Study Less Study Smart – A summary for Marty Lobdell’s lecture

It has been 6 years when this video was first posted and so far there are more than 1.8 million views to the video on YouTube. In this article, we will be discussing Professor Lobdell’s video – Study Less Study Smart in brief and taking out notes for our studies.

Lobdell taught Psychology at Pierce College in Washington State for 40 years. During Lobdell’s career, he has taught tens of thousands of students.

After watching students cram for eight hours or more for a test without any improvement, Lobdell has developed a studying technique that helps the brain retain the information that you are studying in this video “Study Less, Study Smart”.

Why would you be reading this article, if you could watch an interactive video lesson on YouTube?

I found this video a year ago while searching for study tips on youtube.

However, couldn’t find time to watch an hour long video. Interestingly, whosoever I shared it with did the same and kept it in their watch-later list.

Here, I’ll be trying to give you 80-90% value packed in this article which might save your time to watch an hour long video and get a preview of the basic principles discussed in the video in about 1/10th of the time.

Tip 1: Break your studies into chunked sessions:

Throughout the video, Prof. Lobdell explains the need to study in small sessions with numerous case studies of students he taught during his career.

The reason is that the average student can only really pay attention for about 20-25 minutes. This goes across the board from lectures to reading books, to studying after the class.

Study Less Study Smart

In the video, Prof. Lobdell explains the concept through a diagram where he explains that after about 25-30 minutes, your efficiency starts to really fall.

That’s why the advice to simply study more is not effective at all.

Instead of that, you want to break down your study sessions into small chunks of 25-30 minutes and after those are done, take 5 minutes breaks where you do something fun, or at least get away from your studies.

Also, once your study sessions are done for the entire day, you want to give yourself, a real tangible reward for doing it. Giving yourself rewards releases positive chemicals in your brain, which induces you to do that task again and again.

Giving yourself rewards releases positive chemicals in your brain, which induces your brain to do that task again and again just to feel better.

As Dr. Lobdell says in the lecture, reinforcement of positive things builds good study habits and as an added benefit, you’re training yourself to study.

As you keep doing this, you’re going to able to study for longer and longer on each session

Tip 2: Create a dedicated study area:

Study Less Study Smart - Study AreaThe reason for this tip is that our environment, the context we are in, largely determines our behavior. Think about the study lecture going in your class, when the professor presents a question to the entire class, you instinctively raise your hand to answer the question.

But if he asks you specifically, you’re going to give a verbal response. This is all automatic. We have been conditioned to do it.

Well, your studying area is the exact same. If you do it in a place where you’re conditioned to do other things like sleep or play video games, it’s going to be really hard to get into studying.

Studying at bed/ living room/ dining table is not their primary function, their primary function is sleeping/ relaxing and eating food. Studying there will be a distraction instead of being an aid.

What you want to do is find an area that is specifically used for studying, so the context of the situation makes it easy for your mind to get into your studies.

Tip 3: Study actively:

It can be summed up in the quote from the lecture itself:

“The more active you are in your learning, the more effective you will be”

The best way to do this, rather than going through rote memorization, or reading and re-reading a chapter from your book, is to first ask yourself, before studying, what is that I’m learning here.

And such learning is going to fall in 1 of 2 categories: either facts or concepts.

Facts vs. Concepts:

A concept is something like, what does this particular bone in the human body do? You have to understand it.

A fact is something you need to remember. What is the name of this bone?

Concepts are more important than facts, because once you learn a concept, once you truly understand its inner workings, it’s with you forever. You’re going to remember it.

Facts, on the other hand, can sort of drift away over time, the good thing about that is that we have Google. Where you can look up facts very easily.

Unfortunately, in a testing situation in class, you have to remember both facts and concepts, and you don’t have access to Google usually. But still, concepts are going to be more important to learn first.

The best way to learn these concepts and to be sure you know them is to put them in your own words. Test yourself and learn actively.

Learning Actively:

There’s one thing he gives as an example, which I think is one of the most important parts of the entire lecture, and it’s his example about highlighting.

Most students know not to highlight entire sections of the book because if you do that you’re basically highlighting nothing at all.

But if you highlight really important terms, and then you go back after your first read and highlight session and study them, and just simply recognize the thing you highlighted before and say “Oh, I know it.”

Then you’re getting into this dangerous territory where you don’t know whether you’re actually recalling something or simply recognizing it.

The human brain is very good at recognizing things. Please, not Recognizing, not remembering.

We can recognize people’s faces from class 6, even if we haven’t seen them in a long time and couldn’t recall their names.

But the difference between recognition and recollection is that recognition requires an initial trigger, a cue.

If you’re in a test, there is no longer trigger or cue. You have to actually pull it forth from your memory.

This is the reason why we feel like we forgot everything just in the second we sat for the exam.

So to ensure it, you need to quiz yourself. You need to do active studying and active learning.

Tip 4: Take more effective notes:

Study Less Study Smart - Study Notes

Basically, he says, after class, as soon as possible, and truly as soon as possible, flesh out your notes a bit.

Fill the content under the brief headlines that you have made and add some more to them so you can actually solidify the concepts in your mind.

Read our 5 best note taking methods.

Tip 5: Summarize or teach what you learn:

He says the best way to actually learn something is to teach it. The reason for this is two fold:

  1. It’s a great form of active studying because you’re focusing your brain on recalling all the information so you can basically summarize it for somebody.
  2. You’re really making sure that you fully understand the subject

If you’re explaining to somebody who has absolutely no idea about the topic, and they are coming at it from a beginner’s perspective, then you’re really going to have an easy time of pinpointing gaps in your own understanding.

Tip 6: Use mnemonics when you’re studying facts:

Facts, as opposed to concepts, are a lot harder to tie actual meaning to, and as a result, a lot of students often turn to simple rote memorization to remember them but a better way to go about it is to use mnemonics.

A mnemonic is really any system that facilities recall, but he goes over 3 specific types of mnemonics in the video. Those 3 are:

  • Acronyms like VIBGYOR for rainbow color spectrum;
  • Coined Sayings like in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue;
  • Image Associations like interacting images including the thing you’re trying to study that create a ridiculous picture or story in your head.

The more emotionally evocative or weird it is, the more easily you’re going to be able to recall that piece of information.

That’s all. I hope we have covered everything in these 6 tips given by Marty Lobdell to his students.

Link to the complete lecture given by Dr. Marty Lobdell: Here is the link

In case you have any question regarding your studies, please comment down below, I would love to answer all your questions.

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Author: Prajjwal Kaushik

Being a CA aspirant, I had to deal with a lot of study pressure. I studied and learned about various study techniques adopted by the students worldwide to deal with my own study burden. I write about study hacks and tips to help you build a remarkable school/ college experience.

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