by Reese McBride and Juliana Packard
Quizzes, tests, and exams can eliminate any chance of a good grade that you might have, especially in classes where summative and formative assignments carry higher or lower percentages. Assessments in general can be extremely difficult to succeed on if you don’t adequately study for them.
Studying can seem so incredibly daunting, but it will help you be successful in high school and if you choose to pursue higher education in the future. Here are some tips for studying success.
“Make like a tomato and time it!”
The first method is the Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato as it was named after the kitchen timer that Franceso Cirillo used to develop the technique. The first step to the technique is to pin down the tasks that need to be finished and write them down. Then set a 25 minute timer and work with no distractions. After that timer goes off, take a five minute break and repeat the process three more times. After the sessions are over, take a 30 minute break and start again. You can find timers such as this one online.
“Explain it to me like I’m five.”
The next method is called the Feynman Technique. The idea of this method is to learn about a topic and then explain it to a child. For people with little siblings, this can be a very effective way to retain information. Once you have learned what the concept is, break it down in a way that is easy to understand and explain it to someone considerably younger than you. Allow them to ask questions and make observations about the subject. Repeat the process a few times and try to make the topic simple as simple as possible and explain it as quickly as possible.
Another popular method among students is the Leitner System. This is a long term memorization method and can take anywhere from one to three weeks, depending on how much information and how long it takes you to memorize. The Leitner System works by creating flashcards and placing the flashcards in sections. The first section should contain all the cards and these should be studied everyday until you memorize any of them.
Once a card from the first section is memorized, place that card into a new section that you study every other day. Keep spacing out the section study times and moving the flashcards back and forth, until you can confidently say that you know all of them.
The last strategy in this article is Reward Learning. Reward learning is exactly what it sounds like: reward yourself for learning something. These few steps before you start the process, however, are necessary for Reward Learning in the most effective way. The first step is to set realistic goals. The definition of realistic can vary from person to person, so remember not to worry about what others are achieving.
Another thing to remember is that when it comes to rewards is a little goes a long way. Your rewards should be the same size as your goals. For instance, if you completed all of your homework in under an hour, allow yourself an hour and a half to spend some time with family and friends or scroll through social media. Aric Mitchell also recommends going on a small shopping spree, spending time with your significant other, or a trip to the movies in his article, “50 Ways To Rewards Yourself For Studying.”
Harvard University wrote about how it can feel overwhelming to continuously study without giving yourself some credit. So, go to Target or wherever you shop and get something you like. If you have a really hard exam in Physics and you know you are not going to feel motivated to study, find something whether that be a face mask or a movie to watch later to get yourself excited to study.
“Gimme a Break!”
There is a common misconception that when studying you need to continuously study and not take any breaks to get as much information as possible. Cornell University has done many tests on the effectiveness of taking a break while studying. This will help your brain process the information, and help you to relax and not take too much on.
Breaks are a great way to refresh your mind and provide a new perspective on your work. The idea with breaks is to completely stop working on the task at hand. Leave the workspace and go to another room or even just turn around.
StatPearls recommends taking some time to practice self-care. This could be listening to your favorite album or even taking a nice bubble bath. This can create a nice balance between your studying and you as a person. Some things that you can do during your break are standing up to stretch, going for a quick walk, or phoning a friend. Remember to not spend too much time away from your books or you’ll feel like you’ve started over when you return.
“Give It a Rest.”
Some believe that it might be easier to get a better grade on an exam if you pull an all-nighter to study. “Students should get the proper amount of sleep at night to help stay focused, improve concentration, and improve academic performance,” the CDC said. The importance of sleep while studying is to help you retain the information and be able to concentrate better on your exam.
When you’re studying, you may get super focused and forget to eat. “Your body gains the energy and nutrients it needs to function properly from the foods you eat,” Computer Science Institute said. If you eat healthy foods like fruit and dark leafy vegetables while studying, it can help you stay focused and retain information. Taking care of your body by eating while studying will help you be energized enough to keep studying.