With the first round of tests quickly approaching, you’re probably thinking it’s about time to freak out and lock yourself in your dorm room and cry. No worries, friend, I’ve got you covered. Especially for all you freshmen out there, to whom studying might be a completely new concept. I know I, personally, didn’t really study all that much until I got to college. So, when it was time for me to buckle down and hit the books, I was at a complete loss as to how to study for my first official college exam. Here are some helpful hints that I have learned throughout my time in college to help you out (I guess 6 semesters of classes have actually paid off in one way or another). Hope these tips help you in some way/shape/form!
1. Don’t over highlight: One look into my textbook and you’ll see a rainbow of colors covering the pages. Yes, I do love highlighting. No, highlighting doesn’t always help. A little bit of highlighting every now and then isn’t a bad thing, but if you go overboard (as I often tend to do) it can actually hinder you. You get so caught up in highlighting that you forget to actually comprehend what you’re tediously marking. I’ve found it helpful to keep the highlighting to a minimum and, instead, summarize what I’ve read in the blank spaces of the page or at the end of a paragraph. That way, you can use the highlighted words/phrases to easily see what the main point of the passage/pages is and use the summaries to review after you’ve finished reading through the material the first time!
2. Flashcards aren’t always the answer: Flashcards are fantastic for those few classes (maybe language classes like Spanish or French) that have fact-based tests. This is because fact based tests require you to know separate concepts and facts that usually have no relation to each other (take foreign vocab for example), or at least as far as the test is concerned. So, what happens when you have tests that require you to use some brainpower and connect certain concepts, you ask? This, my friends, is why flashcards aren’t always the answer. The classes that ask you to connect certain concepts require a different, more complex study technique. For these classes, I’ve found it helpful to make my own review guides. I organize information by putting certain concepts together under one, main idea and connect different, pertaining ideas together under the same heading. This way, when I’m taking a test, I’m able to see a word/concept and remember everything else that is linked to it. For example, in my English class, when we went over 18th century British literature, I was able to put everything I knew about that specific topic under one heading as well as connect different ideas pertaining to the same topic. So, later, when I was taking the test and saw a question that focused on 18th century British literature, I was able to remember everything I had put under that header and thoroughly answer the question. And there you have it folks, my secret of success!
3. Study in advance: Believe me, I am the queen of last minute cramming sessions (cue the pots of coffee and packs of Oreos that make up my late night brain food), but cramming last minute isn’t always a good thing, for many reasons. 1. You may not have enough time to read through all of the information. 2. You might overlook some important details that could be on the test! 3. If you give yourself more time to study, you’re able to re-read and review information multiple times, which makes it easier to memorize facts and increases your chances of acing that test! 4. You have time to breathe (which is always a good thing) and take studying at your own pace. So take my advice, and…
Now you’re ready to take on the world! Okay, not really, but you are ready for your first round of tests! So go get em’ tiger! I have faith in you!