Study Tips: Part 3

  • Use a highlighter: Let a highlighter be your friend! When a teacher first assigns material to read, go through it with a highlighter and mark important information to remember later. When it eventually is time to study for the test, your previous highlights will help save you time by acting as markers of vital concepts to review again. Conversely, the highlights will help identify information that you do not have to spend as much time studying.
  • Become the teacher: It has been proven that teaching other people is one of the best ways to further ingrain concepts. This does not have to be done formally, but even explaining materials to friends or family increases your ability to understand and retain various pieces of information.
  • Join a study group: Even if you don’t end up teaching the material, simply talking through it with peers can assist in retention as well. Try forming a study group with classmates if one is not already formally established. Each person can then be responsible for researching and bringing certain answers to share with the rest of the group, saving everyone time.
  • Use mnemonics: A mnemonic device is simply a memory trick used to better remember certain information. For instance, have you ever used your knuckles to remember which months have 31 days in them? If not, you should Google it! Mnemonics can consist of rhymes, number sequencing, songs, etc. One of my favorite mnemonic devices is story creation. As an example, let’s say that I had to remember Millard Fillmore was the 13th President of the United States. My mnemonic would be imagining a man (Millard Fillmore) filling more buckets out of 13 You can find plenty more examples of mnemonics, or memory tricks, online.
  • Drink water: Though most people when studying drink caffeine of some sort to help them focus and stay awake, it is important not to forget to also drink lots of water. Drinking too much caffeine can increase anxiety and cause jitters, while water can actually help you stay awake by promoting hydration and an increased flow of oxygen to the brain.
  • Avoid eating too many carbs: Another tip to help you avoid falling asleep while studying is to avoid eating carb-heavy foods. Eating too many carbs, like pastas or pizzas, can cause our blood sugar to drop and make us tired. Grogginess inhibits information retention!
  • Be confident: Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? It is when something is more likely to become true simply because you believe it. For example, if I grow up thinking I will become a nurse, I am more likely to actually enter into that profession later in life. The same principle applies to studying and test-taking. If you are confident you will do well studying and testing, then your chances of actually doing so go up. On the other hand, if you do not believe you can study or pass the test, the chances of you succeeding go down. So, in sum, believe in yourself!

Written by Catherine F., Novastar Prep Coach.

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