The most common problem encountered by students after high school is a lack of effective techniques for study and exam preparation. Of course everyone is different and not all techniques are a one size fits all. But if you haven't found your niche as to how to go about studying then the following tips may come in handy, which you can obviously manipulate to fit your style of learning.
- 1. Take Good Note Always take the notes for a particular class in the same notebook. Date each entry into your notebook. It is usually best to keep the notes for different classes separate from each other. Your notes should contain a complete record of what the lecturer said as far as possible. Of course, you should not try to write every word spoken, but don't leave out ideas. When you study, your notes should call back to your mind the entire sequence of ideas presented. Take care to spell all new words carefully. Anything the lecturer writes on the board should appear in your notes. If the lecturer took the time to write it out, he or she considers it important. You should do the same. If possible, try to take your notes in some kind of outline form. The organization of ideas is as important as the content of those ideas, especially when it comes to learning the material for an exam. You might find it useful to have a second color of pen or pencil available for highlighting important ideas.2. Review your notes every day.This suggestion is one which we have all heard a thousand times. Unfortunately, most of us never really believe it until we actually try it. Spend 30 minutes or so each evening going over the notes from each class. There are at least two tremendous benefits to be gained from this discipline. Research has shown that reviewing new material within 24 hours of hearing it increases your retention of that material by about 60%. This means that you will be 60% ahead of the game the next time you walk into class. If you want to significantly reduce the time necessary to prepare for exams, this is the way to effectively do it
3. Be Independent and Take Initiative Don't expect your lecturer to give you detailed, page by page textbook assignments. While some may do so, many do not. Lecturers are much more likely to expect you to use your own initiative in making use of the text. In most cases, it will be most useful for you to at least skim the relevant chapters before each lecture. When you first approach a chapter, page through it fairly quickly, noting boldface headings and subheadings, examining figures, illustrations, charts, etc., and thinking about any highlighted vocabulary terms and concepts. 4. Preparing Assignments Here's another thing we have all been told thousands of times: Don't leave assignments until the day before they are due! If you have a paper to write or a lab report to prepare, begin it as soon as possible. Remember that many papers or projects require quite a bit of research before you can even begin writing. In most cases, it is impossible to accomplish the necessary preparation in one day or even one week. Be aware of the appearance of the work you submit. You should want to be proud of every assignment you submit, and that includes being proud of its appearance. If possible, assignments should always be typed. Never turn in an assignment written in pencil. Pages torn out of notebooks are sloppy and not good to look at.
- 5. Preparing for ExamsKeep in mind that you want to be an active learner, not a passive one. The more you use and manipulate the information, the better you will understand it. Do not wait until the night before an exam to study! Of course, you should be regularly reviewing your notes, but the preparation still takes time. You need to learn to handle all testing styles--including the dreaded essay exam! While going through your notes it is important to highlight major topics and subtopics with the intention of generating an over all outline of your notes. The least efficient approach to studying is to attempt to memorize your notes from beginning to end. It's not the words which are important--it's the ideas. Consider ways of dealing with the information other than those used in class. the more ways you can manipulate and experience the material you are trying to learn, the more secure your understanding and memory will be. this could include making list, summarising what it is you have highlighted and putting it in your own words to indicate your understanding and then test yourself, this is a great way of challenging yourself.6. The Night Before The Exam