General Question

nikipedia's avatar

What are your best studying tips?

Asked by nikipedia (27526points) November 5th, 2008

I’m starting to feel like I can’t fit anymore information in my brain, which is extremely inconvenient considering I have exams Friday and Monday!

Do you have any clever studying ideas? Flashcards, study groups, color-coded spreadsheets…?

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19 Answers

shrubbery's avatar

I was just about to ask this question, believe it or not. I need help too!

elchoopanebre's avatar

Same here…

Small world.

Mtl_zack's avatar

if you need to memorize, remember the pages of the book/paper. what i mean is remember the geography of each point on the page, and put it in context. this works extremely well in history, because everything is in chronological order.

if its chemistry, biology, math, physics, etc…, remember acronyms, like I Have No BRight Or CLever Friends for the diatomic elements. this can also be useful in history.

you may want to associate something in the course with something personal. for instance, if youre studying psychology, and theres a case study about a beard (random, i know. im just throwing things out there), just remember that freud had a cool beard.

when youre studying, remember when you say “i wont remember this”. these moments of dispair stick in your mind and you will alays remember saying to yourself “i couldnt find a way to remember freud’s oedipus theory” and then that event of studying will click.

remember events that happened while studying!!!!

dont discuss the topic with friends the day of the test. this only confuses you. they could have studied something else thats wrong.

and #1 tip ever: SLEEP!!!!!!!!

shilolo's avatar

I’m a big fan of doing old test questions or problem sets. If not available (and it seems like you are studying molecular biology/neuroscience, I would write out the pathways I needed to know over and over again until they were in rote memory.

FYI, I’m eating leftover Amici’s pizza right now :-)

jlm11f's avatar

To stay focused: structure is important. plan for breaks as you finish a particular section or chapter. and stick to those breaks. LEAVE your studying area while on break. Go outside, breathe some fresh air, take a quick nap, do some jumping jacks, whatever works. Don’t for any reason try to elongate your break. Discipline is really important in studying. which explains why you and I end up cramming so much

Studying environment depends on your learning habits. I need pin drop silence when I study. No music, nothing. but if you focus better with music, just keep something light on at a low volume (i know this is pretty obvious, so forgive me if you feel insulted that I am even telling you this). As for flashcards/studygroups, again that’s a personal thing. I study best on my own. Groups distract me and generally the level of efficiency decreases. BUT what you should do is if possible, review with a friend or in a group. Don’t let your study group get too big. 4 people in a group is more than enough and anymore would just turn into a social situation. 3 is actually optimum. Study in separate rooms, but after finishing a chapter, review together. Reviewing does not mean going over the whole thing. It means you quiz each other based on Qs you think will be asked according to your prof’s past teaching style.

Nothing helps more for test preparation than looking and practicing on old tests. Some profs provide old tests, otherwise, make friends with people who have already taken that class and ask them for their old stuff (notes + homework + tests). Some will make you pay. It’s usually worth it.

As for your current state where you feel you can’t fit more stuff in, it’s obviously break time. Fluther, come to the chatroom, or do whatever that will make you feel a little relaxed. Anything (tv show, comic strip, etc) that will make you laugh is always good. Remember, sleep is really important too and shouldn’t be underestimated. Also, might sound counter-intuitive, but ease up on the caffeine. Caffeine leads to crash remember. and that 5 hour energy drink is crap. Substitute coffee for green tea. Still some caffeine, but green tea is actually good for you too.

One thing that really helps me when I feel overwhelmed or that I am not retaining anything is going over concepts by explaining it to someone else. If you can explain it to someone who is fairly illiterate in that subject, you have it down well. Or you can talk to someone knowledgeable in those areas and then they can correct you if you say something wrong.

If you do go the flashcard/spreadsheet way, don’t waste time trying to make things look pretty. Many of my close friends do that and it’s just a way of procrastinating and really decreasing efficiency. Things should be legible, but besides that, the chances of you going back to your notes after the test (unless final is cumulative) are slim. So don’t waste time and energy using 20 different colored pens etc. i just have a feeling you are one of those kind of people lol, which is why i mention this

Okay, I probably will think of more stuff so I am sure I’ll be back.

this week and next week are hell for me too (exam this Friday, 2 Practicals on Wednesday). It seems it is for all college students. Your topics remind me of everything we covered in Animal Physiology last year.

shilolo's avatar

Oh, one more tip. Don’t spend a lot of time reading super long answers on Fluther… ;-)

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

My thing..listen to Cowboy Junkies when you study. So peaceful…

Mtl_zack's avatar

write , write, write. you remember it better if you write it out. make a cheat sheet even if you wont use it. just write the equations/case study/whatever. its been proven scientifically (as told by many previous teachers, but with no source, unfortunately) that tjis helps.

jividenm's avatar

go to the library, i know that sounds lame; but i never used to go, until i got a job there.

ask a librarian for research help- they live for that stuff and its really helpful. and its quiet and sometimes you can even find a classmate who can help you if your stuck!

and snack on something. your brain needs fooooood

saranwrapper's avatar

When taking notes fold the piece of paper your using in half. On the left side write a question regarding the topic and the right write the answer/notes on that topic. Later when you’re studying you can fold the paper in half and you have a practice quiz all laid out for you.

wildflower's avatar

Write your own practice test, then read to answer your questions.
Take a break, get some air, have a laugh, then get back to it.
Eat well; I find bananas, raisins, nuts and cereal are great study food.
Stop studying 24hrs before the test. Do something to unwind and ‘relax your brain’

Those are some of my tricks when studying for exams or interviews.

jlm11f's avatar

@wildflower – stop studying a whole day before the test????? i would fail

wildflower's avatar

Don’t know about you, but anything I cram in there in the last day just stays at the chaos stage of my brain – I find it’s a lot more efficient to get your thinking in order and rely on what you’ve already stuffed in there.

MooKoo's avatar

Write down what you learn. Writing is a very helpful tool for remembering things. Not so you can come back and read what you have written, that’s just an extra benefit, but writing something down, encourages your mind, somehow, to prioritize what you have written at a higher… remembrance level, if you would.

Writing things down, simply helps you remember those things better. :)

flameboi's avatar

*sugar flakes and redbull
*24 hours of rest before the test gets you the best
*For most of my classes I don’t even touch a book, I go to almost every class and I try to pay attention
*Try to be relaxed, when you freak out, things can go awry
*a kissing session, for educational purposes

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TheLastOfTheFamous's avatar

One thing I have found that is very useful in studying and for finding what method works best for you,is to know how your brain takes in information best. Some people have to hear out loud to learn while others need visuals. There is also some who relate the information to things in nature and some need to make songs about the information (like the alphabet song). If you learn by sound, I suggest having a friend or family member quiz you on the information. If you learn by sight, like me, I usually will write down the important information on a flash card or something and will just read it over and over until I can say what is on the card without looking at it.

flash74686's avatar

When I have to learn vocab and terms, I use quizlet.com I learn much faster with it than I usually do with any other technique. Also, along with flashcards, you can make practice tests and play games with your words, so it’s much more fun than just going over terms over and over again.

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