Life Hacks › Student 7 Proven Psychological Hacks To Help With Your Studies Life HacksStudent by Sam Warren Updated On Nov 26, 2019Going through high school and college, you have heard of many tricks and strategies that help students comprehend more. Coming from professors and students alike, some of these hacks sound reasonable, while others are quite far-fetched. Like one that recommends students to stay up all night reading chapter after chapter in their course textbooks. If you value your relationship with sleep more than anything else in this world, then that is not feasible.Everyone has their way to study, but there are a few more methods that you can add to improve your learning and thinking ability. We have come up with a list of study hacks for you. These strategies are not only tried and tested but also backed by research and science. Let’s set the ball rolling.ChunkingProfessionals in the psychological field are aware of this idea. Chunking refers to “cutting down” or dividing tasks into smaller chunks that are manageable. In studies, the theory states that it is easier for people to remember information when it is divided into smaller chunks, as opposed to trying to cram all the ideas of a particular topic all at once.The human brain can turn short term memories into long term ones. Psychologists have shown that humans can recall strings of numbers or names that are 5 to 9 characters long. This means that the average human can remember at least seven items back a few moments after being given a list.An excellent example of this is how we chunk phone numbers. If, for instance, someone gives you their phone number sequence as 7-1-4-8-9-3-2, you can chunk it to 714-8932, which will be easier to remember.Students who are used to cramming take in a lot of information all at once. However, their brains are unable to process all the information and they therefore tend to forget a lot of what they’ve studied. Chunking is one way of tackling loss of knowledge by cramming. Research has proven that students tend to remember items on a list more when they relate particular items on the list with others.If you find yourself in a situation, probably getting ready for an exam, where you need to grasp vast chunks of information but within a limited time frame, you can try to group facts based on common characteristics.Take Breaks In-Between Long Study SessionsThere is nothing wrong with occasionally studying for long sessions. You may, at times, be required to commit to them. However, be sure to give yourself short breaks as you study.Studies have proved that when we try to focus on a single task for a long time, the mind tends to wander. This is the same situation as when you hear the same sound over and over again for a while, and you become so used to it that you hear it as a background sound in the mind. The same applies when you are trying to focus on a specific task.Taking short breaks can help you regain your focus and use your study time more effectively.To achieve this, you can use a timer from the time you start studying until the time you start feeling distracted. Then use the timer every day for your study sessions until the time is up. Take breaks of roughly 5 minutes, where you can perform other tasks that engage your mind, such as grabbing a cup of coffee. By the time you sit back to resume studying, your mind will have rebooted and regained focus.Take Notes By HandIn this generation, we might think that handwritten notes are an old school way of studying. Studies have, however, shown that students who write their notes on paper learn and grasp more.Laptops and hand-held devices come in handy in this digital era. Some may even see them more advantageous as typing down notes is faster and helps one note every word said by the professor. Moreover, laptops help students engage more in online academic activities and forums, collaborate more on papers and assignments as well as access more academic material online. Laptops allow students to do more.When it comes to comprehension, however, writing down notes takes the mantle. Research by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer took students through three experiments in a class setting. The students were tested on their memory on factual details, the ability to generalize information, and their conceptual understanding of the material.In each of the experiments, one-half of the students were instructed to take notes by hand while the other half used laptops. Students who used laptops took more notes than their counterparts. However, those who took down notes using pen and paper were found to have a stronger conceptual understanding. Additionally, they had more success in applying and integrating their knowledge as compared to those who took notes using their laptops.If you want to synthesize material, see new connections, draw inferences, apply knowledge in situations, and evaluate evidence, you need to consider writing notes by hand.Test YourselfTests do not have good rapport in the academic field. Students hold quizzes in low regard, teachers and professors don’t like grading tests, while educational practitioners’ advice that too many tests may prompt teachers to “teach to the test,” which takes away creativity from the classroom.Research has proven that taking a test after a study session is more beneficial than a study session alone. It helps you retain more information and strengthen your ability to recall information for long-term learning.Psychologist Keith Lyle, of the University of Louisville, conducted a study to prove that tests help students in long-term learning. He taught two of his undergraduate classes similar material. One class was, however, given tests of 4 to 6 questions at the end of each class. These quizzes consisted of material that had been covered in the same session. The small tests accounted for 8% of the students’ final grades.The other class did not get daily quizzes. At the end of the semester, the first class outdid the non-quiz class in all of the exams that semester.The general idea is that reading information over and over again gives us a false sense of familiarity with the material being read. Students end up thinking that they know the subject, yet they haven’t tried retrieving it. Regular testing will help you commit the actual subject material to your mind’s memory.Don’t Be A Victim of the Forgetting CurveMany of us are already familiar with the learning curve. The forgetting curve, however, shows how we retain or get rid of the information we take in.Studies have proven that students will most probably recall information they learned in a one-hour lecture when they review the material they learned later on. The more this information is turned over in mind, the higher the chances of remembering it for longer.This hack is based on the functioning of the memory, just like chunking. People take in a staggering amount of information on a daily basis. Not all of the information is relevant. The brain, therefore, has to choose which data to hold on to and which to get rid of. When the brain pays attention to the kind of information that is processed multiple times, it can decide what takes priority.Rather than cramming, by reviewing material from lecture sessions by small chunks daily, you improve your ability to remember. If you are not able to review all the information learned in class every day, make sure you’ve at least looked at a topic severally before a test, and actively processed it.A simple way to do this is to actively review the relevant material from your textbook before the lecture. Take notes of this material and review the notes that evening before you sleep. It is essential to go through the notes again, right before the test. The more time you find to review, the less you will find yourself having to re-learn before the test. You will save time in the long-term.Pick the Most Suitable Time For You To StudyWhen is the best time to study? This is an age-old question whose debate never gets old. Everyone seems to have an answer to it and believes that what works for them will work for the rest. However, frankly speaking, we are all different, and we all have our preferences. Same way as to how one person loves black coffee while the other would rather have white coffee.According to science, our alertness and focus cycles are controlled by Circadian Rhythms. These rhythms are what form our 24 hours wake/sleep cycle, which then governs when we are hungry, tired, and when we undertake activities such as work and study. Our biological clocks are all different. This explains why one is a morning person while the other is a night-owl.The reality is that whichever time you choose to study, no one is exactly a winner. Some people have more cognitive ability in the morning, while others may find it more suitable to study at night or in the afternoon.Both day and night-time studies have their benefits. During your most suitable time, schedule to do the most challenging tasks as that is when your brain is most alert and productive.One essential tip for this is establishing a routine. Whether you choose to study in the morning, afternoon, or evening, don’t just do it haphazardly. Come up with a study routine. This will help your brain get used to it and get the most out of this period.SleepThis is a basic human need whose importance cannot be downplayed. A well-rested mind is key to achieve optimal productivity.A good rest at night will help you improve your score. This is because you will enhance your ability to think logically. Sleep affects your ability to listen, write, visualize, and remember, among many other crucial functions. Besides, you don’t want to doze off during the test or while attending a lecture.Get plenty of rest so your brain will be able to think correctly.Key TakeawaysNot all of these hacks will work for every student. It is, however, vital that you try a few to have the most efficient study sessions. Break down your material into smaller chunks, take short breaks during your study sessions, and write down your notes by pen and paper. Also, test yourself after study session to improve your brain’s ability to retrieve information. Review information learned on a daily basis so that you are not a victim of the forgetting curve.Most importantly, a well-rested mind will improve your productivity. Make sure you catch enough sleep. Now be in a stable mental state, be confident and visualize your success.