Study habits foster exam success
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 00:11
Though the act of studying proves to be difficult for many students, the process of learning how to study and how to do it well can present an even greater challenge. With procrastination, distractions and chaotic schedules rampant among students, establishing effective study routines for tests and quizzes is vital to achieving good grades and valuable habits.
From mnemonic devices to highlighting text, the approaches used to memorize and absorb information are all effective in their own way. Lyle Slack, a director for the Academic Success Center, said premeditating what’s going to be on an exam and becoming familiar with a professor’s testing methods are the first steps in putting these techniques to use and achieving a high grade.
“Knowing what to look for going into the test helps you to focus on the learning style and skills you need to focus on,” Slack said. “You need to decipher what kinds of information will be included.”
Slack said looking over old tests and quizzes and knowing what a professor usually looks for will help with question predictions, allowing students to concentrate on important information.
Memorizing and understanding that information is another matter. Joel McGee, another director for the Academic Success Center, said active studying is the best for comprehending material and preparing for tests and quizzes.
“You can’t just be passive and look over notes,” McGee said. “You need to take the information and put it into a different format.”
McGee recommended SI sessions, rewriting notes and group activities for this type of studying, as it encourages thinking and understanding in more complexity.
“If the test is going to be at a high level, the studying has to be at a high level,” McGee said.
Spacing out study time is another great issue in getting ready for tests and establishing routines. McGee said cramming isn’t an effective way to absorb material. He pointed out that when students pace themselves they not only get an idea of how well they know material, but it also allows them time to go to professors and tutors for help, in case they need it.
Senior biochemistry major Isabel Jarvis said she plans ahead for tests and quizzes and divides study time up over several days.
“I usually make a study guide,” Jarvis said. “I look at my planner and think about how many days I need to study based on difficulty.”
Lyle also said that preparing for lectures and reading before classes are other great ways of studying for tests because it improves note taking and an understanding of material.
“Doing pre-reading and a little upfront work allows you to listen more and write less,” Lyle said. “What you write will be more thorough on information.”
Although studying can be a daunting task, good habits can help in making the process easier and more effective. From techniques as simple as rewriting notes to reading before class, these methods can be used together to make the most out of classes and study time, paving the way for higher grades and a better understanding of learning material.