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Struggling to study? Tips for becoming a better learner

Posted on 05/06/2019 by

Studying doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but like every skill, it can be learned.

Many people struggle to study. Everyone learns in different ways and at a different pace, and it’s okay to find studying hard.

The important thing to remember is: you can learn how to become a better learner.

Like anything, studying is a skill. With some practice, healthy habits, and a good dose of motivation, you can improve your ability to study.

At least, that’s what a professor from Oakland University in Michigan recently spoke about in an interview with NZ publication Education Central.

According to Professor Barbara Oakley, one of the best things that can help students who struggle to study is to understand how their brain works.

Some people have a strong working memory that allows them to learn lots of things quickly, while other people can’t retain information as easily and need to employ other memory techniques to learn.

Professor Oakley says she’s saddened when she sees students give up on themselves.

“It’s just because they don’t understand how their brain works. They don’t realise that if they don’t grab it quickly, they can still learn it very well and sometimes even more deeply.”

In other words: learning quickly doesn’t make you a better learner. It’s just the way your brain is wired. Even if something takes you a long time to learn, it doesn’t mean you’re not a ‘good student’.

Professor Oakley has a few tips for people who struggle to study.

  • Be creative. “If your brain isn’t naturally geared – you can be more creative!”
  • Take breaks.Even a few minutes of break can really be helpful for students.”
  • Study often. “For example what happens when you learn something with your teacher but you don’t practice it for another two weeks? Well, your little synaptic janitor comes and sweeps away some of the connections! And that’s why you can’t understand when you are looking at it again.”
  • Don’t give up. “Persistence is key.”


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