Sometimes studying can feel boring, time-consuming and as though nothing is actually sinking in. That usually means that either your study method isn’t working anymore or that you need to change things up!
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I love using different methods to study and revise. It was about two years ago that I started searching for other study methods and revision techniques because I was stuck in the cycle of read-write-repeat and learning nothing. It’s so frustrating to spend so much time on trying to study, reading paragraph after paragraph, taking what seems like nice, neat, concise notes and not being able to remember or apply any of it when it comes time for exams. That’s why I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite study techniques!
[day 92 // #100daysofproductivity] Today's study session is brought to you from my bed… Because my university only let's you resit exams if you're dying, I'm taking a chilled approach to studying for tomorrow's exam. It's all good though because I have throat lozenges, @vegechips, crash course videos and flash cards. 😊😊😊 Happy studying everyone!
Flashcards are my absolute favourite way to memorise information. I find them especially useful for definitions, names, and dates, which there are a lot to remember when studying psychology. If you have a certain subject that relies heavily on you memorising information, flashcards are your best bet.
A little hack that I’ve learnt for using flashcards is to use stickers or dots on your flashcards to create a system that indicates how well you know the information. For example, I use green stickers on cards that I can easily recall, a yellow sticker on cards that I can recall with a little prompting and red for cards I’m struggling with. This way when I study, I’m not focusing on information I already know and can put more effort into the cards that I can’t remember.
Another easy little hack is to colour code the edges of your flashcards with either washi tape or highlighter. This would be a fun way to break up subjects by topic or bigger topics into smaller chunks, making it easier to learn everything you need to.
I store my flashcards in a little flashcard container that has dividers, which I divide by subject. This makes it pretty convenient to take them out with me and study on the go but I’ve also seen people store them on rings and in containers on their desk.
I also really, really love the website Quizlet for online flashcards but there’s also a lot of amazing flashcard apps for phones on the market which would make studying with flashcards so convenient.
Study tip #382829276 for university exams – use your syllabus to make a study guide! I break down content week by week, using the learning outcomes as a guide to make sure I'm studying everything I need to! It's my favourite method of collating information! I keep a hard copy to read when I want and a copy on my phone for when I have a spare minute. It's low fuss, no stress memory training basically. (I should also mention I do practice quizzes and use more comprehensive notes as well, but use this as my basic method of information recall for exams!) How do you prep for exams?
I’ve shared how I make my study guides by using my syllabus in a previous post but basically, I love using study guides to revise for finals and big exams. I’m able to condense an entire semesters worth of notes into a couple of pages and use that to guide my studying. I don’t use this for memorising, more so for revision and prompting recall because it’s just not effective for that.
I simply take the learning outcomes from my syllabus, turn them into the headings for my study guide and input the information from my textbook and lecture notes. Another easy way to format your study guide would be to divide it by topic, take your lecture notes, class notes and textbook notes and put in the information based on what’s important for each topic.
The most effective way to write out the important information is to use dot points. This way it’s easy to read, nice and concise and I’m not including a ton of information I don’t actually need. Just be careful that you’re not forgetting anything that’s actually important!
I like to keep a copy of my study guide on my phone using an app like Evernote so that I can revise on the go but I also keep a printed copy in a presentation folder so I can ask friends and family to quiz me using my guide!
One of the most underrated revision methods, study groups are a great way to further your knowledge and get help on topics or subjects you aren’t so good at. It’s also 100 times more fun to study with friends than it is to study on your own… as long as you make sure you get your work done!
The best way to go about this is to get a group of your friends together, organise a time that suits everyone and meet once a week/fortnight. This works best because it creates a routine and makes it a lot easier to get work done!
If you don’t have any friends in your classes or don’t have anyone to study with, send an email out to your classmates asking to start a study group or email your professor/lecturer who might be nice enough to share the idea around. Another idea is to check out for school organised study clubs. For instance, my school runs a psychology study club with post graduate students helping those in undergrad with assignments and exam preparation. It an easy, no commitment required way to get some free help.
And if all else fails, check out online communities like Studygram, Studyblr and Facebook groups! It might not work the same way as a physical get-together study group but it may help you out if you can find some people doing the same course, even if you’re not taking the same classes at that time!
Practice Quizzes and Exams.
I learn really well by using practice exams. In the first year of my undergrad, I was so spoilt with practice quizzes uploaded by the lecturers for revision and boy, was it effective. It honestly would have helped me raise my GPA by a good couple of points!
My first tip for using practice quizzes fro revision would be to check out what previous exams are available to you. If you’re lucky you’re school will release old exams and let you use them for exam revision. If you’re unlucky, like me, your school won’t release anything, so you either have to create your own or go on the hunt for something similar.
My go-to is to google the topic (for instance, for my developmental psych class I would google ‘teenage psychological development quiz’) and see what pops up from other schools. It doesn’t always work perfectly as every school does things a little differently but if that fails, I check out Quizlet once again. Other than their flashcard section, they also have a practice quiz section where you can choose the type of questions – multiple choice, short answer, etc. So easy and so helpful!
My last resort, if I can’t find anything else, is to use my study guide to create a practice exam. I either hand it over to a friend and family member and ask them to create a couple of questions for me or I’ll create my own. It’s probably my favourite method of studying because it’s so effective and it’s not as monotonous as reading-writing-rereading my notes.
What are your favourite ways to revise? Do you have a particular technique or method you’ve found really effective or do you stick with the good old textbook/note read through method?
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