There are no short-cuts in life. However, if one learns certain techniques for enhancing memory or speed reading or for better conceptual clarity, the efficiency can be significantly increased. So it is true that hard work is essential for success but doing smart work can surely reduce the pressure of studies.
For enhancing the memory or for conceptual clarity, certain techniques can be employed depending on the temperament of student, nature of subject and time available for preparation.
‘1-3-7’ Technique: I learnt this while preparing for Civil Services way back in early nineties as I was not in a position to prepare notes. I was suffering from Spondylitis (It remained with me from 1989 to 2007), so I could not bend my neck down for long. For this, you read a certain topic or chapter today (Day 0); mark the important parts. Then next day (Day 1), read it again; just the marked portions. Your speed of reading and understanding the topics would be faster than before. Again on the 3rd day, revise it again; this time the speed would even be faster and time taken will be quite less with increased retention. Lastly, on 7th day, revise it once again. You would take very less time with amazing retention. You can create a cycle of learning on different days. A chart on the wall with topics and dates according to 1-3-7 formula is very helpful as you then don’t forget to revise.
Teach the topic to your friends: You might have realised it already. When we teach someone, the topic becomes amazingly clear to us. Our mind is designed to analyse and process; so at times, new deductions take place or new ways to relate the information come to our mind automatically. That’s why group studies are beneficial provided you don’t waste time on gossips and remain focussed and efficient. If no one is available, you can teach yourself; that is, explain the topic loudly to yourself as if you are teaching.
Use Internet wisely: These days, lot of study material is available free of cost. Try ‘Khan Academy’ or ‘YouTube’ to learn the topic. The audio-visual explanation seeps in better and you won’t feel burdened too. There are other sites also which specialise in various subjects.
Last but not the least; prepare short notes for revision on the final days. Studies need to be done in a pyramidical fashion. Use number of colour pens while preparing notes. It helps in retention esp. if you can create a pattern of colours and information for yourself.
All the best…