Studying can be tough – especially if you have multiple tests, exams or mid-terms to study for at once.
It’s easy to fall asleep with your textbook on your face, or focus more on perfecting that homemade apple crisp than perfecting your math formulas.
Everyone has their own best practices when it comes to studying, so we asked around to find some common strategies for success when it comes to burying yourself in your books.
1. Find your study spot
The first step to successful studying is finding a spot that is study-specific and has limited distractions. You might even want to disconnect your WiFi and put your phone on airplane mode for an hour or two. Crazy, I know, but it will help you stay focused.
2. Review the main concepts
Reading through your notes and refreshing your memory on major concepts will make filling in the details later on that much easier. There’s no sense in memorizing the dates of John Cabot’s discoveries if you can’t even recall what he did.
3. Change up the lingo
Reviewing concepts by using everyday language ensures you understand it. Furthermore, doing this helps you remember things more easily.
For example, if your philosophy textbook reads, “Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration,” an easier way of saying this might be “Relativism means that your point of view is only your personal perception, and has no absolute truth or validity.”
4. Speak out loud
Calling Helgason, a second-year Biology student at Trent University, says when she doesn’t understand a concept she reads it out loud. “Talking through my notes breaks down the concepts and makes it easier to understand,” she says.
This was a personal strategy of mine as well. I would pretend I was explaining something to someone else and, in turn, ended up learning it myself – a tad embarrassing when the roommates walked in, but the good grades made up for my rosy cheeks. That being said, be aware of your surroundings. This might not fly too well in the quiet section of the library, but on your porch it’s A-OK.
5. Rewrite your notes
Sandy Silveira, a student in the Early Childhood Education program at Ryerson University, says when she studies she likes to write things out as well as saying them because it helps her remember them better.
Julie Dang, a Mathematical Science student at Western University, echoes this idea by stating that her strategy is to flip back through her textbooks and focus on everything that she highlighted when she initially did her readings. Then she writes out all the terminology and various formulas. “I do study questions over and over and over again,” Julie says. “I review my notes, and then I do more questions. Constantly practicing the formulas is the best way to remember them.”
6. Take breaks
You can’t run on the treadmill for hours on end and your brain can’t work out for that long either. It needs a break (Tetris, anyone?) as well as hydration (water, coffee and perhaps even an ice cream cone?). Allow your brain time to refresh and when you come back to the books, quickly recap what you learned before your break. This will make it stick even more.
7. Give yourself the gift of time
Look at what you need to study for a couple weeks before the actual exam. Allot some time each day to study and review different things. Every day you can recap what you learned the day before and build on it instead of cramming everything in the day before your test.
What are your best tips for studying success? Leave them in the comments below.
Photo credit: greenasian on Flickr