If you think studying in high school is difficult, just wait until you get to college! Hitting "the wall" where nothing your reading makes sense anymore is a nearly nightly occurrence!
If you want to avoid 6 hour cramming sessions that have little affect on improving your grade then learn to master some of these essential study skills now. These are the simplest methods to learning lots of material in a short amount of time. Good luck!
1. Highlight, Highlight, Highlight
There have been several studies done that indicate that highlighting your notes can help you remember them more vividly, especially if you color code them. For example, you can highlight things in yellow for people, pink for places, blue for dates, etc. If you are a visual learner, something like this might help you with your memorization.
You can also take advantage of this brain trick by using multi-colored pens when taking notes in class.
Flashcards are one of the most valuable study tools no matter what type of learner you are. It helps you to separate ideas and to memorize vocabulary, dates, facts, whatever you might be studying. When you go through your flashcards, something that is helpful is separating your cards into items you know and items you don’t know, and then going through the ones you don’t know in more detail.
3. Study with a Friend
Studying with a friend is a great motivational tool. You can make plans with your friends to go to the library and have a goal of how much you want to get done in that study session. Also, they can help you study if they have taken the class before you or they can help you with doing your flashcards as well.
Just make sure your friend is as interested in studying as you are and don't end up distracting you!
4. Know Your Learning Style
The more aware you are of how you learn, the more you will be able to study in a way that sticks with you. If you are a visual learner, highlighting and taking notes is probably your go-to. If you are an auditory learner, reading things out loud might be more your speed. If you are a kinesthetic learner, you may want to go to the gym and study your notes while you’re on the elliptical. No matter works for you, you can study a lot more effectively if you know how you learn the best.
5. Take Breaks
The longer you focus on something, the more likely you are to loose your focus and concentration. The most effective way to study is to take short, frequent breaks. Set a timer while studying and reward yourself with a short 2-5 minute break every 15 minutes. After an hour, allow yourself fifteen minutes to check your phone or go outside. When you come back to you’re studying, you’ll be able to re-focus with more energy.
6. Start Early
DO NOT CRAM. Let me say it again: do not wait until the last minute to study and cram the night before a big test.
Cramming is usually not an effective studying technique. If you're luck you may be able to learn some last minute information and regurgitate it on a test the next day, but will most likely not retain any of the information you learned. Plus you will have put a lot of unnecessary stress on yourself.
If you want to commit your new information to long term memory, it’s crucial that you start studying early. Do a little big of studying every day in order to avoid a stressful 6-8 hour cram session.
Let’s face it, studying can be stressful, boring, and time consuming. However, if you use some of the methods that I have listed and find ways that help you study, you can save yourself a lot of stress and time in the future. Now, get out there and happy studying!
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