Ever heard of a little thing called ergonomics? Ergonomics is defined as ‘the study of people’s efficiency in their work environment’, meaning that making small adjustments to your environment can help enormously when studying. We decided to undertake some scientific research (and at the library you know how much we loooove research!) and put together some tips that will get you on your way to studying like a pro.
Actually, it takes a lot more than just reading a book!
At this week’s Study+ sessions, we started off the year on a studious note with some interesting tips on how to create and foster an A+ studying environment.
Tired after the swimming carnival, but still eager to learn!
Before you even crack open that enormous science textbook, let’s set up your space.
- Don’t get too comfortable! Think about how you’re feeling: if you’re a little tired, studying in that comfy armchair or your bed probably isn’t the best decision. Being alert and focused is the best way to retain information.
- Get a green view : looking out at greenery or an open space is more beneficial for your learning than sitting in front of a blank wall. Plonk yourself in front of a window or facade, and feel nature’s energy flow through you!
3. Study in different environments : a 2016 study from the University of Illinois discovered students who studied the same material in different spaces retained the information better than those who solely studied in one spot. It also found that students recover better from stress.
4. Block all distracting sites or apps on your phone and computer : this is a no-brainer folks. Distractions are distracting! Focus all your attention on the task at hand, and you will actually need less time to get it done. The more distracted you are, the longer you’ll take to retain the information.
5. The Mozart Effect : Research suggests that listening to peaceful, harmonious music (such as classical music) improves mental performance. If you’re not down with the classics, other research suggests that listening to unfamiliar music can increase your focus.
6. Too little (and too much) sleep ruins your memory : if you’re sleeping fewer than 5 hours or more than 9 hours a night, this could be affecting your noggin. A study on women spanning from 1986-2000 showed that those who slept too much or too little had worse results on a brain test. This has also been tested in mice; sleep-deprived mice have a build up of the beta amyloid protein in their brains, a protein that in humans is linked to a decline in memory and thinking. So think of your brain and get an average night’s sleep!
(These are your friends pulling you to class after you didn’t get a good night’s sleep)
7. Studying on a computer? Times New Roman is the fastest font to read.
8. Cross lateral movement can improve your learning : This is not a demonstration of fitness, but rather some movements you can do that will activate your corpus callosum, where 200 million nerve fibers connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This exercise involves opposite sides of the body working together, firing up these nerve fibres, and actually improves brain function.
As LiveStrong.com explains, “any movement in which an arm or leg crosses to the opposite side of the body is a cross-lateral exercise. Examples would be marching or skipping while tapping a hand to the opposite knee when it is raised, alternating toe touches where you touch the opposite side toes when you bend forward, or raising your heel behind you when you are walking so your opposite hand can reach behind you to touch it. Even dancing can be a cross-lateral exercise.”
Now you are equipped with all the tips and tricks of creating the ideal study environment. You’ll be amazed how much little changes like these can improve your learning. Comment below with what works for you – maybe someone else can try it and improve their study!