The thing about school is, sometimes it’s not about how much you understand, but how well you can memorize. This is very common in the sciences and in the arts. You’re required to memorize tons of dates, definitions and equations. Some of you, are wonderful at memorizing. It takes some only a few revisions to memorize an entire concept. Others, however, are strengths sadly do not include memorization. Here I will be considering both kinds of courses. Those that require understanding of concepts and those that only require memorization.
The key to success is to determine what the professor expects of you. Take the time to study everyday and take advantage of all resources available. I will be going into further detail with each in this article.
Procrastination is probably the worst thing for your studies. We all do it. Me included. But surfing the web for 20 minutes after each 15 minutes of work really cuts into your study time. Here are my tips to tackle procrastination. The majority of people need to study to succeed.
Have a consistent Study Schedule
not only is this important because it keeps you organized, but it forces you to avoid procrastinating. Since you only have so much time to do so each day. I’ve been loving my Brownline Academic Monthly Planner. I would highly suggest getting one. It has enough space to write out everything you need and still be pretty. (Cause that’s obviously a requirement for me….) Try to start studying a week before the test date. I know it can be hard. But even a quick 30 minute review will be super helpful!
Turn off all distractions
Turn off your phone and computer. I will be going over my note taking routine in another post. With that said, I would suggest either printing out your notes or writing them by hand to avoid any distractions. During intense study sessions I will go as far as to leave my phone in my car or at home. The text messages can wait, and Facebook can wait. If you absolutely need to have your phone on you. Either because you might receive an important phone call, or you have yet to figure out how to live without your cell. Place it under your books across the table. Out of sight, out of mind.
I know how hard it can be to stay organized when all of your papers are all over the place. Use a nice binder or notebook. Keep everything well organized. Not only is it easier for you to study when things are in order. Are brains seem to like organization and cleanliness. If you like using highlighters. Don’t go crazy with it. It’s useful to highlight the most important key points. Not an entire page. If you have really bad hand writing, type out your notes.
Make sure that you are eating well and getting enough sleep. Don’t be running on caffeine. It’s only a temporary solution. It doesn’t help in the long run, especially if you develop a caffeine addiction. Try to eat as properly as possible. I know that when you’re super busy it’s much easier to order fast food. Instead, pick up a salad at Subway. You can also go to your local groceries store for their pre-made meals. They are usually inexpensive and offer healthy options.
Get enough sleep. I would set a curfew where I couldn’t study after that specific time. This allowed me to relax and to get my mind off of things. Get off of your electronics one hour before bed. Try reading, preparing your lunch or taking a bath. While sleeping, do not check your phone. I now keep my phone across the room while I sleep. If I do look at the bright screen in the middle of the night I end up being wide awake.
Study Every day
You should be continuously reviewing course work in each course throughout the semester. Do not leave it till the last week. It is a ton of information. We would have five 3-hour finals at the end of the semester. It is impossible to memorize all of the information within the last week of school. Start super early.
Find a Favorite Study Spot
Most people find “their” spot in university. Mine was a super quiet area with large tables. The place was empty all throughout the year except during exam period. All I wanted to do then was yell out “Get out of my house!”. With that said, create a habit of going to this spot throughout the year, not just during finals. Make sure that this place is free from distractions and quiet.
Study Groups/ Solo Work
From my experience, it’s best to work solo during the days leading up to a test. Too many times have I gone to a group study session where most of the people are just talking. I find that groups are only beneficial when they stay on task and everyone is quite familiar with the material. I would schedule a group session one or two days before the test. I would be quite ready for the exam by this point. This study group is more of a review of the material. If there are any concepts that I do not understand, it would be the time to ask.
Memorizing and Understanding
This really depends on the course and the professor. I’ve been in some courses where you didn’t have to understand a thing as long as you memorized the proper answers. While others, you can memorize all you want but you need to understand the concept to answer a question. If you need to memorize your notes. Work section by section. Quiz yourself. Have your friends quiz each other. It’s all about repetition. If you understand the information, of course, you will have an easier time memorizing the concept.
If you need to really understand the concepts in detail. Draw illustrations. Create lists of explanations. Teach these concepts to other. Someone should be willing to sit there and nod even if they don’t understand a thing. (Thank you dad for sitting through so many study sessions).
Start at the end
I find it more useful to start at the newest material. It should be quite fresh and requires less time to review. Complete this task first to leave more time for the older material.
Use all available resources
I love khan academy. I’ve used it so much throughout my degree. It helped me especially in Fine Arts and Math. Make sure to use all available resources provided by your professor. Check out the extra links and videos. READ YOUR TEXTBOOK. Seriously. In most classes it is super beneficial.
I hope these tips will help you this semester! Good luck! Do you have any tips that you swear by? Where is your secret study spot!?
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