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Five Awesome Tips for Effective Studying
- Take good notes. What are good notes? It can be tempting during class to either try to sit back and simply “absorb” material or to capture every single thing that the teacher says. Both are a bad idea. A. You’re not a sponge and you’re not going to remember the bulk of the information covered in class after you leave. B. If you try to write down everything, you’ll miss the chance to ask questions and actually think about the material you’re covering and you’re inevitably going to miss something, probably important. Good notes are specific, concise, and most importantly, memory joggers.
- Review your notes. Even the best of notes are useless if you never look at them again once you take them. Try to review your notes a few hours after class and then every day or every other day for a few minutes. If you’re familiar with them, you won’t be caught cramming right before the exam!
- Plan for study breaks. Cramming is a bad idea. Trying to process too much information at once lowers your overall retention of the material. A good ratio is 45 minutes of studying to 15 minutes of break time. This keeps your motivation up and your focus sharp.
- Skim a chapter for major ideas before you read it. Before you read a chapter, go through a look at major headings, subheadings, and bolded sentences. This will help you read more effectively, by making you aware of the author’s main points and ideas. It’s also a good idea to read any study questions at the back of the chapter before you read.
- Be engaged with the class material. Take the time to read the chapters, take notes, and come to class with any questions you might have.