Hey everyone, thanks for checking out my blog on this wonderful Wednesday!
All throughout undergraduate, various students would ask me how I studied for exams, especially in the more difficult 4000L courses. Now I know that everyone is different, so my way of studying may not be the best way for you to study. With that said, feel free to take some techniques, ignore others, and customize any of them to your individual learning needs.
My biggest piece of advice for preparing for an exam is DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! I know this may be hard, especially if you are working and have a full course load. However, I worked part-time and sometimes took 18 credit hours a semester... you need to study a little bit at a time as you go along or you will drown right before the exam!
During lectures, take notes on the powerpoint (ppt) slides in the notes section. By taking notes on the actual ppt slides, you will only be writing additional important information and you will know what this slide this information is in reference to.
When you are done with that lecture (during a break between classes or before bed), start making a studying guide utilizing the ppt slides and your lecture notes. By making a study guide as you go, you are reinforcing the information and you are saving valuable time before the exam.
Depending on the difficulty level of the course and on the professor's ability to teach you the necessary information, you may need to read the textbook. If you have an excellent professor or the material is not that difficult to comprehend, then just utilize the lectures. If you have an excellent professor but the material is difficult, then read the textbook after the lecture just to clarify any concepts that you did not fully understand during lecture. If you have a bad professor and the material is difficult, then you really need to put in the time to teach the material to yourself by reading the textbook before lecture.
After preparing your study guide a little bit at a time, the exam is approaching and now you need to really study the information you have prepared!
I start studying for an exam by reading every sentence and highlighting the important information in my study guide (on my laptop) approximately 1-2 times. By highlighting as I am reading, I am ensuring that I am actually focusing on what I am reading. I also designate specific highlighting colors for different purposes to make future studying easier.
Then I read my study guide and unhighlight the information that I now understand- leaving only the information I still do not know or understand left highlighted. I repeat this process until very little information is left highlighted.
For any information left highlighted, I will either make flashcards or I will simply write the information down repeatedly depending on how much time I have left before the exam. If I have more than a few hours, I will actually put in the effort of making and studying flashcards. If I have less than a few hours, I will just write it down I few times... somehow this really works!
The above information is honestly exactly how I study for every single course that I took throughout college and it worked out extremely well for me! However, the ability to study for multiple courses in this manner, as well as complete other quizzes, projects, presentations, homework assignments, etc requires excellent time management skills! I use the iStudiez Pro app on my Macbook and it is an absolute lifesaver! Every since I found this application during my second semester of college, my study habits and grades completely took a turn for the better! I know the application cost money, but I promise that if you utilize this application every semester it will definitely be worth it. No this is not a paid ad, I just genuinely love this application and I think that every college student should use it for time management. Below I added a picture of what my iStudiez currently looks like- I am only take 1 online Biochemistry course, so it is not too busy.
To really get the most use out of this app, I would suggest adding in all of the readings, homework assignments, quizzes, exams, etc for every single one of your classes before the semester starts. So once you get your syllabus for the course, fill this baby out! If you add all the due dates in before the semester, then there is no way you can miss a deadline.
Well I hope you guys found these study techniques useful and remember to customize any of them to your individual needs. Also if you decide to give iStudiez Pro a try, I really hope you fandom over it as much as I do!