Everyone even myself asked the same question, ‘How to Study Fast in Less Time?’ back in my schooling days. Now, I look at my elder son sprawled on the sofa, book in hand, preparing for his exams the next day. At the same time, I observe the younger one sitting erect at the table, with a determined focus on his face. This visual gives me a stark reminder of how unique we are as individuals. That is, uniqueness paves the way in which we approach things in life. I say this because one is cramming and the other is revising. Two human subjects, two observations, two conclusions.
1.9 billion children in the world, and a billion different approaches to learning and preparing for exams! Decades of experience have shown us that a bit of consistency, discipline and smart planning makes a fast learner. Some important pointers that students need to remember throughout the academic year are:
a) Recognize your aptitude: Reflect on your behavior and try to identify the trigger that stimulates your learning process.
In 1983, Dr. Howard Gardener, professor of education at Harvard University, developed the theory of multiple intelligence. Furthermore, he proposed eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. They were:
- Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)
- Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
- Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
- Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
- Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
- Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
- Intrapersonal intelligence(“self-smart”)
- Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)
As parents, teachers and students, it is imperative we recognize the type of intelligence that dominates personalities’. We should attempt to nurture that intelligence to facilitate learning and encourage a love for it. Example, during his younger years, my little one would sing out his answers to me, while revising his lessons. Overtime, we found that he has a strong aptitude for music. Singing his lessons helped him memorize faster.
b) Be enterprising
Visualize your academic responsibilities as a business to run. First, take the initiative to plan and begin early. Then, set your goals out at the start of an academic year and draft them as a business plan with allotted time slots.
You may, as well, seek the assistance of an adult to get a clear structure to your plan and set it up at eye level. Being in your regular vision reminds you of your goals. Also, it inspires you to continually innovate on more creative ideas towards achieving your student goals.
c) Cultivate the mind of an Inventor
Approach your lessons with an open mind, broaden your perspective and use a variety of material to learn a topic that interests you. Develop curiosity and question everything you learn. Experiment, Explore and Invent. Try to Imagine and apply the concepts you learn to everyday life, a product or an experience.
d) Be an Egyptian
Historians believe that the Egyptians were great planners who believed strongly in the concepts of time-management. For they were the first ones to invent the sun-dial and the calendar. So, go ahead and invent a calendar of your own. Plan your holidays, but plan your academics first! Prioritize and balance your subjects according to your non-academic activities and other responsibilities in your community and home.
e) Be the worm
I meant the early worm not the book worm!! Start early in the day, therefore ensure you cultivate good habits like sleeping early and waking up early. Plan ahead and organised the tasks that you would like to start off with. All academic materials and stationery should be set and ready on your study table, so you begin quickly. It’s important to begin briskly rather than dilly-dally like a hippo.
f) Be the CEO
Be Organised, Stay Organise, and Organise more. All your study material should be organised tidily in a consistent manner. Your bookshelf, study area should be neat and tidy and a conducive learning environment. Ensure your notes are completed on time and assignments submitted. This way you take control of your academics, you are the CEO of your own enterprise.
g) Be a Social butterfly
If you think studying in a group helps and broadens your learning horizons, then form a group with active, enthusiastic learners and plan a fixed schedule for learning sessions.
h) Be physical: Exercise
Being physically active stimulates thinking skills and enhances memory. It also releases chemicals in the body called endorphins. These endorphins reduces your perception of pain by interacting with the receptors in your brain, thereby triggering a positive feeling in your body. This will help you approach your goals with a more enthusiastic and eager attitude thereby facilitating faster learning.
i) Be screen-savvy
In a smart way. Control your screen time and don’t let it control you. Set alarms or reminders for time spent on your social media or video games. This screen-savvy approach will help you stay focused on your goals and have fun at the same time. If you feel that you are developing addictions and display withdrawal symptoms to any social media addiction, seek parental guidance or the help of a mentor immediately.
j) Be a listener
Listen. Focus. Concentrate. Be a listener in the classroom and 50% of your learning is done. Decades of observation has proved that children who listen in the classroom are faster learners than the ones who don’t. Respect the effort your teacher makes everyday and listen.
k) Be a nutritionist
The most important thing is to ensure you have adequate nutrition. A body that lacks nutrition will lack the energy studying requires. A lot of experts recommend ‘brain food’ for students to enable stronger focus and concentration. Encourage your parents to serve out more dishes of those! Walnuts, Broccoli, Fish, Flax seeds, Berries, Dark Chocolate, Spinach are all good fuel for the brain and stimulate a learning attitude.
The Teacher’s Role on How to Study Fast in Less Time
Having said all of that, it is important to note that no matter how brilliant a student is or how willing he is to learn, a lot of his learning will depend on the teacher. A teacher should be able to engage the students in a class, ensuring understanding and application of knowledge, concepts, and processes. By then, he/she will have a more influential impact on their learning curve.
Three questions you ask yourself and your students: how to study fast in less time? how to study fast in less time? how to study fast in less time?
Between 1896-1934, Lev Vygotsky, a renowned psychologist developed the zone of proximal development, a concept introduced to portray the difference between what a learner can do without help and what they can’t do. Over the years, educators have developed other teaching methodologies based on this concept like the Scaffolding Technique and Reciprocal teaching method to facilitate active faster learning in and outside the classroom:
How to study fast in less time? Try the Scaffolding Technique.
A lot of teachers are known to use the ‘scaffolding technique’ developed by Jerome Burner. In this technique, the adult guides the child’s learning via focused questions and positive interactions. In brief, learning is divided into chunks and a structure assigned to each chunk. Some of the scaffolding strategies teachers may use are:
- Show and tell
- Interactive sessions
- Tapping into prior knowledge
- Pre-teach vocabulary
- Use visual aids
- Pause – ask questions, pause-review
- Try something new
How to study fast in less time? Use Reciprocal Teaching.
An activity that takes the form of a dialogue between teachers and students regarding segments of text for the purpose of constructing the meaning of text. It is best represented as a dialogue between teacher and students in which participants take turns assuming the role of a teacher (Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar) This is most effective in small group collaborations.
How to study fast in less time? The flipped classroom method can be of help!
In this concept, the teaching methodology is learner-centered, in which topics are explored in greater depths and provides for more meaningful learning opportunities. This method also embraces technology to deliver content to students in a variety of ways thereby encouraging students to prepare outside of the classroom environment.
Here, the classroom activities re-define the learning environment as students get more engaged in the content through debates, experiments, discussions, peer-reviewing, project-based learning, skill development or concept practice. This type of an active classroom not only facilitates faster learning but also reinforces concepts more permanently.
Overall, Teachers, Parents and students need to form a symbiotic relationship in order to facilitate faster learning in the classroom and at home. Only then, will our children develop a strong passion for faster learning and answer the question, ‘how to study fast in less time’!