College is not only a time for discovery in extracurricular activities, but also a time to find what study techniques are the best fit for you. To assist you in finding your best fit study method, here are 8 active recall study methods and techniques to try during this upcoming semester.
- Listen to recordings
How: Create recordings of yourself or someone else explaining the topic you want to remember and listen to throughout the day. You can also record lectures if permissible by the professor to listen to while studying.
Why: This is convenient for studying on the go! It also leads your brain to listening subconsciously and better retention of information.
- Teach someone else
How: Pretend to teach someone else the information you are trying to study
Why: Teaching someone else forces you to think of ways to have someone else remember the information you are teaching. In doing so, you can memorize the information better.
- Condense chapter / lesson into key sentences
How: Write key sentence overviews or bullet points of what you have learned / read.
Why: Condensing information forces your brain to alter the information to fit it into a smaller scale. This can make your memory on the topic stronger, and it provides a good one sentence to remember during test time!
- Memory palace
What: Convert your memories into visual images around a mental memory palace.
How: Visualize a memorable location (ie. your dorm or classroom) and place what you want to remember in certain areas of that location. To remember, you can mentally walk through the palace to remember where you stored each piece of information.
Why: Associating information with a visual palace you’re familiar with connects something you already know with something you want to remember. This helps your brain create an imprint with what you want to remember and is a fun way to memorize!
- Study group discussions
How: Get together with a group of friends and discuss what you are working on in class.
Why: Sometimes talking with friends can create a lasting impact on your memory of the topic. If someone says something funny or interesting you’re more likely to remember it! Also if working on projects, assignments, or studying for the class, study groups can provide other perspectives.
- Design a test on the topic
How: This method is great for transferring notes into flashcards after a lecture. Create a collection of short answer questions in your own words with bullet points of the main points you should have in your answer. Study this test by either speaking the answers or writing them down.
Why: Designing a short-answer test in your own words not only creates a connection in your brain, it also will lead to new answers each time you study! Using bullet points in the initial answers will help you remember the key information to remember while also forcing your brain to come up with a unique answer each time you study the test.
How: Blurting is an active recall technique where you brain dump all the information you can remember. Write down everything you know about a topic, then go back and check to see if you missed anything. If you did, find the information and fill it in. Repeat until you remember everything! Blurting is good to do after reading textbooks or a lecture!
Why: Blurting drives your brain to actively recall information and shows you which information is not adequately retained!
- Make connections between your life and the lesson
How: Making connections between your life and what you’re learning helps personalize and make the information seem more important. Try to find a connection in your own life with what you learn in class. OR, research into a celebrity or historical figure that might be connected to what you’re learning.
Ex. If you are learning anatomy and can connect it to when you were injured.
Why: When your life and the lesson are connected, you’re more likely to be interested in learning about it. The information is no longer just a paragraph in your textbook, but a real life scenario that you can either relate to or remember more easily!