Top Study Tips & Blockers


Smartphones can be a major distraction, but 84% of people worldwide claim they cannot go a single day without a mobile electronic smart device.


Fast learning with flash cards and cramming often results in fast forgetting.

Zuku's Top Study Tips and Blockers To Know For NAVLE® Success:

  1. Best bets for learning:

    Hand-writing notes may seem old-fashioned, but recall is superior with typing notes into a laptop

    Telling another person about something recently learned can greatly improve one's memory

    Swap practice questions with classmates

  2. The forgetting curve:

    Representation of the forgetting curve showing the loss of memory over a few days without repetition of the material (red curve) and increased ability to remember by reviewing material (green curves)

    • Once you learn something 100%, you will start forgetting it...
      • After three days, most people will remember 50% of it
        • Learn it 100% again
        • You'll do it much quicker than the first time
      • After 10 days you'll remember 50% of it
        • Relearn it 100%
        • It won't take long at all this time
    • Months and months later you'll still remember about 80% of it and years later about 50%. Even more if you've used it occasionally
    • Bottom line, do this EACH day:
      • Learn that day's material
      • Learn the material from three days ago
      • Learn the material from 10 days ago
      • You will own it!

  3. Distractions:

    Smart phones are a big distraction in this digital age

    No task gets adequate attention when multitasking

    • Smart phones:
      • Constant alerts from emails, tweets, and text messages are very distracting
      • Turn your phone off or mute it while studying (be sure to turn off vibration alerts as well)
      • Some phones have settings to silence all but important emails and phone calls (depending on the iOS, iPhones have a "Do Not Disturb" setting)
    • Multitasking:
      • Although most people feel that they are good at multitasking, studies have shown that really no one is good at it
      • Example: Study, Facebook, listen to music, text message, and Twitter simultaneously
      • Definitely don't do this while studying
      • Causes chronic distraction
      • No task will get adequate attention
      • Will make a person more prone to errors
      • Actually makes a person more easily distracted and decreases ability to perform cognitive tasks
      • Two task limit
      • 20-minute rule:
        • Don't switch tasks minute to minute
        • Spend 20 minutes on a single task, then switch
    • Auditory stimuli:
      • If you are easily distracted by sounds:
        • Play quiet music with no lyrics (e.g., Vivaldi's Four Seasons)
        • Quiet music or white noise will help keep you from getting distracted by minor sounds such as closing doors or a distant lawnmower
    • Web surfing:
      • Exam scores are lower in even the brightest students who web surf
      • Web surfing is more engaging than other distractions
    • Email:
      • Constantly checking email is not only a big distraction, but increases stress levels
      • A person can focus on one task for longer periods if not switching windows often
      • Check email at scheduled times 2-3 times daily
      • Turn off email notifications

Images courtesy of (iPhone), Barcelona En Comú (multitasking), Bayshoremods (checking email on the beach), Tim1965 (anatomy lab), Icez (forgetting curve), National Archives and Records Administration (taking notes), Shimer College (student and teacher)