Meet Learning Expert, Author and Presenter, Nina Sunday

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An easy way to get started with the 8-step study method

Book GraphicHere’s an easy way into the 8-Step Study Method, (click on link to view on Amazon )

1. Get ready with a textbook, a notebook and some coloured biros (at least two different colours), or a pencil and eraser.

2. Select some text you have to read, make notes and remember. It might be a chapter or if the chapter is long, part of a chapter; perhaps 2-3 pages, a ‘manageable chunk’.

3. Open to page xi in the book, Brainpower Smart Study – ‘A first look at the Brainpower Smart Study 8-step Method’.

Read about Step 1.
Then follow instructions for Step 1 in your part chapter of your textbook.

Read about Step 2.
Then follow instructions for Step 2.

And so on through all 8 steps, to the end of page xii.

Refer to the wheel diagram on page x as you go.

Should only take you 30 minutes or so.

There, you have the method!


Repeat with each part chapter you need to study.

For a full explanation of each step, and why it matches recent discoveries in neuroscience, read the rest of the book, Chapters 1-9.

Read a chapter while following instructions in your reading material.
Read the next chapter, following instructions in your reading material.

Chapters 10 – 17 are additional information about:

  • best timing for regular review
  • using mnemonics (memory aids)
  • memory mapping, etc.

Chapter 15 suggests to teach someone else the method.
That’s a good idea. Pass it on.

Email me about how you get on and how many people you’ve introduced to the 8-Step Method.

Feel free to adapt, change, revise, and apply the method in different ways.


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Uninterrupted sleep is key to good memory

A recent research study out of Stanford University demonstrates the importance of getting uninterrupted sleep, for the brain to create memories.

If you are sleeping with your phone and waking up to read
text messages in the middle of the night, is it undoing all the
hours of study you put in that day?

Switch your phone off when you go to bed and sleep right
through to morning.

Read more about the study at:

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Practicing Retrieval Better Than Rereading or Reviewing Notes, Uni Study Reveals

Dr Jeffrey Karpicke, Purdue University, Indiana, USA

A Purdue University (Indiana, USA) study shows that rather than reread or review notes students should self-test when studying instead.

Dr Jeffrey D Karpicke studied 200 students. One group created concept maps, diagrams showing connections between the ideas in the text; the second group read the material then practiced retrieving by putting the text away and recalling from memory. One week later when both groups
were tested, the second group who practiced retrieving had 50% better scores than the first group who created concept maps.

All students were asked at the start Continue reading

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Self-quizzing During Study

This video offer good advice in under two minutes. There are 8 tips and tip #6 is the most important of all – find opportunities to quiz yourself after studying either by jotting things down or speaking it aloud.

Taking a nap after study is a good idea. Set your timer for 12 minutes – 2 minutes to go to sleep and 10 minutes to nap. Research shows the best nap duration is 10 minutes, no longer.

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Study Skills confidenceBeing focused when studying for exams is important. And a big part of being focused is staying relaxed and confident.

What thoughts go through your mind during study or leading up to the exam?

What do you tell your friends?

Negative self-talk includes statements such as:

  • ‘I’m going to fail’.
  • ‘Studying is hard.’
  • ‘I hate studying.’
  • ‘I’m not smart enough.’

You can choose your attitude. And your attitude springs from your self-talk.

Whenever you catch yourself thinking negatively, simply replace that thought with a positive one. Tell yourself instead: 

  • ‘I can do this.’
  • ‘I’m going to pass easily.’
  • ‘I now enjoy studying.’

Observe your thoughts. ?Train your mind to think only thoughts that cultivate certainty of success. Then do whatever it takes to achieve that success, and success will follow.

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Multiple Intelligences test

I discovered a terrific site enabling students to determine the strongest elements of their intelligence. It’s a kid-friendly Multiple Intelligences Test, and results in a clever pie graph that illustrates their strengths. Yours might look like
this pie chart, (not mine). Click here.

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Could Hand Cramps Make You Fail An Exam?

Exams require you to handwrite for two to three hours at a stretch. Do you find your hands cramp up during exams? How can you write fast and legibly for that period of time without hand pain?

Here are 7 tips to avoid painful cramps so you can focus on passing the exam:

1. Handwrite a little every day

If you always type your notes at lectures, try handwriting in a lecture notepad instead. Do the first draft of an essay using pen on paper, then type up the second draft. Handwriting is a physical skill that gets better with practice.

2. Use a relaxed grip

In an exam, intense concentration might lead to gripping the pen too hard. Periodically check your grip is relaxed and loose.

3. Find a pen that’s right for you

Some people swear by gel or rollerball pens. Find a pen where the ink flows nicely. Search on the web the term ‘ergonomic pen’ and invest in one of those.

4. Size down your handwriting. Use small, tight letters; they take less time

5. Connect all your letters and avoid lifting your pen off the paper

Consider the word ‘it’.

In print style, you draw:

•the stroke of the i
•dot the i
•the stroke of the t
•cross the t

That’s four movements, lifting the pen three times.

But in cursive style, it’s:

•the body of the i and t joined              together in one movement
•then (working with the closest            letter first) the stroke of the t
•then the dot of the i

That’s eliminated one lift of the pen off the paper.

Consider how many times you write the word ‘it’ in an essay, and it makes sense to practice the fastest way to handwrite in a cursive instead of print style.

Similarly, the word ‘the’. In print style, you might lift the pen after the body of the t, then cross the t,, then ‘he’. Try writing the body of the in one pen stroke, and cross the t at the end.

6. Spend the first 10 minutes of a lecture handwriting in the clearest, steadiest handwriting you can do

Only speed up when you have to, to keep up with the flow of ideas from the lecturer.

7. During an exam, start by stretching your fingers and rotating your wrist. Do this periodically during the test to keep your hands limber.

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Is Writing Study Notes By Hand Better Than Typing?

Is Writing Notes By Hand Better Than Typing?

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How To Study For Exams Using The Sandwich Method

Attention Students on stu-vac or swot vac – here’s a tip on how to pass your exams using the Sandwich Method.

A sandwich has two slices of bread and a middle.

Study a subject you like, then a subject you don’t like so much, then another subject you do like.

Use this sandwich message when studying.

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