The sheer thought of studying can cause a student to stress out. Whether it’s a midterm, final, or a short quiz on Monday it is important to make the most out of your studying time. Many people have their own preferences but here are some study methods that have got me through my college life and beyond.
1. Index Cards
It boggles my mind that some people do not immediately see the inherent value in index cards. They’re easy to carry, quick to flip through, and they help your memory in different ways. These cards work particularly well when you need to study vocabulary or specific definitions. I also add an extra layer by color coding different sections or subjects. If I need to go over different periods in history, my favorite color would write the 1800’s facts because that’s the area I know least about. Index cards also work better for studying compared to post-it notes because if you need to study on the go, you can just pull them out of your backpack and begin! This is one of the most useful study methods!
A lot of the time the most valuable tool when studying is repetition. If you work better in long form, consider simply rewriting your notes. It may seem like a mindless task at the time but writing the words again forces you to clarify some of your class notes that are incomplete or it reminds me of subjects you may have forgotten about from the beginning of the semester. Much like rewriting someone’s name so you don’t have to keep asking them again and again, the same rules apply here!
3. Question Game
When you are fortunate enough to receive a somewhat structured study guide for a test, it can be helpful to have another person randomize the questions for you. Staring at a study guide is not going to help the information magically soak into your brain. Having a person you trust sit across from you and ask questions from bottom to top or completely at random can test your recall skills. This is one of the best study methods!
4. Reliable Online Practice Tests
Maybe the study guide isn’t comprehensive enough for you so you decide to go a simple google search on Romantic Poets for example. Sometimes other students will post online quizzes or practice tests with varying questions that you can use as extra material. However, it is important to note website names and note if they are free to use. Any paid services or suspicious sounding links should be avoided at all costs.
5. Mentally Prepare
Getting into the right headspace is essential to getting the most out of any study method and to help reduce procrastination. Maybe you need to get all your household chores done before you start studying, that’s okay if you actually do them! Set a time limit to when and how often you are going to study before your test. This will create a routine that you will be able to enter with ease instead of trying to cram at the last minute.
6. The Power of Music
If you are like me, having a version of white noise playing helps you focus. Consider creating a playlist of songs that you know well and create a positive reaction. Sometimes if you play the latest music full of tracks you don’t know all the lyrics to it can be more distracting because you become more invested in figuring out the words instead of studying. If you’re lucky maybe replaying your study playlist the morning of your test will bring the facts flooding in!
7. Consider Environment
Decide where you are most focused. It could be in your room, at the library, or a small table outside a café. No matter the location, you should be able to limit yourself to a place where studying is the only priority. This sense of discipline will help you later in life and will increase your awareness of the purpose of different locations.
8. Fill in the Blank
Asking questions in different forms can elicit different reactions. This works well with questions that sound tricky or have more than one answer. Have a fellow classmate or member of your study group create a fill in the blank sheet with a few questions for you to fill in. If you find that this method works, return the favor and create a fill in the blank for them!
Studying can be hard but once you find the right study methods, you will get through it with ease! Let us know which ones you use below!
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Rebecca was born in Hayward, CA and still resides there today. She received her BA in English Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is the first in her family to graduate from university. She is a Poetry student in the MFA program at Saint Mary’s College of California and is furthering her involvement in the literary community. In her spare time, she likes to lose her voice at Giants games, read Young Adult novels, make lists, and aims to cross become a writer off it.