When you’re learning new material, it can be overwhelming when you think about how much time you need to truly understand it all. This studying technique can help you stay focused and take on more information with shorter study sessions.

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Focus on chunked sessions

Your ability to retain information diminishes after about 25-30 minutes, so break it up into multiple, smaller sessions. Reward yourself with fun activities during your breaks.

Have a Dedicated study area

Don’t study where you do anything else. Don’t do it in your bed, where you play games (even if it’s your computer), or in front of the TV. Having a dedicated place for a particular type of work associated with the brain to initiate the corresponding thing as you begin. It’s a rhythm.

Know the difference between recognition and recollection

Recognition requires a trigger for you to remember something and you may not get that on a test. Study actively with a focus on recollection. Quiz yourself and don’t just glance over-highlighted notes.

Take good notes

Find a note-taking method that works for you and expand on them after your class lecture to increase retention and understanding.

Be ready to teach what you’ve learned

If you can teach it to someone else, you have a solid grasp of the material. Be it a video online, offline cousin, friend or classmate.

Read textbooks effectively

Use the SQR3 Method—survey, question, read, recite, review—to actively retain information. Just reading it is not enough.

Learn into categories

Lastly, divide everything you learn into two categories: facts and concepts. Facts are things that can fall out of your brain and you may need to come up with a mnemonic device in order to learn them. Concepts are the glue that holds an entire big picture together, making them the most important part of learning. Concepts are why you’re studying something, to begin with, and, once you learn them, they stick with you. Stop wasting hours studying at only a third of the pace you could be going and study smart.

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