Want to memorize things easier? Do you want better recall? Of course you do. So, here’s a simple trick you can implement tomorrow to help with that very problem!
If you’re like most – you go to your favorite coffee shop every time you study. I mean, what’s not to love? You get caffeinated, your not distracted, and you like the comfort of knowing where everything is.
Well, I want to tell you to stop doing that. I want you to try studying in different locations for the next week. Why? Research states that studying the material in different environments makes for better retention.
By doing this, you are forcing yourself to associate the information with new sights, smells, and noises – which allows for better recall.
There is a classic experiment that was conducted in 1978. Psychologists found that college students who studied a list of 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms — one windowless and cluttered, the other modern, with a view on a courtyard — did far better on a test than students who studied the words twice, in the same room. Later studies have confirmed the finding, for a variety of topics.
“What we think is happening here is that, when the outside context is varied, the information is enriched, and this slows down forgetting,” said Dr. Bjork, the senior author of the two-room experiment.
So forget the age old advice that you need a “designated study area” and don’t feel guilty when you get restless going to the same old Starbucks. Change is good – whether you like it or not.