How to Study Well: 11 Methods Proven by Scientific Studies

11 Steps to Finding a Scientific Study Method to Study Quickly

1. Counter the “Oblivion Curve”

Scientists have been aware of this phenomenon occurring in our brains since 1885 , yet students never seem to care.

The first time you hear a lesson or study something new, reviewing the material within 24 hours will prevent you from forgetting up to 80% of what you have learned . By doing so, after a week it will only take 5 minutes to retain 100% of the information.

2. Use Active Recall

In 2009, a team of psychologists published a research article in the November issue of Psychological Science advising students not to study by reading and re-reading textbooks, because this method leads people to think they know the content better than they do. they actually know, since all the material is right in front of them.

Students should therefore use active recall : close the book and recite whatever they can remember, thereby cementing long-term memorization.

3. Stay True to Pen and Paper

Tablets and other e-learning tools are very useful, but the results of contemporary research, as far as the study is concerned, still give supremacy to traditional printed paper supports.

For example, the iPad makes reading times 6.2% slower than a printed book, while the Kindle would be 10.7% slower.

Additionally, a psychology study at the University of Leicester , England found that students need more repetition to learn new subjects when reading on a computer screen than when studying from a printed book.

4. Use the Leitner system

Flashcards are an example of active recall , and Leitner’s system is the best way to use these flashcards. The system named after its author, the German scientist Sebastian Leitner , requires that the cards with the questions that have been answered correctly are moved to a box after the first, and that the wrongly answered cards remain in the first box.

The cards in the first box are studied more frequently, so by proceeding in this way you are forced to review a greater number of times that material that you know less, many times until you have learned it.

5. Listen to Music

According to researchers from the School of Medicine at Stanford University, listening to compositions of classical music (but the speech also applies to other musical genres) activates those parts of the brain that help to pay attention and  reason.

Listening to music can also put you in a good mood, encouraging you to study and could also change the very perception we have of studying (and the world in general).

6. Avoid multitasking

If while studying you are used to splitting between reading and messaging conversations on your smartphone, you are not killing two birds with one stone, rather you are drastically decreasing your efficiency in studying.

An Indiana University study recently showed that multitasking inhibits the effects of the study by disrupting the absorption and processing of information .

Similar studies for Ohio State University and others confirm that multitasking and studying aren’t exactly compatible.

7. Relax With Big Breaths

Here is a good reason not to stop at the last minute to study : stress hinders learning. Researchers at the University of California have found that even stress that lasts as short as a couple of hours can cause the hormonal release of corticotropin which disrupts the process of creating and storing memories .

The advice to counteract stress is to take breaks to practice with deep breaths: this practice tends to relax the body and mind, helping you in your performance during the study.

8. Rest

Study nights have long been downgraded as an unorthodox method of studying effectively. Research conducted by the University of Notre Dame indicated that the best way to remember information is to sleep after learning it .

One group of students was divided into two groups: those who studied at 9 in the morning and then continued their daily activities, and others who studied at 9 in the evening and went to sleep soon after.

The test groups, 12 hours and 24 hours later, when both had a full night’s sleep, demonstrated better information retention in students who went to sleep soon after studying.

9. Make Links

According to the testimony of several college graduate students with honors, the difference between slow and fast students in studying depends largely on the way they study : instead of trying to memorize, fast students build connections between ideas .


This process, known as contextual learning , involves the learner organizing information in a form that makes sense to him or her.

A suggestion could be to bring all the information together in a single space (a sheet of paper or a blackboard) to have a complete picture of all the elements available and facilitate the visualization of connections.

10. A Little Exercise First

The benefits of exercise on brain activity are many and well documented.

For example, to give your study session a boost of energy, you could do a short run or a quick set of push-ups just before opening your books.

According to Dr. Douglas B. McKeag of Indiana University Medical Center , exercise causes blood to flow more evenly into the brain, making us more alert and more ready to learn.

11. Varies the Material

A scientific study published in the New York Times has shown that it is better to focus on several distinct but related topics , rather than focusing on a single subject area.

For example, if you want to memorize words, combine this activity with reading texts that contain them.

Or, if you’re studying math, tackle several related concepts instead of just one.

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