Are you unsatisfied with your test performance in college? You are most likely lacking the study strategies needed to excel in your college classes. One of the biggest issues when people are studying is trying to read over material and actually retain it. In order to succeed in college courses and improve exam grades, learn these five most active study methods that can help your learning and improve your memorization.
1. Review the Material Daily
After attending class, ensure that you are frequently reviewing the material you learned. Since studying isn’t necessarily mandatory each day, students are known to put it off until the very last minute and cram right before an exam. This approach won’t allow you to get by when studying complex subject matter. Though you might think attending class is enough, it is actually what you do outside of class that significantly affects your course performance. Treat studying like it’s an obligation— Incorporate it into your day-to-day routine in order to keep your brain fresh with the course material.
2. Study in a Productive Environment
Are you studying on your couch—maybe near a TV, with the kitchen only a step away? Is your cell phone on the table? These are all distractions that can waste your time. Don’t tempt yourself! Where you study is a mindset. For example, do you ever wonder why people go to the library to study, even though they might not be utilizing any of its resources? It’s motivating. Studying around other individuals who have the same focus allows you to be productive and make the most of your time. Find what works for you in order to shift into the right mindset for concentration!
3. Apply Hand-Written Notes
Though a lot of students like to utilize their laptops for faster and more accessible note taking, they are oftentimes distracted by what the internet can offer. Even if students are using their laptops for the intended purpose, research shows that taking notes on a computer might provide too many distractions. Hand-written notes are known to give students the ability to grasp new ideas and perform better on conceptual questions during exams. Taking pen to paper engages students further in the lecture. They are also able to rephrase information into their own words, meaning they most likely digested the material in a way they could understand. Though hand-written notes might present an inconvenience and create a setback when keeping up with the pace of the lecture, it might be the most beneficial to learning and retaining in the long run.
4. Utilize Flash Cards and Mnemonic Devices
Flash cards are a study tool that can help strengthen your memorization. When students are reviewing study material, information can sound redundant, causing them to believe they already know the content. By only having partial access to the information, students are forced to challenge themselves to know the material in order to complete the answer. Flash cards also are easily separated, which allows students to put aside cards and focus on material they are not familiar with. Aside from flash cards, mnemonic devices are beneficial in regards to memorizing complex pieces of information. A funny little sentence or phrase makes content meaningful by creating associations and forming patterns in your brain. These devices have to be more memorable than the subject matter you are trying to learn in order to be beneficial to you. If you notice these aren’t advancing your learning, don’t use them!
5. Study in Groups
Studying with other individuals gives you the opportunity to utilize auditory learning by talking through the material at hand. By studying with people from your class, you will ensure you’re covering all of the bases and not leaving out any important information. Additionally, you can gain different perspectives from other individuals. For instance, there might be material that seems confusing to you, but could potentially be clear to your study partner—study groups are the perfect place to gain different viewpoints on the same topic. Who knows, maybe you will like their interpretation better! By studying with a group of people, you have the opportunity to quiz each other on difficult subject matter and allow yourself to stay focused on your studies.
Reaching your full potential in college courses is widely dependent on how you choose to spend your time. Refining your studying techniques can help improve your grades and optimize your learning. Keep your future in mind—hard work always pays off in the end!