Study Myth #1: Exercise is a waste of time when studying.
DEBUNKED! Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that physical movement has actually been proven to increase brain tissue volume. Physical activity and higher aerobic fitness have been proven to augment basic cognitive functions that aid in the learning process, especially those related to attention and memory. Studies also show that students who exercise exhibit better working memories, along with improved information processing, storage, retrieval, and organization. So when it comes to studying, get moving!
Study Myth #2: It is okay to pull an “all-nighter” before an exam to get in more study time.
DEBUNKED! Learning and memory may be described in terms of three functions: acquisition, consolidation, and recall. While acquisition (introduction of new information into the brain) and consolidation (processes by which a memory becomes stable) occur when you are awake, consolidation is believed to occur when you are asleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep deprivation causes inability to concentrate the next day, impaired memory and physical performance, and reduced ability to perform math calculations. Although cramming is better than not studying at all, it is usually only necessary when a student lacks experience or discipline in the area of time management. Learn to manage your study time. Allocate it appropriately; resist the urge to procrastinate. Study smart. Studying smart includes getting sufficient sleep on a daily basis. Catch some Z’s to get A’s and B’s!
Study Myth #3: Re-reading my notes or the textbook is enough to learn the material.
DEBUNKED! Simply reading is not enough when it comes to retaining information. Use the SQ3R method:
- Survey—Survey the chapter and your teacher-made study guides before you read the assigned material.
- Question—Turn titles, headings, and subheadings into questions. Read the questions contained in and at the end of the text.
- Read—Look for the answers to the questions as you read. Note all emphasized words and phrases (bold, italicized, or underlined text).
- Recite—Say the most important information you read. The more senses you use when studying, the more likely you are to remember what you read. When you read and recite, you see, say, and hear!
- Review—Go back over your notes, answers to the study questions, highlighted information, charts, graphs, and illustrations. Ask yourself questions and recite the answers (orally and/or in writing). This is an ongoing process.
Study Myth #4: Drinking energy drinks will help me study better because I will have more energy.
DEBUNKED! Any mood or energy elevation gained from drinking energy drinks will fade, causing you to crash and feel as tired as you did before you drank it, even more so. Kaplan Test Prep recommends the following healthy study drink options:
- Water—Dehydration leads to fatigue. Water is one of the best beverages to consume while studying.
- Milk—It excites your neurons and improves your memory.
- Fruit and vegetable juices—These juices supply antioxidants and nutrients required for proper brain function.