Five Study Factors That Work!
May 10, 2010 Study Skills 2245 Views
The turning from April to May brings about many changes - some in the weather, some in the sports we play, and some in the frenzy with which school students and teachers across the country find themselves operating. That frenzy is often related to a realization that there are some final exams looming ahead, and even in the best of situations, students may feel a need to so some extra studying or reviewing. Ideally they will have been using effective study methods throughout the course, taking good notes, organizing their content into systems of learning that work, etc., but often before a big exam, that frenzy increases anyway. To decrease that frenzied feeling, begin using these strategies now.
First of all, realize that cramming is never effective. Study consistently, study methodically, but study! If you have three days before the exam, start now, not on the last day. If you have three weeks, even better - begin now! Spreading out the information into smaller pieces will be the most effective study habit you can use.
Secondly, many students find that soothing music in the background actually helps them to study better. It will keep your mind more at ease and less distracted, increasing your concentration on the matters at hand. So, consider using music in your study habits - you can even sing the content of what you are learning while you learn it, which is another proven memory tool.
Thirdly, don't lie down on your bed or recliner to study. It indicates to your brain that you are about to rest or sleep, not think and learn. The most effective study position is the same one in which you worked with the material on a daily basis. That will probably mean sitting up, sitting on the edge of your chair, or even walking around, but in an alert, "active" posture that tells your brain to pay attention, not shut down.
Fourth, learn to say no to outside distractions. You set your own schedule, so set a schedule that will work for you to learn all that you need to learn. Fun things are fun, but study needs should come first. Schedule your time that way, and then stick to your schedule.
And finally, use the "30-5-3" guideline for those extra study sessions. Study the material for 30 minutes, take a five minute break where you think or do other things, and then get back to studying with the first 3 minutes devoted to reviewing the last session's reading and reviewing. This will reinforce and perpetuate your knowledge of the material, keeping it in short spurts so as not to overwhelm you, and methodically chip away at the content to be learned.
There are other strategies as well, but these five tips will be highly effective in managing your time and your subject matter as you begin to wrap up the final weeks in your semester. Final exams don't have to be intimidating when you have a plan. Apply these tips now, and feel more confident as you move into those tests in a few weeks!