While we covered some of the most effective study hacks backed by science. There are more fun and unconventional methods you can try out too.
5) Spray An Unfamiliar Scent
Smells have an incredibly remarkable power to invoke memories. For example, the smell of fresh sea air may take us back instantly to a childhood memory of playing by the beach. Thus, utilizing the association between our sense of smell and memory, the trick is to spray a unique scent while studying.
Spray some light perfume, use essential oils or burn scented candles, so long as the scent isn’t common or overwhelming. Then just before your test, spray the same smell again. Theoretically, this should help boost your ability to retrieve the memory. One research found studying with rosemary increased student’s performance on memory test compared to controls.
4) Eat Gummy Bears!
This little study hack is known as “The Gummy Bear Incentive“. The way to do it is to leave a trail of gummy bears on key parts of your textbook or notebook. Then, read the point or paragraph out loud, try to memorize it and if you do give yourself a gummy bear!
Hence the underlying idea behind this is one of motivation. The gummy bears act as a reward system to incentivize you to complete your task, get that sweet treat and move on to the next one! It keeps things engaging and gives you a sense of progression.
Of course, you don’t have to just use gummy bears, any little snack, sweet or treat like a piece of chocolate would do. Make it something you like! However, ideally it would a little chewy, so you have time before you move on to the next one. This might be a good trick to help you remember things but don’t over do it and get diabetes!
3) Study With Music
Studying with music has a number of benefits. For one, music is a great stimulant for the mind. The changing pace keeps things from being static. It gets you engaged and attentive. Studying with music also makes things more relaxing.
However, just any music won’t do. Songs that are too complex and fast paced such as rock and roll or EDM can be too distracting or overwhelming. The same can be said about music with lyrics too. Thus, it is recommended that you play instrumental music whether it’s classical, jazz, low-fi beats or acoustic guitar, at a low to mid-low volume. Basically background music that you personally find engaging.
Of course, this isn’t for everyone as some people prefer complete peace and silence. For more details on the best way to study with music, read our article on it.
2) Laugh At It
Obviously, studying is not exactly the most funny activity but we’re being entirely serious when we recommend you add some humor to your study session. Studies show laughter really is the best medicine even when learning. It is hypothesized that laughter helps learning because the dopamine released enhances retention. But it could also be other factors such as motivation and mood. Obviously, humor makes us feel better and we learn better when we’re in a better mood.
However, the content needs to be related to what you’re studying. If you’re studying statistics make statistic jokes. So, turn your study material into a joke, memorize things in a funny or weird way and use your imagination to visualize something silly like two angry atoms being forced to bond together. Obviously, this is not gonna be easy but they key hear is to not take everything too seriously. Try to approach your material in a more fun way. Thus, if you don’t go into studying mode with a mean spirit and you’ll get above average results! (It’s a statistic joke, get it? get it? Get it?)
1) Strike A Power Pose
In one of the most watched TED Talks ever, social psychologist Amy Cuddy posited that striking power poses, expansive posture that are done in one to two minutes, has a significant increase in your ‘feelings of power’ and performance. It found that these “power poses” increased the subjects’ testosterone levels and lowered cortisol (the stress hormone). An example of a power pose would be ‘The Wonder Woman’ where you stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, hands on your hips and tilt your chin up.
While the research has now come under much scrutiny, especially it’s effects on hormones. It seems like it does make people feel more confident and that is the key here. Having higher confidence is correlated with better learning and academic performance.
It’s all about body language and posture. In one study, it was found that students who slouched performed worse on a test than students who sat upright. It was found slouching made students feel more powerless and anxious. So, if striking a power pose seems silly or ineffective to you, just sit up straight and study with confidence.