Studying is something is not the easiest thing to do for most students and we all have to do it at one point or another. Having been a student myself, I sympathize with students that find it hard to remember what exactly the read.
This article will therefore take you through why most students find it hard to remember anything after studying. The first section of this post covers why you may find it hard to recall information and the second part of this post will cover how you can study more effectively and recall information with less difficulty.
With that said, let’s get into:
Why you may find it hard to remember anything after studying:
One of the reasons why you could find it difficult to remember anything you read is Information overload. Information overload is when you flood your mind with too much information that it makes it difficult for your brain to remember any of it.
This is why it’s more effective to read only as much as your brain can take. Avoid consuming a lot of information in short span of time because you will not recall all of it. Also avoid studying for exams last minute because that the number one cause of information overload.
High stress makes your brain panic and this makes it not operate to the fullest of its ability that is why people under stress find it very difficult to be productive or functional enough to utilize their mind at full capacity.
This is one of the reasons why students with high stress levels find it difficult to remember everything they read and perform well in school.
It’s therefore a good ideal to accept that you have exams coming up and study so that you avoid any stress that may come from thinking about it too much. Furthermore, studying last minute can cause a lot of stress for the mind because you have to learn and consume a lot of information in short span of time, recall it and make it usable in your exam.
Having not learnt
Learning is a complex process that requires a lot of effort on your part in order for it to work. One of the reasons why most people find it hard to remember anything they studied is because they didn’t really learn anything.
They may have sat down to try and comprehend what they had to, but ended up not studying well enough to recall anything. It’s important that you study and learn otherwise you will not remember anything.
Luck for you, I have a list of studying techniques below that will help you read better so keep reading.
Boredom and laziness when studying can mean denying yourself the ability to recall anything. In times of boredom, your mind is distracted and most of the reading or studying you do is likely going to be forgotten if no effort is made to cement it in the mind.
Studying while being constantly distracted means low concentration and the after effects of not being focused as you study result in failure to remember anything. In this day and age it is so easy to be distracted that is why most students find it hard to concentrate on studying without being distracted every 5 minutes.
Little or no revision
If you do not revise what you study, you will not recall what you study. Most students make the mistake of thinking they need only study something once and they’ll recall if for the coming years of their lives. But this is not the case. Information has to be drilled into your mind if you want it to stick. You can’t study something once and expect to recall it forever.
There may be exceptions of course, but very few.
With that said, if you find yourself not remembering what you read then you should consider revising a lot more.
Lack of research
Some students are complacent in their studies that they barely research topics to understand them better. Knowledge takes time to become a part of you and researching about a subject or topic is a great way to become more acquainted and attached to the answers you find.
Never underestimate the power of research because it can change the way you approach exam questions. Not only this, your understanding deepens when you take time to thoroughly research a topic.
Lack of interest
If you have no interest in the material you’re studying don’t expect to recall it very easily. This is the reason why I advise students to not have favorite courses or subjects, because in my opinion you’re better off loving everything.
Having interest in your courses or subjects allows you to give them almost the same conviction and attention.
Lack of collaboration
Most people struggle to recall what they read because they don’t take the time to collaborate with others and learn more from them. I’m not saying reading alone isn’t effective, I’m saying sometimes you need the intellectual support of others to get past certain difficult topics.
Students that don’t leverage the knowledge of their peers may find it hard to recall everything they studied whilst students that get involved with other students to tackle studies together always have a better chance of remembering what they had studied.
For some people, not being able to recall what they studied isn’t their fault at all. Some people suffer from conditions that make it hard for them to call upon their memory with ease. Therefore, it’s wise to be aware of your medical history so you know if there’s anything that would affect your comprehension and learning abilities.
How to study to remember everything
Read over several weeks
Information, especially bulky information should be studied over several weeks if you want to remember a majority of it. Like I earlier mentioned, information overload is the reason why most students aren’t able to recall what they study. Therefore, it’s better to consume information over a long period of time rather than try to consume it all in one sitting and expect to recall it.
Revisit what you studied
Revisit what you study as much as possible because while your mind can recall what you studied 5 minutes ago, it probably won’t remember more than 60% of what you studied an hour ago.
Make sure you can access all the material you studied by taking note of it so you can revisit it as much as possible.
Revisit class notes
If you’re a student, I recommend that you take notes during your lectures as much possible because tutors and lectures usually dumb down information so it can be easily received and understood by even the most average student.
This makes class notes an invaluable tool that you should revisit and work with as you study for a test or exam.
This point will feel like repetition but I can’t just move to the next point without touching upon it. With that said, make sure you re-read or re-study as much as possible because believe me, you’ll find something you had missed in your first reading.
Use different sources for info
To remember everything you study, you have to research topics as much as possible to understand them deeper than the surface level.
Use google to your advantage, type in the topic and find any books, articles or blogs surrounding that topic and dive in. I assure you, your understanding will go from 0 to 100.
Environmental memory association
You should get familiar with the room in which you’ll be writing your exam in. If you’re allowed, spend some time studying in the room you’ll be writing your exam as this will help you associate the topic or course to that room.
This will help your ability to remember what you read because your mind will associate it with that room.
Study without music
Don’t get me wrong, studying with music is okay but it can make it hard for you to concentrate when it’s time to remember what you studied. Furthermore, you won’t have music in the exam room so you’ll have to recall things without any mental stimulation that music may have provided for you.
Connect information you read
Everything in any given field is connected and one of the pre-requisites to understanding topics or fields is finding these connections. Think of a course or subject as a puzzle whose pieces are the various topics that make it whole.
The more you’re able to connect information you study the more you can remember aspects and their connections with much ease.
Get enough rest
Rest as much as you can before exams to alleviate stress and keep your brain free.
Don’t neglect the importance of rest in everything you do.
Get acquainted with the mode of questioning
One of the other reasons why students find it hard to recall information that they study is because they don’t plan for the questions that they’re to encounter but only prepare for the answers they will provide. This is the wrong way of looking at things because to answer questions adequately, one needs to understand the questions thoroughly.
So don’t neglect reviewing past questions and papers, it is also particularly wise to research questions from other sources to get an understanding of what the key information is.
Note down your learning in your own words
Note taking is effective for any sort of study session, however note taking should only consist of what you learn interpreted in your own words. Students have a tendency of writing down what they read word for word, this leads me to my next point.
DO NOT MEMORISE
At all cost, do not memorize but study to understand. Memorization won’t help you when there’s a lot of information to consume and recall at will. Therefore take the time to study and learn to be able to apply what you read. You need to be able to form your analogies based on your understanding of the relevant topic; unless of course the information you’re studying is too precise to be expressed in other way than it is.
Use the spacing effect
It’s also wise to use the spacing effect when studying as this will help you get a lead on where your head is at. The spacing simply refers to reading something the moment you forget it. Doing this helps you quickly remember and be able to hold on to that information for longer.
A pro tip is to keep track of how much time passes before you forget so you know exactly when to revise before an exam.
You need to develop the ability to summarize information as you study it. If you can compress knowledge down to a few sentences, it means you have the foundation. If you know the foundation or understand the basics well enough, you’ll have no problem recalling any information.
Recognize the authors thought process
One effective way to study is not just by reading everything and bringing it into your understanding, it Is also about reviewing the writers thought process and coming to terms with how they think about things, how they organize their thought process and how they finally draw conclusions about the topic.
This may seem unimportant but it makes a huge difference because you essentially engage your analytical and logical mind into assessing the thought process of another which deepens your understanding of the topic.
Verbally recite what you read
Think of yourself like a teacher as you study any material and find some alone time to verbally go over what you study because this will help you retain information easily. They say you only know a topic if you can teach it. With that said, understanding something fundamentally usually means being able verbally express it clearly enough for toddlers to understand.
Consult your teachers
Also remember to consult those that teach you because some knowledge only they can give you. Therefore, it’s wise to keep in contact with your teachers and develop a relationship with them so they can help you easily.