Somewhere in the transition between high school and college, there is a time when we all have to learn how to actually study. College exams are much harder than high school ones, and you can’t get by without studying (or barely studying). Instead of having to learn this the hard way, you can use my 5 step study method!
My senior year of high school, I started taking concurrent courses. I took 6 college courses over the course of the year along with my normal high school courses. My first semester I dived into psychology, government, and college algebra. I was really optimistic and so excited to be taking some college courses! Then comes along my first psychology test. I studied my material like I did with my high school homework–I tried to memorize it. I read my textbook, and I honestly just expected to be able to pass the test simply because of that. However, I was wrong. I came out of my first college test grief stricken because I had just gotten my very first C.
This experience made me realize that I didn’t really know how to study. I knew how to memorize things, but I didn’t really know how to study and retain what was learning. Can anyone relate?
With my lesson learned, I ventured to find a study method that would help me to do better on my tests. After some trial and error, I finally figured out the study method that helped me to finish the year with a 4.0, and now I want to share it with you! Here is the method that I use to ace all of my tests (and you can too)!
Step #1: Rewrite Your Notes
A while ago I read somewhere that it is helpful to rewrite your notes. Well, at the time, I was like “um no that’s way too much work.” Then I got into this class and I only took my notes on my Chromebook and I thought I would be fine and be able to retain all of the information that I was typing. I was wrong. So, I decided to try that method. I started rewriting my notes, and reorganizing the information into categories so that it would make more sense. It worked wonders! I went from getting a B’s on my tests to getting a perfect score on my next two exams!
Step #2: Read Through Your New Notes
This one is sort of a no brainer. After you rewrite your notes, read them. You might think “isn’t rewriting them enough?” I wish, but no. When you’re rewriting them it’s just a big jumble of information at once and people tend to focus on writing things down rather than thinking about what they’re writing. In order to retain the most information and give yourself the best chance of acing your exam, you need to read through your notes!
Step #3: Mark Your Notes
After you’ve read through them at least once, go back through and mark your notes up. Do things like highlight, circle, underline, or really however you want to do it. When I am doing this, I usually categorize things by using certain shapes. For example, if I am studying history I will put a cloud around all of the names of people, put a box around places, and underline vocabulary words. I also categorize things by using different colors of highlighter! I will usually just highlight the things that I think I need to study the most (or else I get sort of highlighter crazy and my whole page ends up as a rainbow). Marking up your paper will really help you sort between the information in your brain, and if you need to go back and look for a certain thing in your notes it makes it so much easier to find!
Step #4: Imagine Questions
This is something that I learned to do in my chemistry class. While you’re studying your notes, try to imagine questions that your professor could ask about information. For example, let’s say what you have in your notes is “dogs are cute” then you would ask yourself “what effect does a dog’s cuteness have on it’s ability to be adopted?” or “what makes a dog cute?” Professors expect you to understand information, not just memorize what they said in class. When using this method, you will probably have to look up the answers to your questions, and this will really help you better comprehend the topic and gives you a better chance of getting difficult questions right on exams!
Step #5: Use Online Study Guides/ Quizzes
Taking online quizzes has been a big help to me when preparing for exams. There are a lot of people in the world who have studied the same information, and a lot of people post their study guides online. Quizlet is where I go to look for study guides and quizzes, and most of the time I can find exactly what I’m looking for! I just type in my textbook name and the chapter that the exam is over and a bunch of options pop up! You can also just type in what the test will be over and you’ll find lots of stuff to study! Likewise, you can type it into google and will get the same results. 🙂 but you ~tech savvy~ people knew that.
Wishing you the best of luck on your next exam, and hopefully you choose to try this study method! Let me know in the comments below if you choose to try it! If you want to read more about studying, head over to my post 6 Secrets to Help you Study More Productively.
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