Learning is like jogging. Nobody runs a marathon from a standing start. You need a goal, a regular training and a special nutrition program. It’s the same with learning: neither magic nor force can help you master an exam or a test. It is more promising to take the required substance "in small portions" and regularly. Here you can find out which learning techniques will support you:
If you have had trouble remembering things, it may be due to exam nerves. The rule to learn faster beforehand: don’t panic! A little pressure to motivate is good, but stress is the killer of any success. But the more long-term you set your sights on your goal and the more consistently you follow through with your plan, the more relaxed you will be on the home stretch, i.e. in the last few days before your exam.
The 10 most important tips for better learning
- Workplace: Make sure you have an environment where you can focus on your study material: All useful tools should be at hand. Banish everything useless from your desk. Stay away from cell phone, TV, radio and telephone. Eat your meals during breaks and away from the desk. If necessary, move your workplace to the library. The main thing is that you do not get distracted from the essentials.
- Get an overview: Know the "distance" you need to have covered by day X. Take care of your manuscripts and transcripts. Divide this workload into subsections. This way, you’ll ensure small successes every day and be able to focus on details.
- Create a learning plan: Set fixed working hours. Schedule breaks where you can relax away from your desk. Taking a break of about 20 minutes after 90 minutes keeps you focused and prevents fatigue.
- Know your bio-rhythm: There’s little point in getting up at the crack of dawn to study if you’re actually a night person. Plan your study times according to your own concentration curve and place difficult tasks at your peak performance level.
- Stick to it: The dishes are done, the windows are shining, but the books are still piling up untouched on the desk? A typical case of procrastination (also: "procrastinationitis"). The more you let your plan slip, the greater the risk of panic at the end of the learning phase. Tip: Write down "non-learning" things that pop into your head while you are working on a piece of paper next to your documents – and take care of them after "closing time". >> Fight procrastination
- Talk about it: For example, tell friends about your learning and report on your progress. This way you can review what you have learned and make sure you have really understood the material. In addition, the attention and reactions of others can be an incentive to successfully complete the workload.
- Allow for time buffers: Don’t plan until the last day before the exam, but include idle time in your schedule. This way, something unexpected can happen without making you feel guilty right away. If you still have time at the end of the day, you can go through individual questions at your leisure – or take a little "vacation" from studying.
- Provide variety: Don’t work on the same topic all day, but rather focus your attention on a different area after each break, if possible. This is how you prevent fatigue.
- Motivation: Think about what you want to achieve in the long term: a well-paid job after graduation, a doctorate, a stay abroad in your favorite country. Realize that this exam is a small step towards your long-term goal. This can help you over many a slump in form.
- Get started: Don’t delay any longer and start your first study session right away. With time, you will find it easier and easier to switch to work mode.
Learn faster according to your type
Another cause of your learning difficulties could be that you’re not learning according to type. The doctrine of the four learning types understands learning as a process in which individual sensory organs are addressed to different degrees: one retains heard content better, another must read it, the next understands models to touch best and still others prefer to exchange information about what they have learned in conversation. Depending on which of these senses is most receptive to the new impressions, you can learn faster or slower.
Listening: Auditory learning
You can follow lectures, presentations or audio books well? Learning by heart is not difficult for you? Then you are the auditory type of learner. Find a quiet place to study and read your assignments to yourself. Maybe record your voice at the opportunity to listen to it again and again for repetition. If it helps you, play music quietly, but avoid workplaces with too much background noise.
Seeing: Visual learning
If you learn mainly by reading, looking and observing, then you belong to the visual learning types. Create a harmonious, orderly working environment for yourself. Look for documents with as much illustrative material as possible (graphics, pictures, learning posters), watch films on the subject and make your own videos if necessary. create their own sketches in parallel to the text (e.g., in a book).B. flipcharts), use different colors to mark individual passages. Mindmaps are ideal tools for visual learning types.
Talking: Communicative learning
Learning in a quiet room is not your thing? You really blossom in professional discussions with others? Then you are probably the communicative type of learner. Join learning groups with classmates and fellow students, talk about your learning experience, exchange ideas, ask questions and discuss the content with them. Question-and-answer games can also help you retain what you’ve learned.
Moving: Motor learning
"Learning By Doing" – learning by doing – is the principle of motor types. After all, every theory always needs a concrete use. If you feel this way, you should always try to find a practical way to apply the information at hand. Physical experience, movement, action and touch are key elements in your learning project. Build a model, walk around the room while studying, measure distances yourself to better understand the theory. Activities with a group or role-playing games also count in this sense as physical experiences for motor learners.
Of course, several senses are always involved in learning. Attending a lecture always means watching as well as listening to the lecturer’s lecture. The more intense the learning experience, the more likely you are to retain what you have learned and remember it in the long term. And the more successful the result of your "training".
Learn more easily with "brain food
Speaking of training: If you are an athlete facing a competition, proper nutrition is an essential part of your training plan. This also applies to the learning phases. Therefore, during these days, make sure that you eat a) regularly and b) the right things. "Proper" in this case means: lots of protein and lots of vitamins. And, if you’re going to eat carbohydrates, then please eat valuable ones.
They differ from their "worthless" counterparts in that they are digested gradually and therefore make you feel fuller for longer. You can find "valuable" carbohydrates in cereals and potatoes, for example. Sweets and potato chips, on the other hand, only fill you up, briefly raise your blood sugar level – and the subsequent low fuels the desire for more..
So, all in all, very strenuous for the body. The more he has to do with digestion, the less energy he has left for the thinking process. This "brain food", on the other hand, will bring you a good deal closer to your learning success:
Muesli made of whole grain cereals, with nuts, fruit (dry and/or fresh) and milk (optional yogurt or kefir). It contains, besides many proteins, especially valuable (long-chain) carbohydrates. This way hormones (u.a. Dopamine, adrenaline) released that make you feel awake. This breakfast is gradually digested by the body, which means you are full longer without straining the organism.
Tip: Mix all dry ingredients yourself and keep them in stock. This is how you do something good for your body every day and also save time.
At lunchtime: poultry and salad
"Noodles make you happy," as the saying goes. That’s true, but above all they make you sluggish. Finally, after a large portion of pasta, the body again needs a lot of energy to digest it. The result: the well-known "food coma. So at lunchtime, reach for foods that are rich in protein and vitamins, e.g.B. fish, poultry, vegetables, salads, dishes with rice or lentils. Noodles are also okay, as long as they are whole-grain noodles. But if possible, avoid heavy sauces on pasta and salad.
For dessert we recommend yogurt with fruit. Chocolate is also okay now and then: dark chocolate in particular contains not only less cocoa butter (read: fat), but also more flavanols than conventional varieties. Consequence: The brain is better supplied with blood and you can remember things better. The well-known trail mix with nuts and (unsulphured) dried fruit also helps against the afternoon slump at the desk.
Drink: water and real cocoa
During this time, make sure that you drink enough water. Sufficient fluids maintain brain performance, prevent dizziness and headaches. How to get through the learning phase more easily. Water alone is too boring for you in the long run? Mix it with a third of fruit juice or with mint plus lemon (refreshing, especially in summer). A few slices of ginger in winter add flavor and support your immune system. Unsweetened teas will also keep you hydrated.
You need a quick energy kick? Why don’t you make yourself a banana milkshake?! Or stir up a milk mix with real cocoa in your crock pot. A pinch of cinnamon not only has a stimulating effect on body and mind, but also tastes extra delicious.