Study techniques

We’re now on our 6th week of class, so midterms are approaching really fast!! I myself had a midterm yesterday, and I’ll have another one next week.

Some people suffer from test anxiety, so midterms can be really overwhelming. It is extremely important to focus and study well in order to reduce stress prior to tests, so I’m going to tell you my “study routine”.

Environment

I need somewhere quiet, with no noise and no disturbance. The upper level at the school library is a great place to study because I can check out other books to add other sources to my work, I can use the computers and print papers if necessary, and it’s quiet. Some people like to go to coffee houses, but I get distracted fairly easy, so I need to isolate myself. If I’m home, I’m usually locked in my room with ear plugs on.

Gathering necessary supplies  

I get everything I can possibly think I will need: books, notebooks, highlighters, pens, pencil, eraser, sticky notes, laptop, snacks (brain food), tissues (I sneeze a lot), water, and coffee (yes, I live off of coffee).

Homework

I start off by reading the summary of the assigned chapter. I do that because it gives me a briefly description of the chapter and key terms I should pay attention to. Following the summary, I skim the chapter reading the headings and possible definitions on the side of the pages. Now I am ready to read the full chapter.

As I read the material, I highlight important passages. If I’m reading a rented book, I don’t highlight anything; instead, I put a tab on the page to mark what is important. Since English is not my native language, I keep track of new vocab by writing its definition on a sticky note (hint: the Merriam-Webster website and app is really good tool). If I’m reading an article I printed from BlackBoard (a student portal) or if it’s a handout, I completely tear that paper up! I write on it, make my annotations, write my new vocab, and highlight it. Regardless of what I am reading, I always take notes and compare them to the notes I’ve taken in class. It helps to assimilate the subject and it is a good way to review it.

After I am finished with my readings, I am ready to answer the assigned questions or write my papers.

Tests

When studying for tests I first review my notes. If I can’t remember something very well, I read the chapter or the specific heading for that topic. Everything else that I do remember I quickly skim the chapter and kind of teach it to myself as go (yes, I will be talking to myself and sounding like a crazy lady, but I don’t really care). If I’m studying for a class that involves numbers, such as statistics, I re-do the questions to make sure I completely got the formulas and concepts.

If I have enough time, I usually re-write my notes and combine them with the notes I’ve taken in class. After I’m done studying (and it’s usually late), I go to bed. Studies have shown that a good night of sleep is important to retain information (so, don’t cram up the night before the test).

Study groups

Study groups are great as well. I usually don’t take part of it because as I said before, I can get easily distracted. Instead, I meet up with one or two friends and we help each other based on our strengths. Having someone else giving you a different insight on something you quite don’t fully grasp is extremely helpful and it does help with learning.

Well, this is my study routine. It does seem quite long, but once you start doing it you will see it is actually very simple and helpful.

Now, back to the books!

Mari

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