As students, we sometimes have trouble retaining the information that we have read when we were studying. This can cause students to receive bad grades. But it happens because students don't prepare properly for tests. This article covers some basics, but if you really want to learn how to study well then I highly recommend How to Get the Best Grades With the Least Amount of Effort.
In the fast-paced world of studying for exams, it's easy to forget that there are some basic steps you can take to improve your ability to retain information and to cut your studying time down. Try these tips to enhance your study skills:
- Look for an undisturbed place, free of people and transit noise. These things will favor your concentration.
- Avoid listening to music or the television while you study. Otherwise, your attention may focus on what you're hearing instead of what you are reading.
- Make a deal with your friends to not call you while you are studying. Turn off your cell phone and don't log in to your email or social networking sites.
- Don't study in bed. You need to be alert when preparing for your exams. If you're in bed, you may fall asleep. Setting aside a dedicated workspace for your schoolwork is best; if you don't have a place that can be used only for studying then using the same spot in your home (the dining room table, for example) each time you sit down to study will help you get into a good routine.
- Start by doing your reading from the beginning to the end. Don't stop to read details.
- Read the chapter or assignment again; this time, identify the most important ideas in each paragraph. Look up any words you don't know, and make sure you understand the essential points in each section before moving on to the next one.
- Summarize what you have read. One of the best ways to prepare for an exam is being able to summarize what you read using short and objective phrases.
- Ask yourself: what does this mean? What does that mean? If you don't know, read through the selection again; sometimes it helps to take a brief break and to revisit the material.
- Study for an hour and half, with ten-minute breaks between each session. Try to relax and process the information you've just read.
- Physical exercise is important. Shoot for at least 3 hours a week of combined cardio and stretching. Physical exercise improves your health and circulation and is a great way to improve your mental function and overall productivity.
- If you're exhausted, don't study. If you're sleepy, you won't learn half as much as when you're rested.
Study groups or brief discussions of the material with your classmates will also help reinforce what you've learned. Good luck on your next exam!