Improve Your Studying Skills

Above All, Review Regularly and Plan To Study Ahead, So That the Night Before an Exam, All You Do Is Review Material. Avoid All - Nighters! These Study Tips include:

  1. Good Study Habits
  2. Preparing for Exams
  3. Ten Traps of Studying

Study Habits

  1. Decide what to study (reasonable task) and how long or how many (chapters, pages, problems, etc.). Set and stick to deadlines.
  2. Do difficult tasks first. For procrastination, start off with an easy, interesting aspect of the project.
  3. Have special places to study. Take into consideration lighting, temperature, and availability of materials.
  4. Study 50 minutes, and then take a 10 minute break. Stretch, relax, have an energy snack.
  5. Allow longer, "massed" time periods for organizing relationships and concepts, outlining, and writing papers. Use shorter, "spaced" time intervals for rote memorization, review, and self-testing. Use odd moments for recall/review.
  6. If you get tired or bored, switch task/activity, subject, or environment. Stop studying when you are no longer being productive.
  7. Do rote memory tasks and review, especially details, just before you fall asleep.
  8. Study with a friend. Quiz each other, compare notes and predicted test questions.

Preparing for Exams

  1. When the Exam is Announced:
  2. Exam Study:
  3. Preparation by Type of Exam:

Ten Traps of Studying

1."I Don't Know Where To Begin"

Take Control. Make a list of all the things you have to do. Break your workload down into manageable chunks. Prioritize! Schedule your time realistically. Don't skip classes near an exam -- you may miss a review session. Use that hour in between cla sses to review notes. Interrupt study time with planned study breaks. Begin studying early, with an hour or two per day, and slowly build as the exam approaches.

2. "I've Got So Much To Study . . . And So Little Time"

Preview. Survey your syllabus, reading material, and notes. Identify the most important topics emphasized, and areas still not understood. Previewing saves time, especially with non-fiction reading, by helping you organize and focus in on the main topi cs. Adapt this method to your own style and study material, but remember, previewing is not an effective substitute for reading.

3. "This Stuff Is So Dry, I Can't Even Stay Awake Reading It"

Attack! Get actively involved with the text as you read. Ask yourself, "What is important to remember about this section?" Take notes or underline key concepts. Discuss the material with others in your class. Study together. Stay on the offensive, e specially with material that you don't find interesting, rather than reading passively and missing important points.

4. "I Read It. I Understand It. But I Just Can't Get It To Sink In"

Elaborate. We remember best the things that are most meaningful to us. As you are reading, try to elaborate upon new information with your own examples. Try to integrate what you're studying with what you already know. You will be able to remember new material better if you can link it to something that's already meaningful to you. Some techniques include:

5. "I Guess I Understand It"

Test yourself. Make up questions about key sections in notes or reading. Keep in mind what the professor has stressed in the course. Examine the relationships between concepts and sections. Often, simply by changing section headings you can generate m any effective questions. For example, a section entitled "Bystander Apathy" might be changed into questions such as: "What is bystander apathy?", "What are the causes of bystander apathy?", and "What are some examples of bystander apathy?"

6. "There's Too Much To Remember"

Organize. Information is recalled better if it is represented in an organized framework that will make retrieval more systematic. There are many techniques that can help you organize new information, including:

7. "I Knew It A Minute Ago"

Review. After reading a section, try to recall the information contained in it. Try answering the questions you made up for that section. If you cannot recall enough, re-read portions you had trouble remembering. The more time you spend studying, the more you tend to recall. Even after the point where information can be pe rfectly recalled, further study makes the material less likely to be forgotten entirely. In other words, you can't overstudy. However, how you organize and integrate new information is still more important than how much time you spend studying.

8. "But I Like To Study In Bed"

Context. Recall is better when study context (physical location, as well as mental, emotional, and physical state) are similar to the test context. The greater the similarity between the study setting and the test setting, the greater the likelihood tha t material studied will be recalled during the test.

9. "Cramming Before A Test Helps Keep It Fresh In My Mind"

Spacing: Start studying now. Keep studying as you go along. Begin with an hour or two a day about one week before the exam, and then increase study time as the exam approaches. Recall increases as study time gets spread out over time.

10. "I'm Gonna Stay Up All Night 'til I Get This"

Avoid Mental Exhaustion. Take short breaks often when studying. Before a test, have a rested mind. When you take a study break, and just before you go to sleep at night, don't think about academics. Relax and unwind, mentally and physically. Otherwis e, your break won't refresh you and you'll find yourself lying awake at night. It's more important than ever to take care of yourself before an exam! Eat well, sleep, and get enough exercise.