• Ryan Calleja Urry

5 Studying Techniques Backed By Research That Maltese Students Can Implement ASAP 🧠

As part of FreeHour's Careers Month, we've been hard at work creating some super useful content for all of you looking to find your first proper job or career upgrade - as well as a new section on our app allowing you to submit CVs & even book interviews with local brands!

Wanna Spice Things Up? 🤔

If you're ready to try out a new study system, you've come to the right place. The following are 5 different approaches that you can take that could freshen up the way you study, as well as increase your recall and general understanding...


1. The SQ3R Method 📖

The SQ3R method is a reading comprehension technique that helps students identify important facts to retain information in their books. SQ3R (or SQRRR) is an acronym that stands for the five steps of the reading comprehension process. Try these steps for a more efficient and effective study session:

  • Survey: Instead of reading the entire book, start by skimming through the first chapter and taking notes on any headings, subheadings, images, or charts.

  • Question: Formulate questions around the content of the chapter, such as, What is this chapter about? What do I already know about this subject? What are the key points?

  • Read: Now, read the full chapter and look for answers to the questions you created.

  • Recite: After reading the chapter, summarize what you just read in your own words. Try recalling and identifying major points and answer the questions from the second step.

  • Review: Once you've finished this exercise, it’s important to review the material to fully understand it. Quiz yourself on your questions, and re-read parts you're unsure of.


2. Retrieval Practice 💡

Retrieval practice is based on the concept of remembering at a later time. Recalling an answer to a question improves learning more than looking for the answer in your textbook.

Also, remembering then writing down the answer to a flashcard is a lot more effective than thinking you know the answer and flipping the card over early. If you practice retrieval, you are more likely to remember the information later on.

Here are some ways you can implement the retrieval process into your study routine.

  • Utilize practice tests: Use practice tests or questions to quiz yourself, without looking at your book or notes.

  • Create your own questions: Be your own teacher & create questions you think would be on a test. Encourage your friends to do the same, and trade questions!

  • Use flashcards: Create flashcards, but make sure to practice your retrieval technique. Instead of flipping a card over prematurely, write the answer down and then check.


3. The Leitner System 💳

The Leitner System is a learning technique based on flashcards.

Ideally, you keep your cards in several different boxes to track when you need to study each set. Every card starts in Box 1. If you get a card right, you move it to the next box. If you get a card wrong, you either move it down a box or keep it in Box 1 (if it’s already there).

Each box determines how much you will study each set of cards, similar to the following schedule:

  • Every day — Box 1

  • Every two days — Box 2

  • Every four days — Box 3

  • Every nine days — Box 4

  • Every 14 days — Box 5

This way, you're consistently studying the things you find the most difficulty with, while also reviewing other topics. It's a very comprehensive method.


4. The Feynman Technique

The Feynman Technique is an efficient method of learning a concept quickly by explaining it in plain and simple terms. It’s based on the idea that, “If you want to understand something well, try to explain it simply.” What that means is, by attempting to explain a concept in our own words, we are likely to understand it a lot faster.

How it works:

  • Write the subject/concept you're studying at the top of a sheet of paper.

  • Then, explain it in your own words as if you were teaching someone else.

  • Review what you wrote & identify any areas where you were wrong. Once you've identified them, go back to your notes and figure out the correct answer.

  • Lastly, if there are any areas in your writing where you used technical terms or complex language, go back and rewrite these sections in simpler terms as if you were teaching someone with far less knowledge than you. Simpler = more memorable!


5. Spaced Practice 🧐

Spaced practice encourages students to study over a longer period of time instead of cramming the night before. When our brains almost forget something, they work harder to recall that information. Spacing out your studying allows your mind to make connections between ideas and build upon the knowledge that can be easily recalled later.

To try this technique, review your material in spaced intervals similar to the schedule below:

  • Day 1: Learn the material in class.

  • Day 2: Revisit and review.

  • Day 3: Revisit and review.

  • After one week: Revisit and review.

  • After two weeks: Revisit and review.

This way, you are constantly building & reinforcing your knowledge, not studying once then never looking back at a section again...


Useful Methods 🥰

Whether you've heard of some of these methods before or not, they all offer a unique take on improving studying in some way.

Our personal favourite is #3, it seems like a perfect way to find out what you're confident in and what you're not, allowing you to focus more on improving your weaknesses!


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