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Five Scientific Steps to Ace Your Next Exam | Scott H Young

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https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2019/03/18/5-strategies-ace-exam/

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Five Scientific Steps to Ace Your Next Exam | Scott H Young
Below, I'd like to outline a simple strategy you can use to ace any exam you might have coming up. Although the specific strategy is my own, the approach is based on cognitive science. In particular, I'm going to look at five key ideas from cognitive science that are easy to miss, but extremely important if you want to study effectively.

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Key Ideas

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When to Study

When to Study

Studying time is more efficient if it is spread out over many sessions throughout the semester, with a little extra right before the exam.

Cover each piece of info five times from when you fi...

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What and How to Study

What and How to Study

Testing yourself, so you have to retrieve the information from memory, works much better than repeatedly reviewing the information, or creating a concept map (mind map).

After the first time ...

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What Kinds of Practice to Do

What Kinds of Practice to Do
For a particular exam, use the following:
  • Mock tests and exams that are identical in style and form.
  • Redo problems from assignments, textbook questions or quizzes.
  • Generate ...

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Make Sure You Really Understand

Make Sure You Really Understand

Passing and failing rest on whether you understood some important ideas.

Your top priority should be to understand the core concepts. Identify the core concepts and make sure you can explain ...

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Overcome Anxiety

Overcome Anxiety

Anxiety makes it difficult to remember things. To help overcome this, make some of your studying sessions like a mock exam, using the same seating posture, materials, and the same time constraints....

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Ditch Your Learning Style

Learning styles (visual, auditory etc.) have actually little impact on our ability to learn.

The best way to learn depends on what you’re trying to learn in the first place. The ...

Find Meaning In Learning

If you try to force yourself to just memorize random facts, you’re likely to forget them. 

We will most likely remember only the information that was meaningful to us, that we’ve been able to connect to our lives and our experiences.

Learn by Doing

We learn best when we perform the tasks we’re trying to learn. 

No matter how good your grades were at college, most of your learning takes place once you enter the workplace and start applying what you've learned.

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The best routine for studying

The best routine for studying

It is often unhelpful to hear that the perfect routine is the one you can stick to to help you reach your goals. As everyone is different in personality, constraints, and preferences, the ideal met...

The ingredient of the perfect studying routine

  1. Instructions can be in the form of lessons, books, or tutoring. They are useful to avoid wasting time with trial-and-error.
  2. Retrieval involves deliberately remembering the knowledge, not just passively reviewing it.
  3. Spacing is repeated reviews, spread out over time. It forms part of a regular routine where you cover old knowledge along with new.
  4. Understanding. The goal of learning is for ideas to make sense. Explain the concept to yourself. When you get stuck, find a textbook or teacher to help you.
  5. Feedback. You don't have to get feedback from other people. When you can get accurate feedback that doesn't need another person, go there first.

Fixing your current studying routine

To perfect your studying routine, look at your current routine, and see what's missing. For example:

  • An amateur painter will grow faster if they add instruction to their existing knowledge.
  • Learning history by reading a lot: Why not write an essay or converse with other history buffs?
  • You work correctly through a course, but don't space your learning: A ten-minute pop-quiz on previous topics can help you remember and save hours later.

Self-control

Self-control

It’s your ability to resolve conflicts between your short-term desires and your long-term goals.

For example, successful self-control means sacrificing immediate pleasure (cookies a...

Why self-control matters

People who have high self-control aren’t missing out on enjoyment. Not being able to resist temptation and enjoying life are not the same things.

They tend to eat in a healthily way, exercise more, sleep better, drink less alcohol, smoke fewer cigarettes, achieve higher grades at university, have more peaceful relationships, and are more financially secure.

Biological limits to self-control

Research showed that self-control is ultimately limited by our biology. We can’t exercise effortful self-control indefinitely – the brain has to do regular maintenance to remain functional.

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