We love a tiny hack around here and sometimes, it’s the smallest ones that make a big impact. If you’re studying for finals right now, you might be feeling pretty overwhelmed trying to cram everything in. Even in your downtime, though, you can be subconsciously absorbing your materials.
Change your phone background
Think of something you’ve been studying lately and have to memorize—maybe the periodic table or a sequential list of steps. Find a way to condense it so the material is the size of your phone screen—then make it your background. (Alternatively, make it the screensaver and background on your computer.)
Every time you check the time, glance at your phone, or get a notification, you’ll see the material. Take a few seconds to read it over. Now, it’s ever-present. Any time you want to review or quiz yourself, just tap your phone so it lights up. You won’t have to dig through screenshots or notes to find what you need.
This also works for instructions, say, for an essay. Instead of continually opening up the instructions page, just keep it handy as the first thing you see on your phone so you can check your work and progress as you go.
Passive learning is what happens when you receive information with no feedback. Lectures and podcasts are passive learning tools, for instance. Active learning takes place when you’re engaging with the material, maybe by using flashcards or having a two-way discussion about it.
You can use the background-changing technique for a little bit of both. Passively, you’ll absorb just a little bit more of it when you glance at the screen, but you can actively study it, too, by toggling the screen on and off to quiz yourself. Try putting definitions you’re struggling with on there, for example. Toggle the screen off, try to remember the definition, and turn it back on to check your work. Do this throughout the day and notice that you’re starting to absorb the definitions more easily thanks to the combination of seeing them all the time and quizzing yourself.