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Studying Tips - Cracking Tough Courses

Those who perform well on tests are not always the smartest or hardest-working students in the class. They often are the ones who have developed productive studying techniques. These skills can help you better understand the material and earn higher test scores. Here are some tips for improving your studying proficiency.

Before School Starts

For many college-bound students, high school did not require sophisticated studying skills. Things are different in college, which means you have to be prepared to work harder than before.

You are going to have to take more thorough notes in class. Writing in a conventional way, fully spelling every word, is too slow to keep up with a professor’s speech. You need to develop some sort of shorthand writing style. There are a number of methods from which to choose, or you can come up with your own way of doing it. You must write not only quickly, but also clearly enough that you can read your notes days or weeks later. Get separate notebooks for each class. Staying organized can help diminish the sense of being overwhelmed by the college experience.

In the Classroom

The information you have to know to pass a test is given to you in class. But a lot of other material also is presented. The challenge is to discern the topics that will be on the exam. That is the information you need to have in your notes.

Even if you could write fast enough to record every word a professor says, your notes would be too cumbersome to be of much assistance in studying for a test. Identify the lecture’s ideas and themes. Get a general idea of the concepts involved. Listen closely to the professor’s emphasis on certain facts, as it may reveal the relative importance of information. If the teacher writes something on the board, this is a clear sign that the material is likely to appear on the exam.

If you don’t understand what is being said, or if a word the professor uses is unfamiliar to you, do not be afraid to pose questions. It’s OK to ask for something to be repeated, if it has been presented in a rapid-fire manner. Keep in mind that if something doesn’t make sense to you, there’s a good chance other students in the class are similarly confused.

Between Classes

Look over your notes to make sure they are legible. You may need to rewrite some words, so they will be clear to you later. Reading your notes shortly after creating them will help you remember the information. Identify anything that you do not understand, so you know what questions to ask in class.

It should go without saying that staying current with reading assignments is critical. Once you fall behind, it can be difficult to catch up on your studies. Read ahead in the textbook, so you have some understanding of the material that will be covered in the next class. Look for section headings, bold-faced passages, and other words and phrases featured prominently in the textbook. These are likely the key concepts you need to learn. Chapters may contain introductions and conclusions that summarize the important material.

Don’t get lost in the details. Make sure you comprehend the ideas being presented. If the text doesn’t make sense to you, it’s going to be hard to remember it. Take advantage of review-and-study questions and other studying aids in textbooks. Compare your class notes with the book to see if there is any contradictory information that you need to clarify.

Studying for the Exam

You actually begin the process of studying for a test the first day of class. You continue by writing down what you hear, reading it later and confirming it by reading the textbook. Each time you hear, write down or read information, you are in effect studying it. This repetition helps your brain retain the material.

Find a quiet space in which to study. You need to feel secure, relaxed and physically comfortable. While some students can study effectively in the presence of other people and their activities, you might be able to concentrate better in an environment with few distractions or interruptions. Have all your notes, textbooks and other materials laid out in front of you, with good lighting. Take frequent breaks by getting up and moving around. Do some stretches and deep breathing.

Read your notes again. Highlight the essential points. You may want to rewrite certain information, to further secure it in your memory. Understand the big picture by organizing your notes in outline form, then reading them again. Look through the textbook a few more times, focusing on the relevant ideas and facts. You can design your own test, writing questions that you think may be posed and then writing the answers.

Cramming for a test is not necessary if you have kept up on your reading, and repeatedly reviewed your notes, throughout the course. Besides, not getting sufficient sleep the night preceding a big test is counterproductive. Also be sure to eat a meal and go to the restroom before class.

Conclusion

These are some of the things that have worked for many students. Keep in mind that you are an individual with your own strengths and challenges. What works for one person may not be an effective studying method for someone else. However, these studying tips have been proven effective in students’ retention of the information they need to know.

10 Tips to Master Time Management & Succeed in College

In order to succeed in college, one of the first things you must master is time management. You’ll find that many exams, projects and general assignments are due around the same time. If you aren’t prepared for the workload, it will show in your grades. Here are tips to maximize the time you have.

1) Make milestones

Breakdown your workload into specific goals. If you have a project, write down all of the steps you need to complete in order to finish it. Write the date you plan to complete each step by. If you have an exam, divide the chapters or topics you need to study similarly.

2) Be present

When you set aside time to study, do just that. Turn your phone on silent or put it in another room. If you’re using a computer, log out of social networking sites and close all tabs unrelated to your work. Turn the television off. If you’re in a study group, stay on task. Dedicate your conversation to the topic at hand so you can move on.

3) Take 10

Take 10 minutes before you go to bed to plan the next day. Make a list of what you need to do and when. You’ll likely sleep better knowing that you have everything out on paper and you’ll wake up with a plan.

4) Prioritize

You don’t have to spend every waking hour studying to do well in college. Make time for friends and hobbies. Spend more time on those things when you’re able to and cut back when you have several deadlines to meet.

5) Organize

Many professors will hand you a syllabus the first day of class. Buy a planner and write major due dates in it. Use different colors for assignments, exams and other important items.

6) Find your fit

Some people find they study best first thing in the morning. Some enjoy studying in the library while others feel more focused at home. Find the times and places where you feel most focused and stick with them.

7) Surround yourself with like-minded individuals

This is not to say that all of your friends must share the same beliefs, major or background. Connecting with students in the same classes and those who maintain the same schedules can make it easier to manage your time. They may be more understanding of your schedule than others.

8) Pay attention

As simple as it sounds, paying attention in class will help you manage your time later. You want to grasp the topic being covered the first time around.  When it’s time to prepare for an exam, you can divide your time better by focusing on topics you struggled with.

9) Be proactive

If you don’t understand something, speak up. Ask questions in class. Make an appointment to meet with your professor or teaching assistant. Don’t waste time and avoid the topic out of fear, and don’t put off trying to understand it until it’s too late.

10) Let go

Let go of the things that no longer serve you and your goals. This may include hobbies, jobs or people. Don’t let what you used to want hold you back from making time for your new goals. Accept that it is okay to change and adapt to move forward.

Learning to manage your time in college will benefit you as you pursue a career after graduation as well. Take the time to learn what strategies work best for you as a student so and adjust those strategies appropriately when faced with similar situations in the professional world.

Overcoming exam fear

Exam fear is caused by one of following reasons:

  • Pressure from parents to score high
  • Fear of failing or scoring less in comparison to friends
  • Not being well-prepared

It is crucial for a student or his/her parents to identify the reason and help overcome exam fear. It has many adverse effects on the student’s performance, such as:

  • Scoring less marks than could’ve been scored
  • Forgetfulness during exam
  • Feeling of failure

Follow these steps to overcome exam fear and improve performance in exams:

Study Regularly

Students try to cram all the study in the last few days or hours. This prevents them from retaining everything consequently making them fearful of the exam. Ensure that you study a little everyday or go through what you did in class after coming home. Studying an hour each day also helps in remembering things when you eventually start preparing.

Prepare Well

When you sit down to prepare for exams, make it a point to make notes which will help in revisions. Having well-prepared notes will ensure that you do not have to go through the entire material again. Be sure not to leave out anything while preparing. Students usually tend to leave out things which don’t seem important. Remember, an exam is to test your learning and memory, the examiner can ask anything.

Take Breaks

While studying, don’t think you can do everything in one go. Take small study breaks in between to relax your mind and retain what you have gone through. When you resume studying, remove any distractions and focus on the material alone. Be sure to study in a quiet, calm environment. Don’t choose a place where other people in the family hang out. It will cause disruptions in your studying.

Sleep Properly

Have a proper sleep the night before exam. Don’t stay awake the night before; learning, reading, memorizing, or revising. Complete your revision and study, before time. Students usually make the mistake of staying late and studying, but understand this: relaxing your mind before exam will not make you forget anything, but rather help you in retaining and extracting it better when the exam paper comes in front.

Learn, Not Memorize

The mistake many students make is, they memorize things. What you as a student must understand is that memorizing will not help you in any way. If it gets you through the exam, it will definitely not get you through life. Understanding what you are reading is the proper learning; it will stay with you throughout life and help you in further learning.

Relax Yourself

If you start feeling stressed in between the exam or before, relax yourself. Take deep breaths and contract and stretch your muscles. This really helps some students in relaxing and won’t take more than a minute or two. It will help alleviate your fear and clear doubts from your mind. Also, think positive always. Convince yourself that you can do it and you will not fail or lag behind. You are just as smart as everyone else.

Thoroughly Read the Paper

Before you start attempting the paper, read it once thoroughly and completely. Mark the questions you know the best and attempt those first. Organize your thoughts and points for each question and then start writing it down. Take into account the marks allotted to each question and maintain your answer length accordingly. This will help you manage your time well and ensure that you don’t leave any question out due to time shortage.

Always remember, preparation is the way to overcoming half your fear. Any remaining stress will automatically alleviate once you realize that you know all or maximum parts of the question paper. Understand that exams are part of life and you can never avoid them. So it’s best to overcome your fear and face it. As parents, support you child in overcoming any fear. Don’t underestimate or pressurize them in doing more than they already are. Make it a point to let them know you are there to help them and provide positive encouragement.

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