Most university and college students view studying as a daunting task; something that’s totally undesirable but they’ve just got to do. Fortunately, the process of preparing for an exam or a test can be improved with effective study techniques or strategies. These strategies can maximize your productivity while minimizing your study time. Discover how implementing or avoiding some of the strategies below can make you a more effective studier.
Take the Process Seriously
Studying for an exam is just as important as the exam itself, so it should be taken just as seriously. Recreating the exam conditions and treating the study process like the exam process can activate your memory and make it easier to retain and recall information. Taking the process seriously begins with your study location. Make sure you study at a desk in a quiet environment. Unsurprisingly, the best study locations are the library, a study lounge or a private space. The best student rentals St. Catharines has to offer are those where students have the option of studying in the privacy of their own room or in a designated study area. Check out the options that are available at Regent Student Living!
Don’t Waste Time Highlighting and Rereading
Highlighting and/or rereading text can cost you a lot of time and a lot of brain cells. Although, these activities can activate certain parts of the brain, they won’t activate the parts that will help you process information. In fact, highlighting and rereading can be categorized as mindless activities. Most people don’t read or seek to understand the information they’re highlighting, and most people will only recognize, not recall the information they’re rereading. Ultimately, both activities are tedious and not a part of effective study practices. However, it is effective to take notes and review them later.
Practice Effective Note-Taking
Taking notes can extend your study time, but it’s a major part of information recall and memory activation – if you take notes effectively. This means being concise and only writing down important information. It also means using abbreviations and other short-hand (writing) techniques. These techniques will help you save time and even make your notes more comprehensive.
Remember that you’re writing for yourself, so you can use whatever codes you like and breakdown complicated concepts however you like. But don’t overcomplicate things and make sure your writing is legible. Moreover, only take notes on pertinent terms and concepts, especially those that are covered in class or that will be on the exam. To make your notetaking even more effective, write key terms and/or concepts on notecards, creating flashcards for easy access and self-testing.
Self-testing is perhaps the most effective study technique, so create flashcards that you can test yourself with later. They’re an excellent tool for self-testing but can also provide a fun way to study with a partner. You and your partner can quiz each other or use the cards to create a fun study game. Study games make it easier to review and memorize information. Reviewing information using flashcards and/or games can improve recall and activate your memory during an exam.
Ask Yourself Questions
Many students study without knowing why they need to retain the information they’re studying. Knowing why you need to or want to learn something can make it easier for you to process and recall it. So, if you want to understand why you need to learn certain concepts, just ask yourself some questions. The most important questions are:
- How does this material apply to the real world?
- How does this material apply to you?
Some courses may seem irrelevant to you and your major, but asking questions can help you figure out where they fit into your life and future career. For example, a psychology or sociology major may be confused by why they must take math and statistics courses but understanding statistics and how they’re applied is essential in both fields. In this scenario, the students may also discover that statistics have many daily life applications. Ultimately, understanding the reasoning behind studying certain material will make it easier for you to study.
Cramming is the least effective study strategy. In fact, it can’t even be categorized as a study strategy. If you attempt to cram information into your brain, most likely you won’t be able to recall much. Not surprisingly, cramming overworks the brain, pushing out old information and making it impossible to retain new information. It causes proactive interference (the inability to recall new information) and retroactive interference (replacing old information with new information). The brain most easily recalls information that it’s exposed to over time. This means your study sessions should be spread out. It also means that you should avoid overworking your brain by taking breaks and staying calm and relaxed during these sessions.
Best of luck on your upcoming tests or exams!