Maintaining high levels of motivation during study sessions is often a struggle; however, backed up by neuroscience, a few study tips could provide a helpful hand. These approaches are grounded in a deep comprehension of brain function, utilizing this understanding to enhance both learning effectiveness and the drive to continue studying.
Set Clear and specific goals
Setting specific goals helps in focusing cognitive resources. The brain is good at processing directed and well-defined tasks, and specific goals provide a clear direction for cognitive efforts. This could be aiming for a certain grade on a test or learning a concept thoroughly because of its real-world application.
On that note, this article might better explain why trying to multitask is not the best approach when studying: Are we really good at multitasking?
Utilize Recall Techniques
Instead of simply re-reading notes, use active recall methods. This involves pausing periodically during your study sessions to recall and write down key points from memory. This method strengthens memory retention and is more effective than passive reading or repetitive note review. For example, after attending a lecture or reading a chapter, take a moment to write down the main points without looking at your notes. This signals to the brain that the information is important and shouldn’t be forgotten. And speaking of notes, there’s a whole art of taking them!
Keep in mind (😊) that since neuronal connections are well established in adults, the acquisition of new knowledge and skills will result from the development of new neural networks. This progressive process requires the information to be integrated to be repeated – ideally in a varied and challenging way.
Find pleasure in studying
I know it might feel counterintuitive. However, dopamine, a key neurotransmitter in the brain, plays a significant role in motivation. It’s involved in reward-seeking behaviour and is released in response to anticipated pleasure. This means that by visualizing the completion of a study session or project and the satisfaction that comes with it, you can naturally increase your dopamine levels and, consequently, your motivation to study.
By incorporating these neuroscience-backed techniques into your study habits, you can improve your motivation and the effectiveness of your learning process. And if you feel like exploring more, check our article on 3 things to avoid while studying!