Four videos from the Library with tips and techniques for studyingSubject: Multidisciplinary07/09/23
These short videos explain how to enhance your concentration, avoid putting things off and improve your memory
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You can find Academic Video Online on the Library website, and it a series of short episodes lasting less than 10 minutes each. They offer tools and guidelines to help you with your study habits.
The videos are available in English, and you can enable subtitles in Spanish. The main ideas are as follows:
This video talks about three factors that you can use to boost your motivation and avoid putting off what you need to do. Based on this theory, it offers a series of tips:
- Break tasks down into subtasks that are smaller and more manageable. This means you won't become discouraged, and gives you a clearer view of the steps you need to take and the time you need to invest in them. For example, when writing an academic article, the work could be divided into an initial research phase, a section-by-section writing phase (introduction, discussion, conclusion, etc.) and a final editing phase.
- Boost your studying with a few small changes. Try changing your workspace to a more pleasant one, find a good playlist of background music, or try including gamification tools in your study routine. For example, the video suggests Habitica, a free app that awards you points as you complete your tasks.
- Prioritize the most difficult parts of the syllabus: start with the longest and most complicated tasks before moving on to the rest. You can use the Pomodoro technique: break your work down into 25-minute periods, with short five-minute breaks between them. Use a timer to keep an eye on the time, or a tool like tomatotimers.com.
Focus and concentration
After an introduction to the concept of concentration and the factors that affect it, the video offers some guidelines:
- Avoid multitasking: focus on one task at a time for at least 20-30 minutes before moving on to a new task.
- Create a specific space for studying and avoid everything that you don't need such as your phone, or having browser tabs open. There are tools designed to block websites and help you focus. The video recommends Cold Turkey and StayFocusd.
- Plan regular breaks during your day. Alternate small breaks and set time aside for a longer one. Avoid getting involved in other tasks during this break that make it difficult to go back to the original task.
- Take care of your brain's biological needs: make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep a night, eat healthily, and exercise regularly. These factors affect your ability to concentrate and your cognitive performance.
This episode looks at the different types of memory that the brain uses to store information and turn it into memories. Here are some tips to help you improve your long-term memory:
- Space out your study and revision over the longest possible time.
- Use mnemonic techniques. Associate details or concepts with phrases, images, stories or specific examples that allow you to remember them more easily.
- Plan revision sessions during your day of study. Ask yourself questions, and try to explain the concepts without referring to your notes. The video also looks at the Leitner system, which uses numbered boxes and cards and is designed to prioritize the concepts that you don't tend to remember. You could apply it with free online tools such as Anki and Quizlet.
This series of videos introduces some techniques to help you remember things.
- The method of loci, to associate images with the content you want to remember. In this case you have to imagine a visual location (a house) with specific places (rooms) where you keep the information.
- Use acronyms: create new words to remember a list of items by linking up the initial of each one.
- Associate the content with an image: imagine a picture that represents the concepts or key words you want to memorize, or create a story based on the syllabus.
See this page of the Library for more information.