Regardless of how well you pay attention during class, it's what you do outside of class that can make or break your grades in college. There are a lot of study tips you have probably heard several times before, such as take notes and don't cram. While those study tips and habits are beneficial, we've compiled a list of ten study tricks that may seem a bit odd, but really work.
1. Musical Inspiration
Music can be a great study aid, but not just any music. This is not the time to sing along with your favorite Broadway musical or the latest pop songs. Instead, opt for music that you find soothing but won't put you to sleep. Classical music, nature sounds, and instrumentals are great options that will help you find a groove, without taking your attention away from your study materials.
2. Indulge in Sushi
This isn't just about indulging yourself, that's just a fringe benefit. The real advantage of sushi is the abundant amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in sushi. Commonly called "brain food", omega-3 fatty acids can both improve and aid in the maintaining of your memory. It's also a great way to treat yourself while potentially helping your grades.
3. Watch YouTube
As with listening to music, the types of YouTube videos you watch will make all the difference in whether they help or hinder your studying. The fact is, no matter what you are studying, there's a pretty good chance that someone has made a YouTube video about it. If you are having difficulty grasping a specific topic from your lectures and assigned reading, it can help to have the content presented in a different and perhaps more entertaining format.
4. Use Your Voice
Reading out loud can help you retain information when studying. It can also help you catch any errors or typos in your written work. Don't worry if it feels weird at first to talk to yourself. After a while, you will get used to the sound of your own voice. So speak up and study well.
5. Laugh About It
Laughter helps with memory retention. Although your subject material may not seem very funny, see if you can make a joke about it. It doesn't matter what kind of joke, puns work as well as irony. It's not the joke, but the laughter it provokes that can help you remember the material come exam day.
6. Get Uncomfortable
While you don't want to be unable to sit for five minutes at a time, you also don't want to be so comfortable that you start to doze off to sleep. Resist the urge to cuddle up on your favorite couch and opt instead for a desk or table where you have to sit more upright. The slight discomfort helps you stay alert and attentive while studying.
Cramming up until the last possible minute of the exam is tempting. However, you will perform better on the test if you have been able to unwind a little first. Exercise releases endorphins and can contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing. Additionally, a light 20 minute walk can increase oxygen to your brain and give you a memory boost to help you recall everything you studied.
Despite the pervasive image in popular culture of the sleep-deprived college student, well-rested students tend to perform better than their exhausted counterparts. Your brain commits facts to memory while you sleep. If you don't sleep between studying and taking an exam, you may have a harder time remembering information.
9. Teach to Learn
The best way to really figure out if you know your subject, is to try and teach it to someone else. This is especially helpful if the person you teach is unfamiliar with the content since they will be more likely to ask clarifying questions.
10. Rewrite Your Notes
We all know that taking notes to study later is a great way to ensure you remember the content of lectures later on in the semester. What you may not realize, however, is that if you are just re-reading your notes, you are not maximizing their potential to help you succeed. Rewriting your notes can help you commit them to memory better.
Achieving success in college, no matter what you are studying, takes commitment. While these weird tricks don't replace attending lectures and having good study habits, they can supplement your hard work and help you perform your best come exam day.