I have always had a hard time with studying. When I was home-schooled, my mom even had me take courses to learn different approaches to studying. When I first came to UAH, I was surprised when I spoke to other students and learned that many still did not know how to study.
Since I have learned a few methods and tips that assist with studying, I would like to put a few things out there for fellow students:
- Try Studyblue.com – Studyblue.com has flashcards for quizzing yourself. I have found that it really helps to organize the information visually by using flash cards. It also has a really cool interface!
- Acting it out – Walking in a pattern, pacing the room, dancing, reciting aloud and using a series of different movements that will remind you of a definition, etc. Each thing you need to memorize gets its own pattern.
- Coming up with obscure similarities – For example, I have always remembered that the definition for “value” on an art final I had to take once is “the difference between light and dark.” I can remember this because I imagined Darth Vader jogging on the sidewalk outside of Spragins Hall. Though some may find this definition an easy thing to memorize, I have a more difficult time because I have bad memory. Making visual references has proven to help me a lot.
- Music – Some people can concentrate while listening to music, others cannot. For me, I have found that it is best to listen to music while organizing notes, but not while memorizing.
- Stress management – Do one thing at a time! Multitasking while studying never works. It is easiest to remember things when you are studying if you have full concentration. Set aside 3-4 hours at LEAST and commit to studying for that long. You should do this preferably two days before your test, then the day before, and, if possible, even the day of your test.
- Review your notes – Re-read the notes you took, re-write or highlight the most important points, and put sticky notes marking different sections that you are reviewing.
- Whiteboards – Whiteboards help a lot in diagramming things and organizing topics precisely and clearly within your mind.
Breathe! Knowing your material will definitely make you feel more confident. Studying thoroughly makes you feel so excited! Today, I was feeling so confident for my exam that I was skipping down the halls (of my house) before my Art History test. I felt sooo completely ready. I feel like it is a major accomplishment for me!
Good luck on your finals!