Are you sick and tired of reading and forgetting them all, the next day? Maybe you’ve already given up! Probably, you’ve declared right away, “To hell with studies for all I care!” Or “I’m not brilliant enough!” Perhaps you’re yet to proclaim any of these, but the truth remains that you are not happy, your academic performance is incredibly at stake and based on that, you feel downcast and incompetent among peers. Ever wonder why?

The problem is that you aren’t using the right approach to study. But, don’t you worry about that; It’s finally here, right here at your fingertips. So, before the end of this piece, you’ll discover various strategies to help you retain and then to trash forgetfulness into the lagoon.

Few years back in high school, I also faced a similar challenge. I had to struggle with virtually all my subjects. I’m a voracious reader. Over five hours, I can spend on a particular topic tirelessly reading. At the end of my studies, I feel so much excitement and well-read. But, unfortunately, next day or two, I forget almost every bit of the information. That was the most despondent moment of my academic life.

That got me weary and same time, searching, asking and adjusting until finally, I hooked up with these outstanding step-by-step approaches to effective study, which eventually changed my life.  Therefore, I’m so glad to share with you, those strategies right here and now! Let’s get started.


Studies indicate that mental exercises, to be precise, help the brain retain larger range of information for a longer period. Spend at least 20 minutes on mental exercise before study. The mental exercise can be meditation or yoga where total calmness and relaxation of the mind is maintained. It can as well be brainstorming, solving difficult puzzles or word problems. The whole essence is to get the mind relaxed and focused. When the mind is relaxed and focused, then the brain can assimilate and retain more effectively.


Social networks such as facebook, twitter, and so many others, are the major source of distraction for 21st century teens. According to some psychological facts, the ability to retain new and vital information is almost impossible when the mind is distracted. Therefore, it is advisable to turn off all electronic devices—phones, tablets, ipads, laptops, e.t.c—before study. Forget about your numerous “tweets” and “beeps,” you’ll get back to them afterwards.


SQ3R is a reading strategy developed by Francis Pleasure Robinson in his 1946 book, “Effective Study.” Robinson adopted SQ3R to boost students’ ability to retain information for a longer period. Therefore, SQ3R is an acronym for: Survey; Question; Read; Recall; Review.


The usual student-tradition is: open up a text and begin to read straight to the end. This is one of the reasons our brain battles to retain those information. A straight-away-reading is not an effective study skill. First job when you open up a text is survey. That is, browse through the entire chapter you hope to study at that moment. Identify the topics and subtopics in that particular chapter. Also note every highlighted words and phrases (most highlighted words and phrases appear in italics while others are boldly printed). Survey the summaries and the exercises. The whole essence of survey is to prepare your mind on what it’s expected to know before the study ends.


After survey, ask questions. Write out some basic questions you expect to answer by the time you’re done. Also, pen out some of the questions written at the end of that chapter. Try giving an answer to these textbook-questions, but in case you can’t answer any at the moment, don’t panic. keep it aside.  However, have it in mind to provide the correct answer before the end of study. Note: questions outline the core purpose of your study. It’s, however, these questions that determine whether you’ve acquired the required information at the end.


Read mindfully, paying attention to important details. This is quite different from survey. In survey, you read quickly mindless of certain words and phrases, but reading pays close attention to every details including “new” words and phrases. You read to digest. The best approach is to take note; jot down basic information! The more you jot, the longer it sticks. If you don’t jot, the whole reading is wasted. So, note-taking very important to effective reading. The goal is to get it painted in the brain.


After every 45 minutes, take a break. Let’s say 5 minutes-break. Studies show that few minutes break after 45-50 minutes reading give the brain-memory more room to access and process information. Spend the 5 minutes on some other activities. It could be to score a song, play game, gist with a friend etc. but hey! don’t turn on device.

After the 5minute break, task the brain. This is the “recall” process.  Go over the questions you had written earlier and provide answers to them. You might not necessarily answer all correctly, but just measure your progress by attempting. Then, see if you need to read over again. Focus on the passage that provide answers to that particular question. Also, voice out loud those things you learnt from that chapter. The more you chant them; the better they stick.


Teaching! Just walk up to a friend and volunteer to teach him/her, or you can stand in front of the board at your free period and share your newly acquired knowledge with classmates. However, in case you’re shy or rather uncomfortable with that, you can gather up toys, heap of books or any kind of inanimate objects, make them students and then teach. The purpose is to get it fixed and easy to remember.


Another way to recall is by diagrams and related video games. By diagram, create a mind-picture of what you’ve learnt. It can as well be done on paper. We assume the topic studied is family. Sketch out a diagram to represent different types of family, members and roles of each member of the family. Further, visit sites such as youtube et al. Download video games related to “family” and play.

Finally, REVIEW! Every day or two, go through the note taken during the reading process. The more you review, the better the information get fixed.

Repeat the SQ3R over again if you need to. If, however, you judiciously follow these strategy for five “good” times without any positive change, buzz my inbox

Beatrice Faith


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