Learning the Material
Read the course materials and texts. You should have a textbook for each course, and your instructor could also assign other books or articles for you to read. Don’t skim the texts or read a summary. Good study habits require that you read all of the assigned texts.
- If you can, highlight the important parts of the texts.
- Research anything you don’t understand, and look up confusing vocabulary. Make yourself a flashcard on the spot so that you’ll have it for later.
Take and review notes, filling in gaps with your own research. During class and as you read the course materials, write down the key points and topics you want to further research later. When you get home from school, it’s a good idea to go through your notes from the day and try to fill in any gaps where you missed items or didn’t quite understand. As you study for your exams, look up any information that isn’t clear to you so that you can get more information.
- It’s crucial that you review the information in the weeks and days leading up to the exam. The more you revisit the information, the more it will become internalized and easier to remember.
Record your class lectures on a digital recorder or your phone. You can then listen to the recordings as often as you need to so that you grasp the material. You can also fill in the gaps in your notes.
- Check with your teacher or professor to make sure that it’s okay to record the lecture.
- Don’t use this as an excuse to not take notes during class. You should still take notes to help yourself learn the material.
Make yourself flash cards. Flash cards are a great way to study your material, especially vocabulary, key points, and lists. For example, you could put scientific processes, mathematical formulas, or historical figures that you need to know on flash cards.
- Try using index cards to make your flash cards, or cut up a piece of paper.
- Additionally, you could use an online tool like quiz to create flashcards and practice quizzes.
Make mind maps.
Mind maps are graphical illustrations of your topic and a great memory tool to use, especially during exams. For example, you can create a web connecting the ideas you’re studying, or create a doodle based on your notes. Be creative in how you arrange your notes when you make your mind map.
Ask someone to quiz you.
When you get closer to your exam, ask a parent, friend, or your teacher to quiz you over the information. You can create example questions for them to ask you, have them question you from the review, or let them question you from your notes. This will show you if you need to review any topics before the actual exam.
Adjust your study habits depending on the type of exam.
You may be taking a multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, essay, short answer, or other type of exam. Many exams incorporate more than one style of question.
- For a multiple choice exam, make lists and tables, know the differences between concepts and words, and know how topics are related to each other.
- For a fill-in-the-blank exam, focus on your notes because most teachers take their questions from the notes they provide. You should expect your teacher to remove an important word or words from a sentence, such as a term, date, phrase, or historical figure.
- For an essay or short answer exam, pay attention to what your instructor emphasized in class. Write out what you know about this topic and do additional research if necessary. Use the syllabus, study guide, and textbook summary of the material to make a list of possible questions. Create a study list for each possible essay question