There are a lot of tips and posts out there that tell you all about how you can get the most result by paying the least effort. But do they really work? Does success really come without hard work? The answer is no. Every success requires you to put effort into it and work towards your goals. After you have set your goals, you will need to make actionable plans to achieve it. I am not here to tell you about how you should study very hard and put all your time into studying in order to succeed. That’s definitely not realistic, and it’s indeed not the best way to achieve a good result. I am here to tell you how you can use your study time wisely and effectively so that studying feels less dreadful and difficult. And this can all be done by developing a good study routine. This study routine is also exactly how it got me from an average student to one of the top students in high school. It has continuously helped me as I got into college. Not only does this method allows me to improve my grades, I am also able to take up more commitments and participate in all kinds of activities that I am interested in.
This post is going to tell you all about:
- The science behind the forgetting curve and how you can overcome it
- The 1-7-30 study routine method
- Why you should study regularly
- How you should do your daily, weekly and monthly review.
The Forgetting Curve
The ability of your brain to retain the information you have memorized reduce over time. That means that information doesn’t just stay in your brain after you study it once. You will have to revise it regularly so that it stays in your mind.
The curve is exponential – meaning that you will lose the information rapidly in the first days after memorization, and the memory loss will become much slower as time goes.
While knowing how you can better memorize information is important, you will also need to know how you can overcome your memory loss so that you can easily recall the information when you need them.
The answer is here: If you want to retain the formation better, you need to study with the method spaced repetition. That means that you have to review the information after a particular period for several times.
But how often should you study the things you have learned?
Remember that the curve is exponential? Therefore, the need to review a topic would be less often as time goes.
Considering most school and college exams occur every semester or term, I would recommend what I call the 1-7-30 study method – a study routine that you have to study daily, weekly, and monthly.
1-7-30 Study Method
The 1-7-30 study routine isn’t as complicated as it sounds. It is a study routine that has incorporated the science of forgetting curve and spaced repetition. This routine requires you to study daily, weekly and monthly for things you have learned in class.
- 1 means every day. You should do your class review everyday.
- 7 means every week. By the end of the week, you will have to gather everything you have learned and summarize them.
- 30 means every month. You should reflect on your study materials, memorize and conclude everything by the end of a month.
Why don’t just study the week before an exam?
I used to ask myself why do we have to spend so much time studying when I could literally finish everything just three days before the exam? This is the mindset that I had initially. I slacked a lot and didn’t really pay attention in class or review my notes for the most part of the semester. As it gets closer to the exams, I finally sense the danger and start to study everything. However, because I didn’t know what happen during the semester, I had to spend so much time just sitting in front of my desk, reading my notes, and frantically make study guides and memorize from things that I barely understand – all in the last week before exams. Not only does this hurts my grades, the exam week was incredibly dreadful for me. I was so stressed, nervous, anxious, and had so many negative emotions while trying really hard to put everything in my brain. Obviously, I wasn’t in a good mental state during the exam. I end up telling myself that I will need to study earlier next semester. For the next semester, I started studying two weeks before the exam. However, as courses are more advanced, I got the same feeling that I had last semester. I still felt dreadful and nervous during exam week feeling like I could never finish reading everything. I spent two weeks at home and at the library studying. And I still don’t get the grades I wanted. I asked myself, well, I thought I have studied hard enough. Why am I still feeling this bad and still couldn’t get the result I wanted? The answer is here. Having a study routine and studying regularly is the only way for you to make the study process easier, less stressful, and more effective.
Why should I use the 1-7-30 study method?
Once you adopt the 1-7-30 study method, Studying becomes the easiest habit for you.
- Procrastination is no longer a problem because studying isn’t so hard that you have to constantly push it off.
- You will only have to spend a small amount of time each day to study. And the study session doesn’t feel forced (and trust me, you will start to enjoy it).
- You will get more satisfaction as you can keep up with all your classes.
- This motivates you to learn actively and regularly.
- You will be able to know what you know and don’t know immediately after learning a topic. This allows you to seek help from your teacher.
Ever since I adopted the 1-7-30 study method, it has helped me to study less and made studying much easier for me. I can easily get help from my peers and teachers because I know exactly what are the areas that I need clarifications. This way, I learn everything gradually. Tests and exams no longer become the only (negative) motivation for me to revise. Instead, studying is a habit of mine. as tests or exams come, I can easily ace them because I have already learned the information.
1: Daily Review
The goal of the daily review is to look at things you have learned, organize your notes and add in your thoughts, comments, and summaries. It basically allows you to revisit your class notes and think about everything you have learned in the class and see whether you have understood all of them.
15 minutes in the morning
In the morning, take around 15 minutes to think about the things you have learned yesterday. Try to recall the knowledge you have learned yesterday without looking at your notes or textbooks. This helps to reinforce your memory. Alternatively, you can quickly flip through your notes for the upcoming class for the day. This can act as part of your preview process that allows you to raise your interest and have a glimpse of what you are going to learn today.
15 minutes after class
You can best remember what you know and don’t know right after class. Because of that, you can take around 15 minutes of your lunch break or the time after your lecture to review your notes and clarify things that you don’t understand.
15 minutes in the evening
6 pm to 8 pm is when your brain thrives. It’s the best time to memorize information. Because of that, it would be a great time to organize your notes, summarize the class notes in your notebook or on a topic summary card. Then, try to memorize the key facts, information, arguments, principals, formulas and key terms that you have learned in the class.
7: Weekly Review
The weekly review is the time for you to put everything together and put the knowledge in your own words. Some things you can do on the weekends to review all the classes you have had for the past week are:
- Making your study guides: I have talked about how making study guides would make studying for exams much easier and how you should make it. By making your study guide every week for things you have learned, you would have a complete study guide once the course is over. By the time of examination, you won’t feel stressed out at since you already have your own set of notes.
- Putting everything you have learned in the past week on a piece of paper: summarizing and organizing information is the best way to learn.
- Reading your supplementary readings or textbook: your class and notes may not be enough to cover everything of the topic. Sometimes, readings are essential in enhancing your understanding and they may give you a more comprehensive picture of what you have learned. You can spend the weekend study time to go through your readings and supplementary materials to strengthen your understanding.
- Doing some practice questions and quiz yourself: what is better than actually working on some practice problems when it comes to testing your knowledge? Doing questions and quizzing yourself on the things you have learned during the week can help you to find out what you have understood well and what you haven’t. You can also take those questions and problems you don’t know how to work on to your teachers the next week.
30: Monthly Review
The monthly review is a time for you to take a look at everything you have learned in the past month and consolidate all the information. Usually, your teacher or lecturer uses around a month’s time to cover an entire topic. Therefore, the weekend after every month would be a great time to look at the entire topic and to make a summary. This can be done using a mind map or any other tool that helps you develop a framework. Usually, diagrams and drawings are better for you to do this. You can use your topic and start from the center, then extend and incorporate all the knowledge you have learned in that topic on that piece of paper. After making a sheet of summary, take a look at this sheet and recall all the details and information of that topic. This exercise allows you to recall the information and reinforce your memory.
The Study Routine Planner
It is difficult to take in all the information I have written here, and it’s even more difficult to actually execute the 1-7-30 study method when you are not used to studying regularly. To help you with it, I have designed a topic list that specifically encourages you to comply with the 1-7-30 study method. I have also summarized what you have to do for daily, weekly, and monthly review perspectively to guide your studying. Make sure to download it at the ST Resource Library!
A Quick Summary for You
You don’t have to be an A student by studying all day and all week – all you have to do is to adopt the 1-7-30 study method. You will have to take a small amount of time every day to study, and that will not only make studying less stressful, but more effective!
- The forgetting curve is exponential, and you are bound to forget information if you don’t review them after a period of time. The solution? Do spaced repetition and review the things you have learned regularly.
- The 1-7-30 study routine means that you will have to review what you have learned daily, weekly, and monthly.
- For daily review, spend 15 minutes in the morning on thinking about what you learned the day before. Then, spend 15 minutes after class to read through the class notes you have just taken. Finally, in the evening, take 15 minutes to organize the things you have learned during the day and memorize them.
- For weekly review, take the time to consolidate the information by summarizing everything on one sheet of paper. Alternatively, you can make your own study guides, read supplementary materials and do practice problems.
- For monthly review, summarize the things you have learned in that month on one piece of paper by using mind maps and diagrams. This process helps your brain to organize the knowledge so that you can better retain them. Also, try to recall the details you have learned by looking at the mind map.
- Remember to download the study checklist at ST Resource Library so to follow the 1-7-30 study routine!