’t you? Paper works great, but I’ve recently been playing with Wunderlist 2 and have been pleasantly surprised.
Here’s how it works…
- On your to do list add a fun to-do after each and every task.
- Assign your tasks (the fun ones and the less fun ones) a time to complete. That will keep you from letting things drag out or from over-scheduling yourself.
- Keep your fun to work ratio at about 1:10. For example, if I spend forty-five minutes studying my Econ homework, I might then allow myself five minutes of Smarter Every Day.
- Bask in the glory of a fully checked off to-do list.
Let us know your favorite rewards in the comments!
Read Sidin’s full article on fighting procrastination here.© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
Your brain works better when you take regular breaks. Watch the video on that here. Now there’s a waaaay easy way to time your study time and your break time. Check out the easily configurable and free Marinara timer online. Bonus: here’s a timer perfect for 45 minute study sessions with 5 minute breaks in between.© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
“I would recommend anyone, who has to devote several hours together to one subject of thought, to try the effect of such a break, say once an hour, leaving off for five minutes only each time, but taking care to throw the mind absolutely ‘out of gear’ for those five minutes, and to turn it entirely to other subjects. It is astonishing what an amount of impetus and elasticity the mind recovers during those short periods of rest.”
— Lewis Carroll‘s rules for healthy intellectual digestion.
Find out more timeless study superchargers in my ebook, Secrets Smart Students Know.