If one of your resolutions for 2019 is to study more or improve your grades, there are a few good study habits you should adopt—and a few you should try to break.
Check out the following dos and don’ts of successful studying:
DO: Use recall to help you learn.
Think of recall as a fill-in-the-blank question and recognition as a multiple-choice question. With recall, you need to be able to retrieve the information from your memory. With recognition, you need to be able to recognize or spot the answer. Read something, then look away, then try to explain it to yourself in your head, or better yet, try to explain it to a friend. You aid your recall by looking away and really having to think through it; research also shows that if you can teach something to someone else you are more likely to really learn it and cement it into memory.
DO: Use the “chunking” method.
Our short-term memory can hold about seven bits of information at a time, so it’s important to break things down so you can comprehend it. For example, try to remember all of these letters: N B C C N N A B C C N B C W B C B S T B S. It seems nearly impossible! However, if you break it down it becomes NBC, CNN, ABC, CNBC, WB, CBS, TBS. When it is in more recognizable terms (TV networks!), it is easier to remember.
DO: Use mnemonic devices.
Think about all of the song lyrics you know. How helpful would it be if those lyrics contained all of the answers to an upcoming test? Make up your own song so you can learn the material.
You might think you can cram all of the information in the night before the test and you might even think you won’t have to remember it for very long, but our short term memory is just that…short. You need to commit this information to long-term memory by using the good study tips in order to retain it for your test and the future.
DO: Space out your study sessions.
Just as you can’t run a marathon without building up to it, you can’t expect to learn a whole topic without the same training. Make time for small study sessions each day.
DON’T: Create a study group.
This can be good for accountability but can also turn into a chat session. Be thoughtful about who you ask to be in your study group—don’t choose your best friend. Instead, choose the person who will take it seriously.
DON’T: Read your text just to check it off your list.
If you are passively reading, you are not absorbing the information. Try to relate the new information to things you already know so it sinks in and you truly learn it.
DO: Minimize distractions.
Turn off your cell phone and make sure your roommates aren’t watching TV or playing video games next to you.
DON’T: Forget about the professor.
Professors are a great resource and they are always there to help, answer questions, and explain things in a different way.
By perfecting these helpful habits—and breaking the bad ones—you are on your way to a year of success in the online classroom.
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