REREADING, outlining, and highlighting. These are considered the most popular study methods. However, they may not guarantee effectiveness if they are not utilized efficiently.

Award-winning and admired science correspondent David Robson, who is a senior journalist for BBC Future, former features editor for New Scientist and specializes in the extremes of the human brain, body and behavior; together with the Benilde Well-Being Center of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, shares several important points to consider in study sessions.

Published in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Aeon and Men’s Health, Robson listed down these tried-and-tested memory hacks for students:

1. Rereading. It helps with the basic grasp of concepts. Instead of reviewing continuously, return to the material at regular intervals. Revisit the text after an hour, a day, or a week. Question your understanding. This will increase mental engagement as it focuses attention to the parts you do and do not know.

2. Outlining. Take a bird’s eye-view of the course. A structured overview of the key points allows for easier recognition of the connections. Start your session with a skeletal outline. Fill in the notes as you progress. Focus on the structure of the argument. Immerse yourself in that deeper learning.

3. Underlining and highlighting. The methods enable the absorption of details. They guide in identifying the most important parts. Remember to pause and think, instead of aimlessly marking up everything. After reading the paragraph, select and highlight relevant sections on the second pass. Carefully deliberate each point and its relative significance to the topic. Active processing is key to develop stronger memories.

4. Note-taking. The inclination to include everything can easily become a vice. Always be concise. Recall is easier with shorter sentences. Summarizing and paraphrasing cement them in your memory. Use a pen and paper instead of a laptop. It takes more time, and forces you to be more brief in what you write.

5. Flash cards. Self-testing or retrieval practice is proven to be one of the most reliable learning strategies. But overconfidence may be a problem. Remembering keywords in a snap does not mean they may no longer slip your mind. Continue to test yourself long after you recall the correct answer.

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