When you take the time to study so that you can better recall material, it’s important to find strategies that truly work for you to learn and not just go through the motions. When you find that just re-reading notes over again doesn’t cut it, consider some of the options below to mix up your routine and help you better retain the information you are learning.
- When you are going to read, take a minute to preview the chapter. Look at headings, anything bolded, etc. to prepare your brain for what you are about to learn. Consider questions that you have while you initially look through the material and try to answer the questions as you go to help stay engaged.
- Plan time to regularly study and allow yourself to focus on one topic at a time. For each topic take a couple minutes to organize and plan what you will work on, study for 30-50 minutes, and then allow yourself a short break. Before moving on after the break, take 5 minutes to review what you need to focus on next time and plan to cover again the concepts you’re still less familiar with.
- During your break, it can help to get up and stretch or to take a quick walk.
- Find ways to more actively engage in your studying instead of reading quietly.
- Try reading aloud or teach the material to someone else. Even if it’s to an empty room, talking aloud to explain can help you find gaps in your knowledge if you aren’t able to explain something prior to an exam or quiz.
- Come up with potential test questions for yourself from your notes that you can practice answering. If your instructor provides practice questions, work on them without looking at the solutions first.
- Use flash cards where applicable, but be sure to mix them up and do them both ways (see if you can come up with the word and the definition). If you don’t want to make them by hand, try Quizlet.
- Take advantage of resources available to you to if you are having trouble understanding material. Consider looking into Kirkwood’s tutoring options or find time to connect with your instructor.