Helpful Studying and Memory Tips

While you might’ve received straight A’s during high school, college is an entirely different playing field. Don’t be discouraged if at first your grades aren’t usually what you’re accustomed to. It’s not that you don’t have the ability to do great, but perhaps you just need to tweak your study habits and skills. Here are some common and effective ways you can absorb and retain information come test time.

Whatever subject you’re studying for, it’s imperative that you do not cram. Staying up till 3 a.m. studying for an exam that is scheduled later on that day is the worst thing you could possibly do. Chances are you won’t be able to retain the information in enough time and despite the old wives’ tale, you will not magically absorb the information using your textbook as a pillow either. Exams are scheduled about a month apart from one another because professors want to give you adequate time to process and remember the information. Studying the material as professors administer it is your best bet. This includes staying on top of the chapter readings and reviewing your lecture notes every day.

Using mnemonic devices during your study ritual is also a great way to improve your grades substantially. A mnemonic device is a learning technique that encourages you to create songs, rhymes, or jokes to help you remember specific material. A popular example is: In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. You can also use the elaborative rehearsal learning technique. Similar to a mnemonic device, you make what you are studying relevant to something that is meaningful to you, like a memory, so you can remember the information better.

It’s also important to not forget to study the charts, graphs and or photographs featured in your textbook. Sometimes these visual aids can assist you in remembering valuable information on the tests. If there aren’t diagrams or charts in your book, go ahead and create your own in your notes. You can do this using highlighters, multi-colored pens and drawing cartoons — anything that will help you categorize and remember the information.

While quizzing your study partner is an effective way to study, sometimes it’s better if you actually re-teach the information in your own words to your study buddy. You’ll test yourself to see if you are prepared for the exam and your study partner will be able to relearn the information from another source.

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