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mclaugh's avatar

What is the best way to study?

Asked by mclaugh (1256 points ) October 28th, 2009

I am in college taking nursing. I have high grades but I’m finding myself wondering if there’s a more time-efficient way to study…how do you study?

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24 Answers

troubleinharlem's avatar

I learn best with hands-on methods, and games/music for some reason.

jackm's avatar

ask all the questions for your test on fluther. i think thats what everyone else does.

asmonet's avatar

Honeslty, I almost never do. I’m lucky, I absorb information fairly quickly and do well in lecture based courses.

When I do feel like it’s necessary to study, I blast some swamp rock or 60s rock, and just zone out. Read everything I need to. Spend an hour watching TV or doing an activity completely unrelated to give my brain time to bounce back then study it all again.

Study, break, studying for some reason is the best way I’ve found to retain knowledge that doesn’t come naturally. I think it has something to do with me knowing that I don’t have to get it right then, I’m going to come back regardless. It gives it time to sink in unconsciously and relieves the pressure of having to get it immediately OMG!

dpworkin's avatar

I find that writing things down helps to fix them in memory. That’s why I hate it when Profs use PowerPoint instead of chalk.

asmonet's avatar

@jackm: Poor form!

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Flashcards = success.

YARNLADY's avatar

It depends on how effeciently you are using your time now, but using a scale of two hours outside study to each hour in class is a good rule. Some people need more, but those who advocate less are probably not going to be at the top of their class.

I learn very quickly, and I still took the time necessary to do it right.

mclaugh's avatar

thanks for all your answers guys! :)

evegrimm's avatar

It’s also a good idea to study either right before bed and/or taking a nap; studies have shown that sleeping helps us to remember things that we’ve studied.

Also, make sure you go over things more than once. Our brains are wired in such a way that they “tune out” things that happened only once, and remember things that happened multiple times (seven is a magic number here) much better.

Flash cards, like @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities says, are a great tool. They are especially effective if you use them in weird time slots—waiting for the bus, waiting for the coffee to be done, etc. Keep a couple in your pocket, study them, and when you know them, switch ‘em out for different ones.

asmonet's avatar

@evegrimm: Aha! Science that backs me up! Sorta. :)

Tenpinmaster's avatar

When I was attending University of Colorado Boulder I would find it impossible to study in the dorm room so I found it refreshing and stimulating to study outside of the student center (in the daytime). Have some soft music playing from a music player and allow the environment to stimulate all those neurons to help your mind retain precious information. At night I would go to the library.. guaranteed place of quiet.

nxknxk's avatar

People study?

Really, just study the night before. It works if you don’t mind sitting in one place for eight hours and/or hemorrhoids.

cyn's avatar

library.

trailsillustrated's avatar

a study group. especially for something like nursing. be in a study group, and a dedicated one. it will save your life.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I find flash cards are the absolute best way for me to study, but sometimes you have material that doesn’t lend itself well to flash cards (my animal physiology class for one, really complicated). Then I just keep rereading the notes and try to quiz myself a little bit as I go along and hopes it sticks in there.

hug_of_war's avatar

1. Break the material into manageable chunks.
2. Set specific goals – instead of saying I’ll study chapter 1 figure out the concepts you need to understand so you know exactly what you need to cover
3. When you start to get overwhelmed take a break
4. Realize you have a final, definite goal – to be a nurse – keep that goal in the forerot of your mind as a source of motivation
5. Before you start have everything out – books, notes, food, drinks, etc so you aren’t getting up every five minutes interrupting your flow

SpatzieLover's avatar

@mclaugh Most of the doctors I’ve had live in the apartments I’ve managed kept posters up as study guides and had flashcards around.

Personally, I find listening and taking notes the best way to fully digest things the first time. For anything you have real trouble “getting” you should take notes on the chapter/concept then re-write or type them more than once.

cyndyh's avatar

It depends on the kind of material. Things that work for some material are: working problems, drawing diagrams and labeling them, reorganizing information in charts or graphs, flat-out memorization, saying things out loud repeatedly, discussing topics with other classmates, teaching someone else, writing out essay-style explanations, deriving from first principles whatever concept you’re trying to fix in your head, comparing and contrasting competing ideas, doing the thing itself with your hands slowly and deliberately and then faster, talking about what you’re doing, explaining edge cases, etc.

It really depends on what type of thing you’re studying. Basically, keep trying things until you know it inside out.

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

For every person that finds intense study in a library until exhaustion productive there’s another who prefers frequent breaks and some sort of distraction here and there.

I like a little white noise, perhaps television that’s not going to be too distracting, but I can’t use music all that often because I pay more attention to that then the work at hand (I write about music for fun, so I’ve trained myself to do that). Re-writing notes is a great memorization tool and nothing can replace just going to class and answering questions to be involved with the lecture.

I also enjoy using the Pomodoro Technique: 25 minute sprints of focus using a timer with 5 minute breaks. Then, a sizable break after a few rounds or REAL work. More information can be found here or at the official site (which features a free downloadable pdf book on the technique.

tandra88's avatar

I use memorization.

debzilla's avatar

I can retain knowledge for the whole semester, and so on if I chose to use it. All it takes is one lecture and note taking then I’m good. :)

Also, when I’m reading essay assignments I tend to ask myself, “what does that mean?” or “what do I think about that?” That helps me to put information to my own words so I’m more familiar with them.

pterodactylover808's avatar

make study guides, write down important information, note cards, discuss with people in your class, read different sources. you have to find your favorite way and just do it! and put forth the time…

mclaugh's avatar

thanks guys! all these suggestions definetely helped me study in better ways. ive started making cue(or q?) cards for my anatomy/physiology class and it’s helped so much! :)

Hibernate's avatar

Or maybe pay more attention to your teachers.

I remember when I was in school i was able to remember 80% of what our teachers were telling us. I had to study home for like half an hour each day [ I did my homeworks at school .. was easier that way for me ]

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