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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 learning the material, spend the subsequent studying to recalling the information, solving a problem or explaining the idea without glancing at the source.

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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 first learn it until your exam. It will enable you to retain the information with minimal effort.

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 your own questions or writing prompts based on the material.
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 them without looking at the material.

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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RELATED IDEAS

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.

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Spaced Practice

Instead of cramming all the material one night before the exam start preparing for it early and learn the material many time in suitable intervals.

  • Day 1: Learn the material in class.
  • Day 2: Revisit and review.
  • Day 3: Revisit and review.
  • After one week: Revisit and review.
  • After two weeks: Revisit and review.

Use a ‘commitment contract’. This is a way to impose costs on self-control failure.

For example, you sign a contract with a friend or a company and place a financial deposit. You only get your deposit back if you meet certain criteria after an agreed-on period of time. For instance, you need to cut down your smoking to a few cigarettes a day. If you don’t satisfy the criteria, then you lose your deposit.