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Unconventional Study Hacks That Work
Studying can be a tedious task, even for the most dedicated students! Finding tips and tricks that make studying easier and more enjoyable is a key way to ensure a successful study session. That's why we've outlined 5 of the most unique and unconventional study hacks that actually work to keep you engaged in your material and enhance your memorization skills.
Make It Funny
Laughter really is the best medicine, even when it comes to studying! Obviously, studying is not exactly the most humorous activity but with a little imagination, anything is possible. Studies suggest that laughter helps learning due to the dopamine being released and how it works to enhance retention. In addition, humour helps to elevate our mood and the human brain is more open to learning when we're in a better mood. However, the content needs to be related to what you’re studying. Therefore, if you’re studying chemistry, make chemistry associated jokes. Use your imagination to visualize a silly scenario like two angry atoms being forced to bond together (could they be angry because they can't trust each other, since atoms make up everything?). Turning your study material into a joke, making up a silly song or using catchy words or phrases to memorize key points are all helpful tools for retention and engagement while studying.
Chewing gum is one of the easiest ways to enhance your study session and it is scientifically proven to be beneficial in more ways than one. The act of chewing gum is actually considered to be a brain booster since it helps to ensure alertness and keeps your brain active. Chewing gum is a great alternative to consuming caffeine while studying as it keeps you alert without any of the jittery side effects.
In addition, choosing a flavour of gum that you don't normally chew while studying can help to create a new memory pathway that you can retrieve later on! Simply select a unique flavour to chomp on while you study and then chew the same flavour while actively taking the test.
Create A Reward System
Human brains are wired to perform better when running on a rewarding system, similarly to the way we work to receive money. Incentivizing your tasks is a great way to stay focused and helps to guarantee the desired outcome. For example, there is a well known tactic known as "The Gummy Bear Incentive" where you leave a trail of gummy bears on the key portions of your notebook or textbook. As you come across the gummy bears, you must read the paragraphs they are laying on out loud and try to memorize them. If you are successful in your memorization, you get to eat the gummy bears! This tactic is a great way to keep studying engaging and gives you a sense of progression. If gummy bears aren't your thing, there are many other ways to integrate a reward system into your study habits to enhance your study sessions. After you finish reading a chapter, allow yourself to go for a brief walk outside. Or, if you test yourself with a short quiz and you do well, grant yourself some play time with your pet! Find a reward that you are eager to achieve and this new sense of motivation will have you flying through your notes.
Listen to Music
Who doesn't love listening to music? Not only does it help to improve your mood, it also serves as pleasant background noise while you’re at home. When it comes to studying, music can be used as a helpful tool to elevate your experience. Research suggests that listening to music while studying can boost focus and lower stress levels. Music is a great stimulant for the mind and the changing pace keeps things from becoming static, therefore, it keeps you engaged and attentive. Studying with music creates a more relaxing atmosphere, allowing you to break away from external stressors and focus on the task at hand. Luckily, there are multiple free music platforms that offer the option to create your own playlists and we highly recommend you take advantage! With that being said, everyone is unique and different genres affect people individually. Songs that are too complex and fast paced such as rock & roll, hip hop or EDM can be too distracting or overwhelming for some, while for others, music with any amount of lyrics can create too much of a disturbance. Thus, instrumental music whether it’s classical, jazz, low-fi beats or acoustic guitar are among the preferred genres for studying.
Have you ever been out and about when all of a sudden your nose gets hit with a scent that brings you back to your childhood? Smells have an incredibly remarkable way of invoking memories and creating correlations. This is because the sense of smell is one of the strongest among all senses since it’s connected directly to the brain. The receptors in your nose communicate with the parts of the brain where your memory is stored. Similarly to chewing a unique flavour of gum, by surrounding yourself with a unique scent while studying, you can boost your ability to retrieve your memories associated with that smell. Select a scent that isn't common or overwhelming and spray some light perfume, use essential oils or burn scented candles while you study then just before your test, spray the same smell again.
We hope you'll give some of these unique study tricks a try next time you're looking to enhance your study session!