(this is an updated version of a post from January 2008)
I’ve posted quite a bit on how and when to study in order to maximize recall, but putting it all together may be a bit daunting. Follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll be well on your way to the top of the class! These may seem deceptively simple, but every one of these steps is supported by research. Start following these steps NOW to boost your grades and recall.
Best Study Schedule
- Study every day rather than studying for long periods on one or two days a week
- As far as it is possible, establish a regular daily study schedule
- Study early in the day as much as possible. Most (but certainly not all) brains function better earlier in the day.
- Study between classes during time that would normally be wasted
- Study in short sessions, from twenty to forty-five minutes each
- Take frequent breaks from two to fifteen minutes long between each session and do something completely unrelated
- Review at the beginning an end of each study session
- Study new material within fifteen minutes of learning it, and again within twelve hours. Aim for 100% mastery
- Study the cumulative class notes at least once per week
- Don’t study at night or on the weekends when it can be avoided. Rest is just as important as study! Exception: A brief review right before bed can cement information in. For example, if I spent two hours going over new notes during the day, I might take ten minutes right before I close my eyes to mentally rehearse the material.