I cannot tell you how many teachers I have had over the years who have cited the studies that show that the act of writing down information helps you commit it to memory. That being the case, write down anything you need to remember. If you need to remember facts, use flashcards. Make sure you make these flashcards by hand. As easy as it may be to print information, writing things yourself really helps. As I mentioned before, moving around can really help. I do a lot of theatre and when I need to memorize lines, I pace back and forth. That may work for you too.
Work it out
When working on a paper, the best advice I have is to plan ahead. Don’t start with a thesis and try to make everything else fit it. Start with a brainstorm and your thesis will come. Write down all the ideas you have about this paper. From there, see how these ideas relate to each other. You should be able to find topics that can all fall under one thesis. Then, flesh it out. Create an outline. If you need to use quotes in your paper, an outline is a great way to see which quotes will fit where. If you are using quotes, remember to cite your sources! (I cannot stress this enough, especially for college students). Ask yourself questions. Does this make sense? Is that a logical argument? Do these ideas build on each other or contradict each other? A good exercise is to talk to another person. Explain your thoughts to a friend, family member, roommate, classmate, or innocent bystander and see if they have any questions. This will help you find holes in your argument, or parts of your paper that you need to further emphasize. It will also help you find a natural flow to your paper.
Fuel the Engine
Environment is very important when it comes to studying. When you are working, do it in a setting that is suitable. For me, it’s difficult to work in my bedroom because that’s a place where I sleep and hang out and watch movies, etc. It’s not a place that I’m used to working in. Think about possible distractions. I like to work alone in a quiet place. However, I know people who work best when there’s a lot of stuff going on around them. Maybe you work best with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 In D Minor playing on repeat, maybe Kanye West’s latest album keeps you focused. Whatever inspired you. Work in a room with a comfortable temperature. Opening the windows allows fresh air in, which can help keep the room from feeling to stuffy. The main point is work in a place that is applicable to your needs.
Make sure that you are comfortable. If your focus is on your itchy foot or your sore neck, you will not work as well. When you are studying or working on a project, dress in clothes that you can sit comfortably in and that won’t distract you. If you get cold easily, wear a sweatshirt. If you get hot easily, wear short sleeves or a tank top. Wear slippers or go barefoot. Whatever works for you. I always pull my hair back and wear my glasses when I’m working on something. It’s a habit that started years ago and now anytime I pull my hair back and wear my glasses, I’m ready to work.
Writing a Paper
Good luck, everyone! Don’t stress too much. Remember that as important as it is to do well, it is also important to keep your sanity. One test will not keep you from achieving your life-long dreams. Just do your best.
i agree completly with the facts and opionions stated about study habits. I think if i would have had better study habits i could be a better student.
Location, Location, Location
“There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.” – Bertrand Russell
The very best advice I have for you is something my dad told me when he called as I was working on two papers last weekend. He said, “Know what works for you.” That means that if you have study methods that work for you, use them! Better yet, post a comment and share your tips with everyone. The tips below are just some things that I’ve learned work for me, but everyone is different.
Whether you are using books to study or writing an analysis of a piece of literature, there are a few ways to keep yourself organized. Use a system of marking pages and taking notes. You can find little brightly-colored “flags” to stick on pages in the office aisle of your local drugstore. If you can write in the book you are using, highlight or underline specific quotes and writing note in the margin. If you will be returning the book, then as you flag the pages, keep a notebook handy to take down notes about specific quotes or passages. You can also use full-sized Post-It notes so you can write notes right by the next without using a separate notebook.
Hello all! Classes and finals have ended for me, and I am now writing to you from my home in California rather than my school in Massachusetts. While I may be done with school for the year and enjoying my summer, I know that many of you are still finishing up. That being the case, here’s some tips to help you make it through finals and get those grades!
I think you will agree that all foods have a time and place. Pancakes are for breakfast, ice cream is for dessert, etc. You may also realize that certain foods have a mental effect. You may have “comfort foods,” foods that make you feel good. When you’re throwing a party, I bet there are certain foods you think to buy. The same goes for studying. You need fuel to keep your mind going. Plus the movement of eating can help you work better because it engages another part of your mind. Studies show that chewing gum can help, especially for you kinesthetic learners. When you need food, instead of reaching for a bag of chips, try toast with peanut butter and banana slices on top, a personal favorite. Toast gives you carbs, peanut butter has protein, and the banana provides potassium, all of which are great energy boosters. I also like eating apples cut into cubes because it feel like a snack; you can just pop a piece into your mouth when you need it. Most people, myself included, need their caffeine. Keep in mind that too much caffeine makes it hard to sleep, and you need your sleep during finals. I find that green tea is great for working on a paper or project. A cup of green tea has about 1/3 of the caffeine as a cup of coffee. Plus the act of drinking something works for me the way gum chewing does. It keeps your body and therefore another part of your brain active.
All About You
Some teachers make studying for their tests easier by giving you a study guide. If you are provided with a study guide, use it! Your instructor gave it to you to help you. If you are not given a study guide, make your own. Go over your notes and whatever information you have about the test itself and create a study guide. Get a study group together with some of your classmates and put your heads (and notes) together. Break up the work and then have everyone teach each other. Quiz each other. Bounce ideas off each other. Whatever works!
Studying can involved quite a bit of sitting, which can leave you sore and tired. As important as it is to stay focused, remember to stand up and move when you need to. In fact, if you need to memorize something, walking around can really help. If you’re working on a paper, change the way you’re sitting every now and then. When you find a good stopping point, take a break to stretch.
- Hitting the Books
- Working with Books
- Studying for a Test