How to Study Better: 11 Life Hacks and Podcasts That Will 10x Your Studying Sessions

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I bet you totally can relate when I say that studying SUCKS.

Long hours, time doing work when you could be out and about, and nerve wracking tests that define where we end up in the future. (Well, at least that’s what we are lead to believe so I’ll just keep it at that.)

Isn’t there just an easier way to get it done, and more effectively at that? In short, the answer is yes, there is! Well, there are many ways that you can make it “easier” and more effective. We call such shortcuts “life hacks” in today’s world, and that’s what this post is all about; life hacks to help your study sessions 10x their effectiveness and produce better results.

Being one of the college student age, I’ve had my fair share of study sessions and long, countless hours of homework and exam prepping. Here are 11 life hacks that literally 10x my study sesh’s (I sound like a skater), and will prove to benefit your scores and grades and in return? Help you become successful. (Again, society says this not me).

1. Give yourself a time limit

Although it seemingly makes sense that the more time you cram into your study sesh = more information covered and retained, you are wrong. When we get information overload and end up burning out, you can actually lose everything you’ve tried remembering.

By limiting yourself to how long you can study per day, you will prevent an information overload burnout and will notice greater retention of the information. Just remember this: you are better off covering 75% of everything and remembering it all than covering 100% of everything and remember nothing.

2. Take breaks, work in bursts

You are much better off giving yourself one hour time limits for each session. For example, from 2-3 study, then take a break. Then from 4-5 study, go eat dinner, then from 6-7 go study some more. This will allow you to stop every hour, collect your thoughts, analyzing what you just studied, and have a greater chance of remembering more (which the end goal, right?).

3. Play music while studying

When you play music while you study and then play that same music while you are trying to recall that information, you have a much greater chance of remembering facts and useful information to help you complete your test. The connection of a song / songs and information can create a powerful bond that will assist you in retaining and recalling information based on the music you listen to while studying.

Pro tip: Make sure to double check that you can listen to music during class and / or tests! If not, this one will be of no use to you.

4. Spray unfamiliar scents while studying

Maybe you can’t play music while you take a test, but you can probably get away with spraying a unfamiliar perfume or scent right before you study. This works in the same way as music does. By connecting the scent with the information; you will be able to better recall information whenever you smell that scent.

Another pro tip: Be sure to use different scents for different class subjects! You surely don’t want to recall mathematical equations for English class! Or even worse, history class….

5. Get some sleep

This one goes along with #1, don’t go overboard and miss out on sleep just to cram in more studying hours. Listen to this: you are better off getting good sleep than you are to cram and get no sleep. You won’t retain what you studied nearly as well if you don’t get in some sleep sleep; so sleep gosh darn it!

6. Use parkinson’s law

Parkinson’s law basically says that whatever time we are given to complete a given task (whether it be 1 day or 20), our tasks and accomplishments will take enough time to fill the allotted due date time. What this means is that no matter how long you give yourself, you will finish the project. So by giving yourself a week to study, why are you still cramming last minute on the night before of the exam? This is because parkinson’s law says that we will complete tasks in the time allotted.

So instead of giving yourself a week, give yourself a day per topic. One week out do a day of math, the next day do English, and so on. Instead of saying “I’ll study for one week” say “I’ll study X this day and X this day.” You will surely, if you keep yourself accountable, get more studying done and find less cramming of everything last topic in the last night. Of course, I always recommend a review of everything the night before and day of to refresh.

7. Flash cards work

Even though it may seem like a waste of time to write up a bunch of flash cards, they can be great for remembering the majority of the things you know you will need to remember. So take the time to invest in writing them up and use them until you know every last one!

8. Stop highlighting.

This one relates to the previous, stop highlighting stuff and just make flashcards! This article shows an overview on how they have found highlighting content one of the more ineffective ways to retain information. Instead, by writing them down on flashcards and then reviewing those cards, we are much more likely to remember that content vs highlighting it instead.

9. Find your study grind

Finding the best place, atmosphere, and environment in which you best get into a “study grind” will prove to be beneficial ten-fold. This will be the place you go to as a safe haven so to speak to get your studying done. Some work better in quiet environments, some need noise, and some don’t really mind. Me personally I need either no noise or constant noise, there can’t be a mix of quiet and loud. Find out what works best for you; I also find it helpful to study near where others are working. It motivates you more-so to study rather than slack off and go watch mindless videos and go on social media (do that on your breaks!).

10. Write things out

Writing things out a few times can be a magnificent way to hold back information up in your head. By writing it out, you get to review not only the question at hand but also the answer. It’s just something about it being physically written out that makes it stick better.

11. Quiz yourself

If you have the option to make a fake quiz or mock test, do it! Not only do it once, but do it over and over until you literally have the answers engrained in your mind. This typically works best for classes that offer a quiz that you can test yourself on, but you can make it up on your own too. Select questions from each chapter in a book, making a little quiz out of it, and checking your answers over is an easy way to make your own little test.

From weird scents to sleeping, you have been given 11 practical yet interesting life hacks that you can implement into your future studying sessions to 10x their effectiveness.

If you are studying right now, more specifically for those cramming right now I have one tip: don’t do it anymore! You are seriously much better off following these tips and getting some good and quality study time into your routine. As for tonight, good luck. I hope you don’t blow it too bad and are able to redeem yourself next time (by using these life hacks to 10x your scores next time of course).

Not enough? Check out:

10 Podcasts Sources for Learning Effectively

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When you are learning new, you are falling under piles of books and periodicals you need to read. And even having much time you are still worried about the volume of information you should harvest before an exam or for your academic paper. But what if we tell you that there is the better and more efficient way of learning? Of course, you might say that we are kidding! Luckily, we are not!

Podcasts are known to be an excellent way of observing new information and doing it in an interactive and entertaining manner. Books sometimes are boring and full of references, no needed for student information, and they are usually written in a dry not understandable by the majority of students manner. Podcasts are not the same; they are interactive, and you can access them from anywhere where you have an internet connection, or you may download audio to your device and listen having a rest in your room, coffee shop or while travelling.

Allison Chara Hall, the head of writing department at Essayontime says:

“Podcasts are a great way of learning new. They are a must with the literature helping you to get a deeper understanding of the subject without overwhelming your head with different data. It is evident that they are entertaining and efficient at the same time.”

So here are ten great resources of podcasts every student should know about:

1.     Stuff You Should Know by Josh and Chuck

These podcasts by Josh and Chuck are a real goldmine of different topics you might never think about. They are engaging and interesting, and you can learn a lot listening to them. Have you ever thought how gossip works? Or what is sin taxes and is it a way of getting revenue? A lot of facts and notions discussed by Josh and Chuck will help you in your future life and learning. By the way, you will have fun and will learn a lot to be cool with your friends.

2.     Stuff To Blow Your Mind by Robert, Joe and Christian

If you love learning things which are hard to find in textbooks or online these podcasts by Robert, Joe and Christian are for you. These guys are doing a great job collecting facts, gossips, and legends and representing them in a cool way. The main disadvantage of this channel is that you won’t be able to find any proofs of some information they are representing. Yet, these podcasts are a cool way to expand your horizons.

3.     Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Dan’s podcasts are the way of learning history. So if you are interested in history or learning it, these podcasts will be a great resource for you. Moreover, Dan does them in an interactive way: he asks provocative questions helping his listeners to form they point of view. They are enthralling and informative and will give you push for debates at history classes.

4.     How To Do Everything By NPR

Relax and learn new about the world around: how to invite a girl to date or find water in a desert, or how to talk to a British dog – here you can find anything you might be interested or not. These podcasts are the way to have fun and learn new with a wide smile and shiny eyes.

5.     Science Friday By Science Friday

This podcast is primarily focused on science and technology, and a new episode is released each Friday. Covering different scientific disciplines the podcasts are useful for the students of all levels. Moreover, the team sometimes invites world-famous scientists like Elon Musk, Sylvia Earle, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and more. Yet, some of the podcasts are politically charged.

6.     StarTalk Radio By Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson will change your attitude to astrophysics, and even if you are not studying this discipline, you will find these podcasts a cool way of learning new about space and universe. Moreover, he invites a lot of scientists to represent relevant facts and research results in a humorous easy-to-understand way.

7.      TED Radio Hour By NPR

TED Radio Hour is another place to learn new. Here you will learn about new inventions, things we used to from another point of view. These podcasts will help you to develop creativity, come up with new ideas at your classes and better understand the world around us.

8.     Planet Money By NPR

NPR is a team of brilliant reporters and analysts, and their podcasts are very popular among English speakers, so business podcast on economy Planet Money is not exclusion. Here you will find all concepts of modern economics and finance in easy to understand manner. And it is evident, that they will help you much more than books or lectures.

9.     A History of the World in 100 Objects By BBC Radio 4

This fantastic, as per user reviews podcast will help you to learn world history with the help of 100 objects which had an influence on us. Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, using these objects to describe how the world changed under their influence. For example, credit cards forced the growth of poverty and popularity of online shopping or Akan drum which traveled to America and then to Europe and had an impact on African-American culture development on both continents.

10.The Infinite Monkey Cage by Brian Cox and Robin Ince

These podcasts cover different scientific topics and are hosted by BBC. Of course, there are some political things which are pushed by the hosts, yet, you still can learn different facts and notions by listening to them. For example, space tourism or artificial intelligence.

Of course, you don’t need to listen to all of them; you may try to follow one or two and enjoy fun learning instead of reading boring books and periodicals. There also numerous other podcasts which might be focused on your discipline, so try to search and you will probably find one which will serve your information observation needs and make your process of learning more interactive.

Have any other life hacks for fellow students? Comment them down below, or better yet; explain what works for you and WHY. I’d love to hear!

About the author Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams is an avid blogger who specializes in dating advice. Her interests include gender relations and the underlying mechanisms that drive human interactions. You can check out her thoughts on men, sex, dating and love at Wingman Magazine.