Throughout our high school/college experiences many of us navigate the same path. Curriculum ensures that we are all presented with the same information and sometimes in very systematic and prescribed ways. However, we are all individuals, we have different experiences, upbringings etc, and therefore we sense, engage, process and retain information differently. In other words, the way that I study may work for me but it doesn’t necessarily work for you. Many students come to college and have never had to truly studyl. We were able to do our work, memorize the facts for the test and pass. But college requires a new level of thinking and analysis and the days of standard memorization are over.
The first step in studying successfully is understanding the conditions that are necessary to help you understand and retain the subject matters. Some students can re and reread and re read again. Some students are really good at coming up with mnemonic devices, riddles and songs that help them recall the concepts. Personally, I’m a writer. The physical act of writing and rewriting my notes helps me review the material, identify the areas of confusion and develop the connections between the subject matter and my own prior knowledge that contribute to my understanding and conceptualizing the subject matter. It took me a while to realize learn that studying in this way was most useful for me but once I figured it out, my life as a student was a lot less difficult.
There are a few tools available online that are very useful in helping us learn more about the way we study. The surveys are helpful in identifying areas where your present study skills/strategies are effective and areas where you may want to make some adjustments in the way you approach studying. I’ve used the following surveys and I encourage you to take the time to do them as well.
Study Guides and Strategies
Study Skills Assessment- Columbia Basin College
Study Strategies Homepage- University of Minnesota Duluth
The feedback from these assessments will be really helpful as you prep yourself to study for Midterms this semester. Feel free to share any tips or strategies that have worked for you in the comments below. And as always keep it here for more study tips throughout the month.