More tips about studying

Study takes an independent, self-directed effort — creating different methods to approach and learn different subjects. What kinds of extra work?

  • Studying is coming prepared for every class. You are up to date in your reading, and you have even read ahead. You have done all your practice exercises (even when they’re not required), and you’ve gone over them.
  • Studying is reading and working ahead in all your courses. Reading ahead gives you an edge and prevents confusion. When the teacher introduces a new theory or concept, you already know something about it. And if you didn’t understand it when you read ahead, you can ask the teacher questions. If you did understand the material, then the teacher is reviewing and clarifying for you while only introducing the material to the other students. Reading can give you great starts in learning new things. And it will help you contribute better to class discussions.
  • Studying is taking good notes in class and then carefully rewriting them later that day. You rewrite notes while information from class is still fresh in your mind, so you can add any details that you were too rushed to include during class. If you have a hard time keeping up with the teacher, bring a recorder to class. Ask the teacher if it’s okay to record. Play back the class later in the day and take better notes at your own pace.
  • Studying is not just doing the assigned reading, but rereading the material, and then taking notes and organizing what you’ve read by making flashcards, outlines, or lists.
  • Studying is reviewing graded tests and assignments to really understand why you got an answer wrong, and figuring out how to prevent that mistake on the next test.
  • Studying is starting a writing assignment ahead of time, so the paper can be roughed out at first and then rewritten and improved multiple times before you hand it in.
  • Studying is doing a few extra problems in math and science “for practice” to make sure you really understand certain concepts and procedures. It keeps your skills sharp.
  • Studying is rereading the notes from earlier in a course. It’s a strategy that keeps the ideas of the whole course in your mind. Otherwise, you’re learning only the current chapter and forgetting the earlier ones as you plow ahead.
  • Studying is going to your teacher when you have questions. And if you’re really a college smart student, you frequently have questions. Having questions signals that you are involved in the learning process and your mind is developing from day to day.
  • And, yes, studying is putting in that extra time right before big tests. But guess what? If you’ve been studying in all these other ways, on the night before a test, you’ll only have to study minimally, which makes preparing for tests a whole lot less nerve-wracking.

So, technically speaking, when anyone asks, “Do you have any homework tonight?” your answer should always be “yes.” There’s always something you can “assign yourself.” Studying always gives you an edge.

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