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Guest Chadron State College

Ten Study Methods That Work 2

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Guest Chadron State College

6. Keeping a Careful Record of Assignments
Put it down in black and white—including the details—and keep it in your notebook. Knowing just what you are expected to do and when you are expected to do it is the first giant step toward completing important assignments successfully and on time.

7. Making Use of “Trade Secrets”
Flash cards aren’t just for kids! They are a legitimate study tool. Use the front of the card to write an important term, and on the back, write a definition or an important fact about that term. Carry your flash cards with you. Use them during “dead time,” such as standing in a check-out line, waiting in a doctor or dentist’s office, riding a bus, or waiting at the Laundromat. Keep a set in the glove compartment of your car for long lines at your favorite fast food drive-in restaurant or bank. Post them on your bathroom mirror to review while shaving or applying make-up. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish during those otherwise “dead times.” Think about developing your own “trade secrets” that will improve your study skills.

8. Taking Good Notes as Insurance Against Forgetting
Learn to take good notes efficiently as your instructors stress important points in class and as you study your assignments. Good notes are a “must” for just-before-test-reviewing. Without notes, you will need to reread and review the entire assignment before a test. This may require you to read anywhere from 100-300 pages of material in one sitting. With notes, you can recall the main points in just a fraction of the time. The time you spend in note taking is not lost, but in fact, is a time-saver.

9. Overlearning Material Enhances Memory
Psychologists tell us that the secret to learning for future reference is overlearning. Experts suggest that after you can say, “I know this material,” that you should continue to study that material for an additional one-fourth of the original study time. The alphabet is an example of overlearning. How did you learn it? Probably through recitation which is the best way to etch material into the memory trace. Manipulate the material as many different ways as possible by writing, reading, touching, hearing, and saying it. In an experimental study, students who overlearned material retained four times as much after a month than students who didn’t overlearn.

10. Reviewing Material Frequently
A student who does not review material can forget 80% of what has been learned in only two weeks! The first review should come very shortly after the material was first presented and studied. Reviewing early acts as a safeguard against forgetting and helps you remember far longer. Frequent reviews throughout the course will bring rewards at test time and will alleviate pre-test anxiety.

Although these ten study methods do work, there is one other component needed when using all of them – taking responsibility for studying by following through on assignments. All the study methods in the world won’t help you if you don’t help yourself. As with most everything in your life, your motto should be, “I’m responsible for my success!”

If you put forth the effort to study effectively, the improved skills will soon become a habit and be just as natural as breathing. The result can be better grades, greater knowledge, and higher self-esteem. These skills will also serve you well in your professional and personal life.

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