Ever study for a test for hours and get a lower grade than the person who skimmed their notes just before the test? It’s not you; it’s how you’re studying.
According to howtostudy.org, everyone learns differently, so how one person studies isn’t how everyone should. In fact, different subjects require different techniques to help you retain the information you need to get the score you want.
“For my government class, I make flashcards – any test with vocabulary, I usually make flashcards,” says sophomore Ashley Davis.
Flashcards are a great study tool and can really help with memorization. Make sure you’re putting the definitions in your own words to help you understand and remember. You can also try drawing pictures on the flashcards to jog your memory.
Creating acronyms to help you remember a process or list can be fun and very helpful. Acronyms like NASA (National Aeronautic Space Administration) can make it easier to remember names or processes. Just make sure you don’t spend all your time trying to think up acronyms when you could be studying.
For any test that requires you to know concepts or techniques, it’s a good idea to create concept maps to help you understand how things affect each other. Don’t just focus on the vocabulary. Focus on how the terms are related to each other. Looking at the bigger picture is more beneficial than the small details.
If you know your test is going to be a mixture of multiple choice, short answer, and essay, study as if it were an essay-only test. By writing out the details, you’re committing to memory the information you need to know for the multiple choice and the short answer. Bonus: you’ve already written your practice essay and can recall what you wrote.
Usually, your professors will not tell you what to focus on for your test. This is where taking good notes comes into play. If your professor decided to show a picture from your book in the lecture, make sure you look it over. Chances are if it was discussed and shown on the PowerPoint, it’s something that may pop up on your test.
Pay attention to how many times your professor repeats a concept or phrase. Make sure you write it down and study it. Professors give little cues on what to study during their lectures. If they stress a particular topic, study it. Sometimes they’ll even say “this will be on the test.”
Perhaps you can’t seem to find a nice quiet place to study. With our library still under renovation, it’s easy to forget that we have a library at Gerhart where you can find a quiet environment in which to study. The Student Memorial Center, McComsey Hall, Stayer Hall, and the Winter Center all have plenty of rooms that are open to students
where you can study without being disturbed.
If you don’t want to walk, turn your dorm room into a study space. Hide your remote, turn your TV away from you, turn off your iPod, and clean off your desk. By eliminating distractions, you can focus on your work.
Some people can’t study in total silence, however.
“I study with my music on in my room. I use ear-buds so I don’t disturb my roommate and my music helps me focus,” says Ashley Davis.
Everyone studies differently, but if your grades aren’t the ones you want, it might be time to change your study habits.