Studying is part and parcel of university life, but not every student learns best by studying the same way.
While commonly used methods such as cramming have long been debunked as ineffective ways to study and retain information long-term, many students are still guilty of doing so.
But if you’re ready to try something new to improve your studying, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve compiled some unusual ways to study that may help you in your next exam.
Use ‘difficult’ to read fonts
Research suggests that using hard to read fonts may improve your ability to recall your notes, regardless of the subject you’re learning.
However, the fonts can’t be too difficult to read or you simply won’t benefit from this hack.
If you’re looking for a font that may help you with your studies, researchers have developed “Sans Forgetica”, which has the “desirable difficulty” to help students remember typed study notes.
Take notes using coloured pens
Colour doesn’t just make life more vibrant, but has also proven useful in the education domain.
Research suggests that colour can improve memory abilities, but the type of colour used can also influence your memory performance.
The study notes that “the use of a white colour background with black colour foreground has a better contrast level for memory retention for both short-term and long-term. This may be the reason for the top fast-food restaurants in the world to be associated and branded with vivid colour.”
So, consider taking notes using different coloured pens to help with your memory retention.
Science suggests certain scents may be able to boost your memory.
Ayurvedic instructor, Puneet Nanda, told Inc that: “Smell is the strongest of the senses and the only one that’s directly connected to the brain.
“The smell receptors in the nose communicate with the same parts of the brain where memories are stored, where emotions are governed. It also impacts certain reactions in the body. This is why the inhalation of an aroma can instantly stimulate appetite, evoke a strong feeling, or remind us of a person or a place.”
To improve your memory, studies have found that the smell of rosemary in the form of essential oil could benefit you.
Make notes of all the important points for your exam
Before sitting a test, consider jotting down all your important notes on a piece of paper or index card.
This exercise aims to help you remember all the important information by engaging your brain at the deeper level needed to recall information, instead of merely reading your notes.
Study with music
Many of us love listening to music, as it not only puts us in a good mood, but also acts as pleasant background noise when we’re at home.
Some research suggests that listening to music while studying may benefit students, lowering stress levels for some while others suggest it could improve focus. Classical music, or songs without lyrics, are among the preferred genres.
But as research into studying while listening to music has yielded mixed results, we say do what works for you. If music proves to be a distraction, give it a miss.