Mind Power Study Techniques to Help You Get Ahead of the Posse
By Susanna Sweeney, MSC, MBACP, CHT
This article will help you build a repertoire of useful mind power study techniques that you can use to excel at exams.
The value of education outlined!
Let me start with the basics- nurturing your brain. It's easy to underestimate the importance of nurturing your brain. We take our mind for granted. I promise you that often, putting in place a few missing self care items can 'magic away' your concentration and focus issues.
So, before you do anything else, do read my article "Mastering Your Mind Power" to learn how to prepare your brain for periods of intense demand. Do not skip this step. Good brain self care will cut out many difficulties along the way.
3 Mind Power Techniques for Improving Concentration
1. Building an Emotional Connection
Number one among all mind power study techniques is building an emotional connection with the content you are learning. Why?
Well, think about it. If you have positive emotions towards the content, your mind will come on board much quicker, motivation and enthusiasm will help you along.
Find ways of becoming excited about the learning content:
- Keeping eye contact with your teacher can aid concentration. Try to get into their way of thinking to understand the subject more deeply. What has them so excited about this topic?
- Is there anything in this that you can get curious about?
- What could you use this learning content for in real life?
- What do you like about this topic? (Find at least one thing!)
- Use the excitement you generate to propel you along with your study.
2. Chunking Learning Content
Try using the Pomodoro technique to give your brain regular breaks during intense periods of study.
Here you study intensely for 25 minutes, setting yourself a timer, then you take a short break during which you could do some yoga stretches, jumps on the trampoline, or simply make a cup of tea and prepare a snack to have during the next bout of study.
After three such intense 25 minute periods, you then take a longer break when you can prepare/ eat a meal, go for a walk, rest, or do whatever else will recharge you.
Definitely take at least a short break after each hour of study because your memory retention will degrade after that and you won't be using your time effectively any longer.
Mind power study techniques help you prune your growing mind.
3. Non-Standard Study Methods
Try out non-standard methods of study.
The standard method most people use is to study using their notes taken in class or rewritten afterwards. This method relies heavily on your visual channel.
But how about using the aural channel also?
- Voice record yourself reading out your notes. (All versions of windows contain a sound recorder.)
- Transfer the recording to your MP3 player.
- This mind power study technique will put you ahead of the posse because you can now maximize your study time ahead of exams because you can listen to this recording at times that are not scheduled for study- for example in the gym, or while you are settling before you go to sleep at night.
Mind Power Study Techniques for Revision
Research shows that if you do not revise content within 24 hours of first learning it- you are very likely to forget 80 percent of it again. Regular revision is key to improving your memory of study content.
- Build your own revision schedule and stick to it.
- You could use the recording/ replaying mind power study technique for some of your revision work.
- You can schedule extra revision times by revising the content of the last class just ten minutes before class commences- just arrive a little early.
- Revise the entire day's lessons for an hour before going to bed.
- Schedule a weekly revision session where you go over all the lessons you had in the previous week for each course you are taking.
- Schedule a monthly revision session where you go over the content for each course, for example on the last Saturday of the month.
- When exams are approaching, revise the content of the entire course again.
More Tips for Revision
Be clear about your routine and write down a 24 hour schedule which includes your sleep, time spent at school/ college, sports, other activities, time to prepare meals and to eat, shopping and anything else you need to fit into your week. Stick to this schedule.
For intense periods of study, put yourself on a social media diet. Social media is known to interfere with your ability to concentrate and think clearly.
Prioritize your study. Divide items into categories such as 'most important', 'important', 'less important'. You could prioritize using different criteria depending on the situation- for example by which subject is likely to bring you the most points, or by the sequence of upcoming exam dates, focusing on the first exam first, the second one second etc.
Your Personal Mind Power Study Techniques
Answer these questions and use the answers in helping you design a study program for your year ahead.
- What is the best time of day for you in terms of concentration?
- Do you work better studying using books or notes you have taken yourself?
- Do you prefer studying from one book or several books for each given course?
- Does a nap during the day help you to maximize your energy or does it drain you?
- What is the optimal level of physical exercise for you in each day/ each week? How much physical exercise should you plan in throughout the year and during exam times? It's important to get this right- while exercise helps you to concentrate better overall, too much of it could leave you drained.
Mind power study techniques help you maximize the use of your energy so you will have time left for simply observing.
Mind Power Study Techniques for Speed Reading
If you are reading PDF files using a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat- it will include a search function. Use this search function to move through the file looking for certain keywords that are relevant to your study. this will save you having to read the entire text.
Consider using audio books over the written text- this has the advantage that you can maximize on how you use your time- for example you can listen to audio books while you are driving or exercising. Furthermore, you are using you underused auditory channel, feeding your brain in a different way and your brain likes variety- so it is bound to be helpful.
Academic reading tips:
When reading scientific papers for college, read the 'Abstract' first- this will give you an idea whether or not this study is relevant for what you are working on. Only then move on to the 'Discussion' section- at the start of which you will find the results of the research listed in simple, chunked down and easily comprehensible form.
If you need to delve into the topic area further, skim the 'Introduction' section for other useful studies you can use for making your argument.
Other speed reading skills:
Skimming- which means you are visually scanning the text in front of you- this may give you an overview but you are likely to miss out on the finer details.
When you are scanning the text in front of you your are not just reading it but also building a mind map or writing a list of the content in its order of importance.
Using the pointer method- you can help your reading by using a finger or ruler to guide you along sentences and down the page- this can be helpful for your eyes for improving focus.
Mind Power Study Techniques for Exam Preparation and Exam Days
- Develop a strong daily routine for times of intense study. Regularity will help your brain and emotions to feel calm and balanced. include a morning routine in your day- be it yoga, exercise, journaling, meditation or something else nurturing.
- When you prepare for the exam, get hold of old exam questions and include answering these in your preparation work. This will help you get a feeling for how questions are structured and what to look out for in answering.
- Revise all important content again the night before the exam. Then, let revision go and take a break.
- Prepare your brain with the right supplementation and adequate amounts of sleep. Avoid alcohol and drugs during exam times. For more self care tips re-read mastering your mind power a fortnight before the exams are due to start and put in place any missing items.
On Exam Day
- Make sure you eat a good breakfast the morning of the exam, but avoid heavy foods that will take your body lots of energy to break down. Include brain foods in your diet coming up to the exam, and most definitely on exam day.
- Arrive early- this will give you time to settle in and prevents stress.
- Spend the first ten minutes of the exam reading and re-reading the questions, strategically deciding how to best spend your time in the exam, making a schedule, and planning your answers in detail by drawing out a mind map or writing out a list. (Find out how to do a mind map in my article on mind power skills for problem solving). In the schedule include time at the end for reading over your answers and making corrections.
- With your planning done, focus on working through the schedule you have set yourself, down to the minute.
Other Tips to Help with Study
Train Your Mind with Self Hypnosis
Use Self Hypnosis to Change Your Life
Learn Other Mind Power Techniques
New to Hypnosis? Find answers to Your Questions
I hope my article on mind power study techniques has helped you to get ready for study and exams. In the comments underneath, let our community know what new things you have learned here and how you are using them.
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