Effective ways to study?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by gadgetgirl85, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. gadgetgirl85 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2006
    I've always wondered how other people study for exams. My technique is to write everything down and read the notes/text book repeatedly. Has anyone got any other techniques?
  2. Joshua8o8 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2007
    Honolulu, Hawai'i
    Read everything you wrote down and everything from the text book right before you are going to take the exam. Trust me i got my GED, i know these things! ;)
  3. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Last year in college I tried a bit of a different way of studying from what I had done in the past...I read through all of my notes a few times, condensing everything I needed to know onto one page (in effect, rewriting much of my notes). I then marked things on the condensed page of notes that I didn't fully understand, went and did further reading on those bits, then re-copied my condensed page a few times to help commit it to memory. Worked pretty well for me.

    Also, I've had great success by finishing studying early and taking it easy the night before an exam, watching a movie and chilling out, then going to the exam with nothing but what I need...pen/pencil/calculator etc. No last minute 'oh %$*($' cram moments. I find that going in with a cool, clear head, even if I have less raw total knowledge, is much better than going in with a full head trying hard to remember stuff. As long as I have a clear head, I can work my way, or BS my way through problems. If I've just spent 10 hours cramming, all I can do is stare at a question I can't answer and say "oh s*** oh s*** oh s***" over and over. ;)
  4. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Well, I just try to memorize the content as I read it and then before the exam I glance over the notes that I've taken. It works pretty well, although if I don't feel I know the content I do a lot of cramming the night before the exam. My methods work reasonably well for me.
  5. siurpeeman macrumors 603


    Dec 2, 2006
    the OC
    depends on the subject. for math, i just memorized whatever formulas i had to know, and it was pretty easy. for other subjects like history, i just read. going over notes helps, but there's nothing like reading and memorizing little tidbits that strike you. being a mathy sort of guy, memorizing dates wasn't so hard. :eek:
  6. tkepongo macrumors regular


    Jul 31, 2007
    Oregon State University
    go to class, take notes. when an exam is coming up, i usually look over my notes and write out a study guide to read over. i always get at least a B on every exam
  7. tkepongo macrumors regular


    Jul 31, 2007
    Oregon State University
    for math, i just do the "suggested problems" and go to class and take notes. during our math exams, we're allowed to have one note card. i made at least 8 notecards and snuck them in every exam :D
  8. siurpeeman macrumors 603


    Dec 2, 2006
    the OC
    cheater!! :rolleyes: :p

    if in case you ever get caught, just say you couldn't count right. 1 card? 8? it's easy to confuse the two. i think your math prof will get a kick out of it. :)
  9. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    What worked best for me was completely different. :) I found that if I just sat and listened during class, opting not to take notes, I learned better. Most of my professors gave handouts with any important information.

    When tests came around, I would perhaps review the handouts for an hour or so, go to bed early and get up the next morning and study for around 2 hours. Worked great for me.

    The fact that I didn't ever take notes in class got my classmates mad at me :), but I really think that is how I learned best.
  10. gadgetgirl85 thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2006
    I just have to learn a lot of material ie terms, definitions etc no formulas though. I'm studying psychology
  11. annk Administrator


    Staff Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    I do this too. Also, I record the lectures, and listen to them once more before the next lecture. Then, when I prepare for the exam and I'm reading my notes from that lecture, I listen to it once more. The great thing about this is that you can listen when you're working out, doing housework, whatever. You use a lot of dead time that way.

    I also find studying in short bursts works a lot better than sitting for hours at a time. 20 - 30 minutes on a particular set of notes, go do something else, then come back to it at least once or twice that day.

    One more thing - as the exam draws near, I pretend it's an oral, and sit down somewhere (where no one can hear me :p) and explain the material out loud, as if someone had asked me. That REALLY shows me where I still have holes to fill.
  12. knelto macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2007
    No matter how long or how extensively I study for accounting, I will do badly.

    Taking two accounting classes (one each 5 week session) during summer was a terrible idea.
  13. Hummer macrumors 65816


    Feb 3, 2006
    Queens, New York NY-5
    I find that if I study I lose the lecture. I can usually recall any academic lecture on cue when I really need to. And when the test comes just like chill out and act like you're doing homework or something. It works for me I don't know how well it'll work for others.
  14. Jasonbot macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2006
    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    Really easy if you need to know formulae and the like :D
  15. cycocelica macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2005
    Redmond, WA
    Sit in a room, painted white with nothing in it.

    Well that would ideal. I get distracted easily. But in reality, I usually walk around and repeat everything out loud. Only effective study method I have.
  16. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Don't take too many classes at once. That's the best way to make sure you do well. I learned that one the hard way. Don't forget that lab classes are a whole extra class too, even if it just shows up as one class on your schedule.

    In a single semester I took
    1) organic chemistry
    2) organic chemistry lab
    3) physics 1
    4) physics 1 lab
    5) micro biology
    6) micro biology lab


    I didn't really think about the labs as separate classes because 2 of the 3 labs were included as part of their lecture class in the course selection system. So when looking at my course list it appeared like I was only taking 4 classes instead of 6, so it didn't seem like too heavy a course load when I just looked at the list. So it didn't set off the alarm bells in my head that it should've.

    I wound up with an A in physics, an A- in micro lecture, a B in micro lab and a B- in organic chem. So not too horrible, but not nearly up to my personal standards. And it really took a lot out of me and it physically messed up my health so that I ended up having to withdraw from the next semester.

    If you're smart you'll heed my advice - err on the side of taking too few classes and having to stay in school a bit longer rather than taking too many classes which would result in poor grades, ill health, and might actually make you stay in school longer anyway.
  17. ricgnzlzcr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I haven't really payed attention much during my last 3 years of college and I don't take notes. I'm someone who absolutely has to work under last minute pressure or I can't do it. What I do is the day before the final exam I spend researching everything the professor said was important to know and writing it down in about 2 pages worth of notes (probably takes about 4-8 hours) and then I memorize it all for about 2 hours and head to class. It's given me mostly A's and a few B's so I'm pretty happy with the tactic. It's stressing but for me it really is worth it since I just study and take notes one day out of the semester.
  18. flowagner macrumors member


    Jun 1, 2007
    Vienna, Austria
    this semester at university of vienna (austria, europe) i took following subjects:

    - empiric social studies
    - mediology
    - media and economics
    - media and sociology
    - public relations class 1
    - print journalism class 1
    - communication science class 1
    - english: language analysis class
    - english: language analysis lab
    - english: integrated language and study skills 2
    - politics: eu security policies

    .... so i had 10 exams in about 1 and a half weeks. although the subjects were not that challenging, it was quite some stress studying for 10 exams at the same time.

    i already prepared everything during the semester as i knew it would be quite hard to begin two weeks away from the first exam. i took notes and rewrote them as i came home from university to memorize everything. so at the end of the semester right before the exams i had really good notes to study from
  19. Sobe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2007
    Wash DC suburbs
    There's simply no substitution for repetition.

    I always focus on the basics of whatever subject it is -- the vocabulary.

    And I'm not just talking about languages. It could be molecular biology or particle physics. In fact the more specialized the field of study, the more likely that jargon will play a large role in your learning.

    Look at developmental biology or law, for example. If you don't know the terms, you're in big trouble.

    If you don't know what the words mean, you won't be able to read the questions intelligently and then analyze and form proper responses.

    So nail down the vocabulary. In my experience this is best done through sheer rote memorization.

    Get some paper, notecards, whatever. Just do it til you know it cold.

    Once you have the vocab down, then you can use the terms in more complex expressions.

    What those will be is going to be determined by the professor. Figure out as quickly as possible what they are looking for and learn to recognize it.

    If your professor uses powerpoint, just print out the slides 2 or 3 to a page and leave room for notes.

    Only take notes on what is not on the slide.

    And most of all, read read read.

    If your professor tells you to read chapters 23, 26, 28, and 29. Do it...do it so many times you want to throw up.

    Why? because there is no substitute for repetition. The more you go over the material the more will sink in, particularly if you have already learned the basics.
  20. rockosmodurnlif macrumors 65816


    Apr 21, 2007
    New York, NY
    I study in groups partly based on my Dad's advice. He told me 'if you can't explain it, you don't know it'. So I usually try to help other people in my group understand whatever they don't or they help me. And on more than occasion people in a group have mentioned something that ended up being on a test.

    So my advice is get a group together. Not a bad way to meet people either. Nothing brings people together like suffering.
  21. gadgetgirl85 thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2006
    Sorry to bump my thread but my exam is tomorrow and I'm almost ill at the sight of the material but I don't know if I should keep studying or not?
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    The way I study depends on the subject:

    1. Math and Physics:

    Do all the problems from every assignment, old tests, old exams, etc. You'll learn about the material while attempting to do the question. You'll end up reading your textbook, but without actually sitting down and reading continuously.

    2. Other classes:

    Read, highlight, and write everything down on a piece of paper, but try to reword it. Then try to explain it to yourself again later (on paper).
  23. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Something very importanct is make sure you get a good amount of sleep. All the studying you did do will go to waste if you do not get any sleep. You need to be able to think clearly on an exam. I have more than once missed some very stupid quistion on a quiz because I did not have any sleep.

    As an example of stupid quition in my fluid class was finding formal for something I used all the time in that subject. I blanked and for the life of me could not remember it. I paid for it the next week of class when the teacher pick on me for it. Mind you some how I got the hard question right everyone was missing... don't ask me how that happened. That was one of the worse times for me but I have paid the price one to many times for taking a test on little to no sleep.
  24. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    Different people have different methods of helping knowledge retention.

    For me re-reading the info and taking notes helps me a lot.

    For my sister I know making flash cards out of note cards helps. That works ok for me but I think note taking helps me better.

    I know some people that record what they have to remember and play it back.

    Looking over past work- test and quizzes is an obvious must. Pretty much all the info on the exam will be from your tests and quizzes.
  25. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    Stop and sleep. Read something for leisure briefly. Then sleep, wake up refreshed, eat breakfast and go to school. If you're prepared, you'll do fine.

    My studying habits depend on the course. I try to be always present and just absorb all the information by paying attention (or at least passively if I'm sleeping) and so I study less right before exams.

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