Students who start out strong at the beginning of the semester may quickly start to feel overwhelmed if they haven’t developed good study habits.
Any course load can be conquered and any material can be mastered if you know how to study well and effectively.
Check out these tips to ace your courses this year:
Take Good Notes
- The most important thing you need to do in order to be able to have productive study sessions is to take good class notes. Some basic tips include:
- Write down everything on the board. If the professor took the time to write it down, you can bet it’s important.
- Make particular note of the names of people, events, places and dates.
- Pay attention to gestures and tone of voice. Most professors will slow down when they’re making an important point. They may raise a hand to get the student’s attention or actually say, “This is important” or “This is a key point”. Write down whatever they say next.
Pay Attention to Study Advice from Professors
Some professors will give you a study guide for their course in the beginning of the semester with specific tips and advice on how to do well in their course. Take full advantage of this and follow their advice as closely as possible. After all, if they’re telling you how to ace their course, why wouldn’t you follow their instructions? Don’t be afraid to approach your professors with any questions or concerns you have about any of the material. Making sure you have the right information is key to doing well.
Review Your Notes Soon After Class
Few students practice this technique but all should. Half an hour or so after class ends, open your notebook and go over that day’s notes. This short time lapse between class and reviewing helps you to retain information much more effectively than if you did it even as soon as later that night.
Review All Your Notes Regularly
Besides reviewing your notes after class, you should also periodically review all your notes, going over the cumulative notes from the entire course from beginning to end. This method helps you keep the information continually refreshed so you don’t forget important details from earlier in the course.
Read Your Notes Out Loud
Some students have an easier time remembering things if they hear it rather than read it. If that’s the case, you can read your notes out loud to yourself to reinforce them. You could also record yourself reading your notes and play them to yourself while you’re cleaning your room or going for a walk to help the information sink in more.
Use Flash Cards
Flash cards are great ways to isolate bits of information and make sure you’re able to recall their significance out of context. They are a good way for you to test yourself and make sure you know the material inside and out.
Join a Study Group
Having the support of other students can really help motivate you to study. A study group has the benefit of having the perspectives of other students as well. It can help you sharpen your analysis of the class material as well as enhance your ability to defend a certain position which you may be asked to do in essays or on exams.
Don’t Binge Study
If there’s one study habit you should avoid, it’s this one. This type of studying, where you review large amounts of material all at once is totally ineffective. It exhausts the brain and can often lead to confusion when it comes to test time. The small percentage of information that you do retain will also only be stored in your brain for a fleeting amount of time. Consistent methodical studying and review of the materials over the course of the semester is a much more effective way to retain information.
These study tips will get you through any course and allow you to take exams with confidence.