Studying is a necessity in school, but the way you study is the key to success.
Ineffective study strategies, distractions or wasting time on the wrong material are common mistakes. Customizing your approach to match your personal study style allows you to maximize your time and concentrate on the key information for improved school performance.
Clean Up the Environment
If you’re surrounded by distractions, you can’t focus on your studies. Piles of laundry, a blaring TV and games on your desk are examples of things that draw your attention away from studying. Adjust your desk so it faces away from things that distract you. Clean the desk off so you leave only the essentials within reach.
Use the Clock
Block off specific amounts of time devoted to studying each day so it becomes a habit. Decide how long you’ll spend on each assignment or class, along with scheduling breaks.
Channel Your Inner Instructor
Textbooks cover a wide range of information, some of which never ends up on tests or assignments. Note the information that your instructor spends the most time on in class. He likely thinks that is important, so you can suppose it will appear on an upcoming test.
Become a Note-taking Expert
Notes serve as a resource when studying. Listen for key points and supporting facts to record. Review the previous day’s notes right before learning new information for better recall. According to the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University, if you wait longer than 24 hours to review, you may forget 50 percent of the information.
Break It Down
Break up the material throughout the semester to avoid being swamped. If you study for each class a little every day, you’ll better understand the introductory information. Later in the semester, that data you mastered on day one serves as a foundation for understanding the more complex material you learn.
To help you remember information, add a creative twist to your study sessions that makes them more interesting. For example, turn the information into a song that you can recite in your head, or draw pictures that help you remember key vocabulary words.
Find a Partner
It may help you study and better understand the material if you partner with classmates. Collaboration allows you to fill in the gaps for one another.
Create a Reference System
Creating a way to reference class material helps you find it as needed. Highlight key points in the textbook, as long as you don’t overdo the marking. Write textbook page numbers in the columns of your notes or on sticky notes you place in your notes. Label study materials, such as flashcards, with the chapter number for quick reference.
Try Different Techniques
No one technique for memorizing material works for every situation or person. Experimenting with techniques, such as using flashcards, creating mnemonics, rereading material, outlining information and quizzing yourself mentally, allows you to determine the options that work best with your learning style.
Do a Dress Rehearsal
Quizzing yourself gives you a opportunity to practice what you might see on an upcoming exam. If your instructor doesn’t supply practice tests, use old quizzes as a way to practice the material. You can also create your own practice tests based on the class material or use questions from the textbook reviews to test your knowledge.