Study Smarter: Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Time You Put Into Studying

02 Dec

Photo by Alex Lupin

By Kayla Morrell 

If you have not been happy with your grades even after studying for hours, you might just be studying wrong. There are many ways to study, and it takes time to find the right match for you. 

Getting better grades can help you get into more colleges and earn more in scholarships. It is important that you try your best even if you don’t get an A on your math test. The part that matters is that you are determined to be the best you that you can be.

Here are a few practical tips you can use:

  1.  My first piece of advice--and I can’t stress this enough-- is to pay attention in class. It is easy to daydream or go on your phone, especially since school is either mostly, or entirely, virtual this year. There’s no way around it--you will not be able to retain the information if you are not listening to it. Paying attention will make homework easier to do as well. 
  1.  A very useful study tool is putting the information into context so that you understand it. For example, if you are learning about how intelligence can be hereditary, then think about how your cousin is smart because his parents are smart. This way you're able to sink it into your brain and create your own meaning for it. This will greatly assist you in remembering the information.  You might even want to try using the memory room technique.  Read more here. 
  1.  When you have a big test coming up make sure that you plan out in your agenda what days you are going to study for it and make it as soon as possible. If today is Monday and your test is Thursday, try to plan out every day what you will study till your tests, and break it into chunks. Mr. Gillespie, world history and Ap Psychology teacher, explains how spacing out your studying can aid you in deeper processing. Deeper processing is important for encoding and storing the information in your long term memory. He says to try studying for 10-25 minutes, take a break, and then go back.
  1.  “Sometimes less is more,” says Lusher junior Macy Taylor, who has a 4.0 GPA. She says the key is not to try to stuff your brain, especially not at the last minute. She simply looks over her notes, making sure she understands. While this technique works for her, it is not a guarantee for everybody.  
  1.  Another study tool is to take practice tests. A great way to learn and prepare is to quiz yourself. There are practice tests on Quizlet, Quizizz, and Kahoot that you can take for free. 

My last piece of advice is to understand rather than to memorize. While some assessments only ask for the basics, most want you to have a deeper understanding of the information. You can create a deeper understanding by taking practice tests, teaching others, putting your own meaning to it, and putting effort into your work.  

How can you do this in the classroom?  One way is to actively take notes--even if the teacher doesn’t make you do so.  Your notes on that slide show may come in handy when you’re taking an open book quiz or writing an essay later.  Be proactive, and start taking responsibility for your own learning!

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