We live in the days of pandemic with stress mounting on students as they have stayed 'out of school' for most part of the academic year so far. Due to limited interactions with teachers and exam time approaching, students need to chart a study plan for themselves to maximise their scores and learn effectively.
HOwever, there is no ‘one plan that fits all’ as every student has its own ability and sleep-wake cycles, so they need to realise that copying their best friend’s timetable probably will not work. So, to design an optimum study plan, student must identify their most active brain period (MABP) i.e. the time of the day their brain grasps concepts most efficiently. For some, it may be in early morning and for others maybe afternoon or late night.
Now they need to devise a plan to maximise their efficiency during this period, they must have proper sleep (at least 8 hours a day), proper food and proper exercise so that they do not feel sleepy, hungry or tired during this most valuable time of the day. For eg If I am an early morning learner, I would make sure that I have had enough sleep last night and a glass of milk and 5-minute body stretching before I start studying.
Just having timetable will not be called a proper study plan. Students must also learn to distribute time between various subjects. We can always divide subjects into two categories – one that requires learning (biology, social science, business studies, psychology, organic chemistry, etc) and others which require mathematical ability (maths, physics, accounts, physical chemistry, etc).
So the trick to effective learning is to surprise your brain and train it in this process. The most common mistake that I have seen students make over the years is to try to achieve perfection at once. They try to complete one whole chapter or one whole book overnight! This idea may even be counterproductive. Why? Because this is creating a monotony for their brain. They may be able to complete what they had planned but their brain will barely remember the details after a week or so.
Even if you have the will power to complete whole book or chapter at once, it is always better to take up a learning subject with a mathematical subject alternatively. For example- 2 hours of biology/social science followed by 2 hours of physics/maths. In this way, you are keeping your brain from getting bored.
Another technique which is especially important to master is the ‘technique of recollection’. Suppose at 9 am I had studied Indian history or digestive system or some reactions of organic chemistry, now I need to recollect at say 11am, asking myself what I learned without looking at book or notes. I will repeat this activity at least 3 or 4 times in a day. If any time I feel I am forgetting something, I will take a quick look at the book and then learn it then and there. By recollecting time and again, we transfer the information from our short-term memory to long term memory.
In the end, I would like to stress again that no friend or teacher can make an effective study plan. A study plan will be best made by students themselves keeping in my mind their sleeping patterns, diet, exercise, subject management, and study techniques.
The writer is Former Asst. Professor Founder, Proscience.in
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