Over my collegiate career I have found that there are so many different types of college studiers.
You have the students who are sipping on Starbucks strongest brew and look like they haven’t slept in days. They are ready to get the test so they can fill it out and finally sleep for longer than two hours.
You have the studier with ten thousand neatly color coded index cards, they are trying to soak in the last bits of knowledge they can before they regurgitate all the information on the test.
You have the quizzers, the really prepared people, who are thinking of questions you never dreamed of thinking about. You sit around at all these characters and begin to doubt how well you prepared. Maybe that really obscure question they thought of from line 115 of page 100 will be on the test.
What if’s start running through your head and you wonder if you really prepared as well as you thought you did. Or is this just me that notices the angst of test day?
As an extremely oratory learner I never really have a hard time in lecture based classes. Throw me in a lab and I begin to struggle a little, but I can be easily lifted up if given clear, concise instructions. These study tips might not work for you, but they do for me. This is how I tend to study for any test thrown my way.
Using the Syllabus as a course map
The syllabus is your best bet when it comes to learning how to study for certain classes. Use your syllabus as your course map, because it tells you what is really important. If you have three tests in three different classes one week you can gauge what tests you need to work the hardest in by observing your syllabus. Make sure you keep up with your syllabus throughout the year and look back at it periodically so you can look to see how much that test is worth in the long run versus how much the paper is worth that you’ve been putting off all week.
Listening/Taking Notes in Class
Class time is very valuable for me. I learn about 60 to 80 percent of my information in class. I always pay attention to the teacher and try to keep side distractions like cell phones to a bare minimum. Sometimes I find that thumbing around on a cell phone helps, but only if the teacher is extremely boring! I try to always keep my cell phone out of sight. I jot down notes, but for the most part I listen to what the teacher says. A “joke” or a real joke that a teacher says may help trigger memory on the test so I always try to take what the teacher says into heavy consideration as I am listening and storing away information. Writing down important information also helps seal in the knowledge into my brain. Writing the information down and listening in class helps me remember it so there is little work for me to do later.
Obviously since I am an oratory learner reading the material aloud helps me study a lot. I actually read really loud in the library once and a girl had to come tap on my study room door to get me to shut up (those things aren’t sound proof?) Obviously this study tip is not the best one if you are studying in a library and people are trying to study around you, but if you are in your room and it helps to hear things for you it’s a good tip. Be careful though because reading aloud can tend to slow you down a bit so sometimes I just narrate in my head and don’t actually speak anything aloud.
This one is a little strange, but I found that it really helped me in my History classes. In History classes you often have to remember a lot about certain events. I would sit with my study guides in the library and make up colorful dialogue with the history stories. I would consider them stories and fluff them up into more memorable scenes by adding fake dialogue to them in my head. When you do this make sure you are adding in all the facts that you are trying to study into the story, because after all you won’t be graded on how well you made up stories.
Learning what doesn’t work for me
Over the years I have studied my study habits and I have come up with things that just don’t work for me. Index cards are not my friend and neither are all-nighters. I get hand cramps by the time I am writing the twentieth index card and I like my sleep before test. I also realize that studying right before the test doesn’t help me either. You have the students with their nose stuck to their study guide until their teacher starts to give them the test, but I don’t do that. I put away my study guide well before the test; I can’t really learn anything in ten minutes anyway. I think about happy thoughts or I browse Pinterest. Puppies and desert recipes are the only things I want to think about right before I delve into a test!
Using Study Guides
If you’re teacher is kind enough to give you a study guide, use the study guide. If a teacher gives study guides sometimes I will cut back on my reading until I get the study guide, then read only the parts of the book listed on the study guide. It does depend on what type of school you go to, though, because some teachers are a lot sneakier…but you can gauge that once you actually get in class.
Get to know your teacher
Being in sync with your teacher has to be an important studying technique. If you are in sync with your teacher you can begin to tell the kinds of things they will likely have on the test. If you know your teacher is a hard question maker you tend to study a little harder for their test. You don’t have to get attached at the waist to your teacher, but get to know their personality and reputation and it will give you ideas on how to study for that test.
Always Learning More about Learning
Every summer I browse the web for books to read about learning, studying, and college. I use the summer as my time to learn about learning. Normally I wouldn’t have time to read books about studying when I should be studying but during the summer I have time to brush up on my study techniques. Think of learning as a lifelong experience that can always be brushed up on!