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The Science to Studying

Finding the perfect study formula can be difficult, it varies depending on what course you are studying, how you best absorb information and how well you've planned your study around your life.

We've heard our share of old-wives tales on achieving the perfect study methods and in the spirit of National Science Week we've decided to bust a few of these myths to help you find an approach that works for you.

Studying when your sleepy is a no-no… 

Science disagrees! In fact you will retain more information by doing a few minutes of reading before bed. During sleep the brain strengthens new memory, giving you a better chance of retaining all those facts and figures. To help reinforce your memory even more, read over the same course work first thing in the morning when your brain is fresh and stress free after a good night sleep.

Prioritise study over footy-training…

It may seem like you are making the right call by putting your homework before working out. However, scientific research has found that half an hour of aerobic exercise can improve our brain-processing speed and other important cognitive abilities. Best to skip the post-training bistro though… Those books aren't going to study themselves.

Push through a study slump…

You may feel that persevering through ‘study block' is more productive than not studying at all but you'd be wrong. Science says "have a break" clear your head by taking a walk in the fresh air or having a cup of coffee (Note: a productive break does not mean an hour of telly and cat memes). Breaking your concentration with a non-screen activity will help relax your brain allowing you to refocus on round two.

No sleeping on the job…

As exciting as homework can be, you may find yourself resisting the land-of-nod mid equation… Science says take a nanna-nap! All-nighters don't tend to lead to straight ‘A's; if you find that you are cramming your study into 3 days before an exam your brain is going to be far more sensitive to stress factors than a well-rested brain. In fact, the week before an exam you should aim to get at least 7-9 hours of shut eye a night to help your memory retain info (see point one).

What study methods have you found work best for you? Share your tips in the comments below.