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Learning strategies for learning-intensive subjects

As a student, you have to keep the material and your nerves, because learning-intensive subjects need good learning strategies. Studying usually demands a lot from you: motivation, ambition, methodical approach and scientific precision. Nevertheless, there are some particularly learning-intensive subjects that require an extra portion of diligence and perseverance. Whether physics or chemistry, mechanical engineering, medicine or law, the exam periods are often tightly scheduled and the pressure is high. It’s no wonder that nerves are shattered. What is the best way for students to get through this?

No matter what the subject, it’s important to make the material your own knowledge. In other words, don’t just passively consume the material, but actively deal with it, for example by creating your own diagrams or using case studies. Everyone can develop techniques according to their own preferences.

Studying for an exam can be compared to training for a competition, so draw up a timetable in good time, specifying the material to be studied and the date by which it should be completed. The plan can then look like this: in a first learning phase you work on the basics, then in a second phase you dedicate yourself to special questions and shortly before the exam date you learn to the point.

It is ideal if learning becomes a habit, for example, by reserving regular time slots for it, for example, always from 4 to 6 pm.

A practical approach is to calculate backwards, i.e. starting from the date of the exam, define the workload that needs to be completed by when. If you divide the tasks into smaller steps, they do not pile up like an impregnable wall. Additionally, you can set milestones and be happy when you reach them. However, learning plans are not promising for everyone, because you should check what type of learner you are. Some take a systematic approach, while others, like the creative chaotic, need freedom and flexibility to work well and productively.

Whether you’re a systematic or spontaneous learner, if you have a large learning load, you should try different mnemonic techniques that help you store and retain information, saving you time. Memory techniques come in the form of mnemonic devices such as mnemonic sentences, rhymes or graphics, but also as complex systems with which one could memorize complete books, endless word lists or thousand-digit numbers.

The loci method, for example, involves creating fixed mental locations and placing the information you want to remember there – always in the same order. And when you want to remember what you’ve learned, you mentally walk through the places and thus get back to the learning content more quickly.

By the way, the brain also needs time to process what it has learned, i.e., permanent supply of knowledge does not work, the brain must be given the chance to separate the essential from the non-essential and to regenerate. Therefore, in all schedules one should include rest phases in addition to active phases. It is also important to celebrate small partial successes with a reward: chocolate, sport, in other words anything that feels good as recognition.