Study Tips for Finals
Only one thing stands in the way of your well-deserved Winter Break. The dreaded “f-word”: FINALS. Since you are a smart student, you have been studying all along, especially if your teachers are preparing cumulative exams. However, everyone can use a little help. Below are a few tried and true tips for getting the most out of your study time.
Tips For Studying
Don’t try to cram everything in your head during one intensive session. Space things out. You will need to learn the content, then forget some things, then learn the content again. This process of learning-forgetting-relearning creates a much stronger trace in your long-term memory, allowing you to encode the information multiple times across multiple conditions. If you need to cram everything in during one session, it will make a much weaker trace in your long-term memory. So you may be able to pack enough into your head to knock out a quiz- but you will need to learn everything again for the test/exam.
Try studying in different contexts: at your desk in your room, in your bed, in the library, alone, with music, without music, outside, inside. Contextual variation will lead to the information being encoded under numerous contexts, creating multiple traces in your long-term memory; this generally leads to higher rates of recall.
Tips For Reviewing Material
Cover the answers
When you are studying and doing review problems, it’s a good practice to cover the answers and really test yourself. If you can see the answers, you may have a false sense of whether you could perform the problem unaided. Practice as if it were the real thing, under the same conditions, unaided.
Generate your own questions to test your knowledge
How well do you know the material? Create recall questions that could be on the test- and then at some point during preparation for an exam, attempt to answer these self-generated study questions. In general it is important that you do not passively review the material, but actually measure and gauge your retrieval of information. Review is generally passive. Retrieval Practice is what you will be asked to do on the test, so you must practice this. This is much more effective than passive reading or review. Retrieval Practice is fundamental to studying.
The Power Of Your Mind
Mentally rehearse a successful performance on an assessment.
Before you take an assessment or test, walk through the steps in your imagination of you successfully navigating the test.
Mentally reinforce thoughts of success and positive performance before and during the assessment.
Mentally recalling study conditions
While you are sitting for an assessment, mentally reinstate the conditions under which you prepared for the assessment. If you were in your room with music playing, recall the room, the materials, the time of day, the music playing. Bring yourself back to the context in which you encoded the information, and that memory cue can facilitate retrieval.