Thursday, December 2, 2010

Study Tips

As finals will be here in less than 2 weeks, here is some advice for those who need to prepare:
  • Review/ copy your notes. Take 15 minutes each day to review or copy your notes for each class. If you have 4 core classes, it will take you 1 hour each day. If you start today, you will get almost 3 hours of studying per class done before the first exam date, December 13th. This is much better than trying to cram in a study session of 3 hours the night before the exam.
  • Make note of questions. While you are reviewing your notes, write down questions you have about anything that is unclear to you. Try to schedule a time to meet with your teacher before review day in class. If you can't, have those questions ready for review day when the teacher asks if anyone has any questions. If you wait until the night before to study, you may not have a chance to get those questions answered by the teacher.
  • Try different places to study. There have been numerous studies done that show conflicting research on where a student should study. However, just as each student learns differently, I believe we all study differently too. Find the place that you feel works best for each subject area or type of studying you are doing. Keep in mind that this may not be the same place for each class.
  • Limit distractions. Try to limit your distractions while studying. That most likely means turning off the television and the radio. However, some people need auditory stimulation while they study, so choose noise that serves as a background like favorite songs you have heard a million times or something without lyrics. Likewise for visual and tactile stimulation. Gum is a great tactile stimulant, but if you find yourself focusing on the gum rather than your notes, give it up and try something else like a squish ball or a piece of sand paper.
  • Take a break. If you find yourself doing long study sessions, take a break. The average attention span for humans is 45 minutes. Don't get discouraged if you can't study that long in one sitting. Get up, stretch your legs, drink water, or get a healthy snack.
  • Don't study right after dinner! Most parents expect students to do their homework if not before, then right after dinner. But think about this, your brain requires oxygenated blood to think and so does your stomach to digest food. If you are dividing your resources up you could end up with a headache, upset stomach, poor focus, or any other number of issues from the lack of oxygen needed to perform those functions. Just like they used to say about swimming, wait 30 minutes before diving in!

Good luck on your finals and study well!!

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