It is not surprising that when surveyed most students study by simply reading through books or notes over and over. This passive rereading gives them the illusion that they have learned the material, but in reality students are struggling with math and science because this type of “learning” does not allow them to apply the material/skills. Research has proven that students can retrain their brains. Here are some strategies that can help!
1) Preview: Look at the graphics, diagrams, photos, headings and summaries in the chapter before you actually read. This allows your brain to create little neural hooks once you actually read the chapter and make it easier to grasp the concepts.
2) Review: Look over the lessons before solving the homework problems.
3) Teach: Teach the material to a peer.
4) Manage Time: Figuring out a difficult problem or learning a new concept always requires one or more periods when you aren’t consciously working on the problem so you need time to take a break and reflect, ie not procrastinating.
5) Chunking: Create chunks, or pieces of information that are bound together through meaning. Once you chunk an idea you don’t need to remember all the little underlying details.
Steps to create chunk:
1) Look for key features when you see a sample problem with a worked out solution. Focus your attention on the information you want to chunk
2) Understand the basic idea you are trying to chunk
3) Decide when you would want to use the chunk .
4) Practice math and science problems in a variety of situations helps build chunks.
6) Recall: Attempt to “Recall” the material rather than simply rereading
7) Interleave: Practice by doing a mixture of different kinds or problems requiring different strategies instead of doing one type of problem over and over. This may seem more difficult, but in reality it helps you learn more deeply.
8) Use Mnemonics or the Memory Palace Technique- pair things you want to remember with a familiar place such as your house and use it as a sort of visual notepad where you can deposit concept images. You can also use mnemonics or memorable sentences to help memorize concepts where the first letter of each word in the sentences is also the first letter of each word in a list that needs to be memorized.
9) Create: Create a metaphor or analogy that is visual. Metaphors are useful because you can make a connection to a neural structure that is already there.
10) Write: Writing also appears to help you deeply encode what you are trying to learn by convert.