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  • Marie Minzlaff

Study Methods: Which one works for you?

There are many study techniques out there, but not all of them work for everyone. In this article, I will be explaining a few of them.


The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is one of the most well-known methods to use. This consists of a period of concentrated work, and then a short break, and then another period of work again. Your breaks will be longer or shorter depending on how long you study. For example, if you studied for 25 minutes, you would treat yourself to a five-minute break. After four of these rotations, treat yourself to a more restorative 15–30-minute break. The Pomodoro method was developed in late 1980 by Francesco Cirillo, then studying at university. Cirillo was feeling frustrated and could not concentrate on his work. So, he asked himself just to commit to ten minutes of hard work. Now motivated, he found a tomato shaped kitchen timer (Pomodoro means tomato in Italian) and the Pomodoro Technique was born.


The Feynman Technique

The next option is to use the Feynman Technique. This involves pretending to explain the concept you are learning to a sixth-grade student, and then identifying gaps in your explanation. Remember: if you can't explain it well, you most probably do not understand the concept yourself. The Feynman Technique was created by Richard Feynman in the 1940s.


The Leitner System

The Leitner System is an effective method of studying involving the use of flashcards. You write your information on one side, and on the other the answer, or a summary. Then, you sort them into piles. The first pile is the incorrectly answered pile, and the next is the 1st time correctly answered pile, the next the 2nd time correctly answered pile, the 3rd time and the 4th time. Incorrectly answered cards go back into the first pile until all the cards have landed in the final box. The Leitner System was developed by Sebastian Leitner in 1972 and employs the concept spaced repetition to create a fast and effective method to memorise information.

Active Recall Active recall is one of the most effective but also one of the most tiring techniques I have mentioned in this article. It requires mental stamina as you are forcing yourself to remember the information that you wish to master. Basically, you start by skimming the text you want to learn from. Then, you make up a set of question that you think the text might answer. Afterwards read the text carefully and try to answer your question with clear, concise answers. Keep testing yourself repeatedly and soon you should be able to remember the most valuable information from your text. Just remember, not all these methods might work for you.

  • Sleepless nights don’t mean better test results!

  • Always give yourself breaks in-between; don’t exhaust yourself.

  • Take notes during class and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Good luck!

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