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The Big Four Study Tips


Study Tip #1: SPACING

  • It is better to spend 15 minutes a day studying for four days than it is to spend an hour studying all at once.
    • This doesn’t mean you have to study for more time, just over more periods of time
  • Our brains tend to forget what we learn in the beginning. So, the first time we learn it, we usually forget it (even if we studied for a really long time).
  • There is no detriment to waiting (even a long time) between study sessions

 

Study Tip #2: INTERWEAVING

  • Don’t study CHEM, CHEM, CHEM, CHEM then BIO, BIO, BIO, BIO,  then MATH, MATH, MATH, MATH, etc. Interweave them. Start with math…switch to reading…switch to science…switch back to math.
  • But…won’t I forget what I studied in Chem when I switch to Bio, or Math?
    • YES!!!
      • Forgetting and re-learning actually helps you learn better!

 

Study Tip #3: TESTING

  • A lot of times, testing gets a bad reputation, but it is the single-most-effective way to know whether or not you know the material that you’ve learned.
  • Study your material…wait at least ten minutes (longer wait is actually better) before testing yourself.
  • Sometimes, we think we know the material. When we reread it, we think “Oh, yeah…I know this”.
    • Quizzing yourself lets you know where your gaps in knowledge are, and what you really know.

 

Study Tip #4: OVERLEARNING

  • Even after you know the material, you must continue to study it. You don’t just want to learn the material. You want to overlearn it.
  • You want some of the processes to become automatic. This frees us room in your mind to work on more complex things.

 

Things To Look Out For:

  • This will be hard. It’s about learning, not about just good grades. This is a long-term plan.
  • Expect an initial dip in grades
  • Just re-reading is not effective (it’s better to use this time to quiz yourself)
  • Nothing beats hard work and practice. Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice!


What To Do Before The Test!


STEP 1: Begin studying more than just a few days before the exam. When you’re looking through the material for your classes make a list of:

  1. Main Ideas/Objectives
    a. These can come from the syllabus, chapter headings, lecture titles, etc.


STEP 2: Bring your list to your instructor during office hours and ask:

  1. What am I missing?
  2. What should I focus on?

 

STEP 3Develop questions, and self-test

  1. Go back through your course materials (book, lectures, powerpoints, etc.) and generate questions about the material.
    a. One good way to do this is to read a paragraph or page in your textbook, and then generate 1-2 questions based on what you just read.
  2. These questions can become your study guide for the class, and since they’re based on the materials, if you can’t figure out the answer you can always go back and check!
  3. Remember that a lot of instructors look for application more than just recall, so make sure that your questions test whether or not you really know the material!