How you study effectively depends on what you are studying for. That said, there are some scientifically proven ways to increase memory.
Chunking Science has proven that we remember information best when it is grouped together. We tend to remember no more than 7 items at a time. For example, phone numbers are 7 digits. So you can combine like topics so you will remember them better.
Memory or mnemonic devices If you create a memory device you are more likely to remember complex information. For example, most schoolchildren are taught Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally as a memory device to remember the order of operations Parenthesis Exponents Multiplication Division Addition Subtraction.
Writing things down Increasing the sensory input into our brains helps us remember better. When you write, you not only repeat the information but get it through different senses- touch and visual.
Word association This is similar to a memory device. You can associate one word with another word to help you remember. This works very well for memorizing vocabulary. For example, let’s say I am trying to remember who Adolf Hitler was. I might use the word “hit” in his name to associate him with the pain he caused in the world. If my vocabulary word is “congenial” (friendly), I might think of my friend Gene who gets along well with others.
Flash cards Most people do not really use flash cards effectively. When used right, they are amazingly effective. Write the word on one side and the definition on the other. Use either the word or the definition to QUIZ YOURSELF. Quizzing yourself is the key. Just reading the word and then the definition is not effective. Say the answer either out loud or in your head, then check it. If you got it right, make a KNOW IT pile. If you got it wrong, make a DON’T KNOW IT pile. Then repeat.
Annotation If you can print something out or write directly on your notes or in your book, your learning will increase. This is because you are interacting with the text, and reading more carefully. You are also writing so there is more than one sensory input.
Recording Some people are audio learners. They like to hear things and then they remember. Recording lectures and playing them back works wonders for these people. Interestingly enough, this also works well for people who are NOT auditory learners. They often miss the information the first time, and being able to play it back as many times as they need is immensely helpful.
Take frequent short breaks Our bodies and minds get tired. Don’t sit for longer than 20 or 30 minute without stretching, taking restroom breaks and resting your eyes.