Studying and I have always had a love hate relationship – I love the results and hate the work. Although I would much rather being doing quit possibly anything other than studying, I love the feeling of recognizing the content. During my undergrad I became very efficient at studying for exams. I knew my routine, my attention span, and what study techniques would benefit me and what techniques would waste my time. I decided to share a few of my tips with all of you RD2Bs so that you can use the most of your time. Keep in mind these study techniques are for science-based courses. I had a lot of engineer friends that didn’t understand my study techniques because they were for memorization not for concept grasping!
Record Your Lectures
When I took biochem my (first) senior year I was terrified. I knew the professor was challenging and that she talked way to fast for me to ever keep up. So I took a tip from someone and recorded all of her lectures. This allowed me to sit in class without worrying if I missed something on my notes. I could actually pay attention to the concept and learn while she was talking. I would take light notes of things she worked out on their board but for the most part I would listen. Then the next day I would go back and take more detailed notes from that lecture. It was so helpful during finals seasons as well! Concepts from August that I now had to remember in December weren’t so scary because I could re-listen to the lecture. This is an incredible help for anatomy and physiology also!
Print Out the PowerPoint
I never understood why people printed out the powerpoint. I would always laugh at my friend Linda as she sat in the front row with her PowerPoints printed out. Then I realized how much better it was to be able to take written notes next to the concepts being taught. I began combining my new technique of listening to recorded lectures and printing out the PowerPoint. I would print out the PowerPoint and take my notes from class and add them to the printed sheet. I would then go back and listen to the lecture and take notes on the printed PowerPoint. I know this sounds excessive but when the test came around I didn’t really have to study all that hard from it because I had heard the material twice and written it three times. All I needed to do was go back and look over notes to make sure it was memorized.
Make Your Own Study Guide
I love with professors give you a detailed study guide! They do all of the hard work for you! As I got deeper into college I realized that professors aren’t that generous all the time. So I started making my own study guides. Just the physical act of creating your own questions and finding the answers allowed me to remember the content. I would pull up my notes and begin creating questions that went along with the content. Then I would type the correct answer on a seperate piece of paper and answer the study guide the next day. This was especially helpful in my Food Service Management classes. The information was so broad and specific that I needed a way to remember the information. This was the best way, for me, to remember.
Build A Study Group
When I was taking Anatomy and Physiology I had so many people telling me to get into a study group. I thought that it was useless and I was a little uncomfortable sitting in a room with people I didn’t know. I studied on my own for that class and it robbed me of my soul! My junior year I finally started a study group with 5 of the girls that were in my major. This same study group got together for every test for the next two years. We made it through advanced nutrition, community nutrition, food and culture, clinical nutrition, and all of our food service management classes together. I don’t know what my junior and senior years would have looked like without this group of people. Find people in your major (or classes) early and form a group. There is nothing more helpful than being at a white board teaching your classmates the material. You remember the content incredibly fast! My A&P professor always used to tell us it takes hearing, doing, seeing and speaking to remember something. The hearing and seeing come from your lecture, but the doing and speaking come from your study group!
I put this title in all bold because I cannot tell you how many student do poorly in classes because they cannot organize their lives. They don’t know how to plan their own schedules, prioritize their time, keep track of past and present assignments, or remember where they saved their homework! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail….it’s that simple. Find an organization system that works for you and stick with it! Personally, I love my planned. I put all of my assignments for the semester in the “month” part of the planner that way I can see everything that is coming up. Then I spend, at the most, an hour looking over what is due this week and I strategically plan out which assignments to do on what days. I am not a procrastinator, I am an early bird. This has saved me from stress and crappy work.
- Get a whiteboard
- Check your work
- Take breaks to prevent burnout
- Eat before you study
- Determine the times of day you are most focused and able to study