8 Tips for Better Studying
- Get Organized. Avoid last minute cram sessions by using an agenda or calendar. Plan out a study schedule. Working backwards from the test date, allow plenty of time to review all materials.
- Review with a Pen and Paper. When reading over notes, write down all of the subject headings, subheadings, and bolded words. This will help provide a clear picture of the material. Plus, the physical act of holding the pen and writing makes study time active rather than passive.
- Ask Questions. By starting the review early, there is plenty of time to ask the teacher questions about material that may be confusing.
- Put it in your own words. Rather than trying to commit facts to memory, try explaining what was just read to an imaginary person without reciting from the text. This process helps will help students develop real understanding of the material, as opposed to simply memorizing it.
- Be efficient. Before beginning to review a chapter identify which parts are well known. Once these are identified, students should focus on studying the material that they are least familiar with. A common mistake is spending too much precious review time going over material that is familiar.
- Use mnemonic devices. To remember all items or examples, write the first letter of each example and create a sentence from that acronym. For example, to remember all of the great lakes use HOMES, or Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
- Make jot notes. At the end of every class students should take jot notes in the margin of their notebooks while the material is still fresh in their minds. This is as simple as identifying key words or phrases so that the entire lesson can be recalled more quickly.
- Test yourself.Test memory and understanding with a quick self-test:
- Read over all notes
- Cover them up with a sheet of paper or another book
- Recite aloud what was just read, paraphrasing when possible
- Check the facts. Were all the details and facts recalled correctly? Pay attention to any missed facts or examples. Chances are if any facts or details were missed during the self-test, they’ll be missed on the exam as well. Review the details that were missed until they are remembered during a self-test.
Summer programs now available at all Oxford Learning centers—a great way to build better study skills all summer long! Click here to find a location near you.