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    Learning to Learn: Our Top 7 Study Techniques

    We love learning. In fact, we love it so much that we partnered with learning experts to help us understand the best tactics you should use to make your study session more efficient and effective. Here is a recap of some of our top study techniques and how to make the most of them:

    1. Practice active note-taking. In other words, don’t be a desk potato! Active learning techniques force you to retrieve information from memory. Rather than highlighting text, draw a concept map. Rather than writing down lecture text verbatim, jot down marginal notes in the form of questions.
    2. Self-test frequently. “Test” is a four-letter word we should all use more often. Also known as “retrieval practice,” self-testing helps move knowledge from short-term to long-term memory. When you test yourself on a topic, it helps you remember up to 50% more than you would with re-reading alone.
    3. Practice spaced repetition. Who knew that being a space cadet could help with learning? When you space out the intervals of time between study sessions, you may have to work harder to remember facts, but they will stick with you longer. Studies have shown that review is most effective at the point of forgetting.
    4. Mix it up. Being mixed up isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We recommend a technique called “interleaving”—a fancy word for studying a few things at a time, rather than just one. Working together with spaced repetition, interleaving can help you perform up to 76% better on your exam.
    5. Develop associations. Unlike computers, our brains don’t file every fact for instant retrieval. Instead, human brains like to connect the dots. If we want to remember what we learn, we must connect what we are learning with something we already know.
    6. Vary your environment. We used to hear a lot about finding your ideal study environment and sticking to it. Well, forget everything you heard. The latest research indicates that changing your study environment creates additional context that aids in learning.
    7. Sleep after learning. We all know it’s smart to get a good night’s sleep before an important exam, but did you know that getting sleep after we learn something new helps us understand and remember it better? So now, you have a good excuse to do what’s best for you anyway!

    Want a study approach that puts these techniques together? Our MedStudy Method incorporates active learning strategies in a 3-phased approach.

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