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A beginner’s guide to healthy study habits

Studying isn’t just about absorbing facts that can be recalled at will. It’s about understanding and retaining information, with different techniques available to suit different types of learners. It’s also about wellbeing, with exercise, healthy eating and sufficient rest as important to study the books you read.

If you’re embarking on a study journey, here is the beginner’s guide to healthy study habits that will see you enjoy the adventure and get the most from the process.

Different learners

According to research, there are three central learning techniques: auditory, visual and kinesthetic, and knowing which type of leaner you are goes a long way to assisting the process. It’s important to note more than one learning technique may be applicable to you, and you may do best by employing various strategies.

  • Auditory – The auditory learner discovers through what they hear and the lecture is their comfortable space. Auditory learners work best by reading their notes aloud and discussing them with others. They may also like to record their notes and listen to them.
  • Visual – The visual learner prefers note taking, they like to see what they are trying to retain. This leaner works in dot points and highlighters, reading and re-reading until the information crystalises in their mind. Techniques might include translating notes to images or diagrams, or paraphrasing then repeating.
  • The kinesthetic learner – This is the learner who likes to apply their knowledge through technique. They work best in hands-on spaces testing out the theory by physically applying it. Tactile, they learn by doing, with role play or experiments helping them decipher information.

Healthy body, healthy mind

But learning isn’t just about the mind; information retention happens best with the support of a healthy body. A good diet, sufficient rest, and regular exercise enable you to retain the right information at the right time, particularly when you’re under pressure such as before exams.

Increasingly researchers are noting the link between the mind and body – that a naturally stimulated but well-rested, well-fed mind will retain more information than a student strung out on coffee after hours hunched over their desk.

  • Diet – There is a host of foods that boost the study regimen including oily fish like salmon, protein like eggs and a bevy of fruit and vegetables. Foods to be avoided include high fat items and refined sugar hits.
  • Rest – It’s also important to maintain a good sleep regime where you receive between 7.5 and nine hours rest each night that is free from distractions like unnatural light sources such as computers or television.
  • Exercise – Meanwhile exercise also plays a role. Whether it’s a brisk walk in the morning or a quick swim after school, a Harvard report notes exercise has been proven to improve memory and thinking.

Quality, not quantity

You can cram all you like, but the truth of the matter is quality study at regular intervals far outweighs an intensive series of all-nighters in the lead up to exams. The key to great study technique is a setting a schedule, making it part of your daily routine to sit down and read or revise, gradually building on your knowledge base, rather than trying to hammer in a semester’s worth of notes in the final week.

About us

Great study habits and a healthy regime can establish your ability to learn for life, not just for the final foray prior to exams.

Over Chalk walls 25 years helping students we’ve assisted with innovative techniques and applied learning to help students not only remember but understand the subject matter. To discover more about effective study habits and how we can help, see here.

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