First of all, get good sleep. It is much harder to take in information and memorize it when you are tired. The more alert you are the more knowledge you will retain.
Show up to class. Skipping class is a surefire way to get behind.
Pay attention in class. Put your cell phone away. Focus.
Be prepared for class. I don’t understand people that show up late, don’t bring the textbooks, bring no notebooks, and ask me to borrow a pen and paper. Guess what? Those are the people that fail. One of the reasons I’m on the Dean’s List is because I show up to class on time and prepared.
Find out what kind of learner you are. Are you a book learner? Do you learn best by hearing? Or doing/acting out? Do you have a photographic memory?
Take good notes. I find hand writing notes help me remember much better than typed notes.
Organization is key to success.
Review the material before you get to class. Read the chapter ahead of time.
Outline the chapter. Make a quick bullet pointed list of what the chapter is talking about.
When you review before class, write down any questions you have. Make sure the teacher goes over anything you don’t understand.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. You’re not the only one who needs the answer.
Have an organized agenda just for school. Review regularly to make sure you remember all upcoming assignments that are due and tests to study for.
Have multiple color pens and highlighters. Yes, I’m OCD.
Have blank paper to draw diagrams or concept maps.
Rewrite your notes. The more times I write it the better I will remember it. I like to write things in a way that makes sense to me. I often rewrite a teacher’s entire lesson in a way that I understand it best.
If your teacher uses Powerpoint slides, you may be able to download them.
You can also print out the Powerpoint slides before class to be able to take notes quicker. I admit I never do this because of how much ink and paper it would cost, but if you can afford to do so it would help.
Mnemonics are great.
One of the best things to help me remember hard topics is to come up with silly stories. If you can make a story out of it, you’ll remember how it works. That’s especially helpful for health sciences.
Buy flashcards in bulk. There’s just something about flash cards that work really well for me. I have a photographic memory so if I draw something on the flash card I will remember it easier.
Break your flashcards into groups and review each group several times then review the entire stack.
At the end of your study session make a bullet points list of what you learned today.
Also make a list of things you are struggling with. Know your weakest areas.
There are study websites such as studystack.com that are great. At StudyStack you create flashcards and then you can quiz yourself with flashcards, matching, fill in the blank, word searches, hang man, scrambles, crosswords, and quizzes. The best part is StudyStack is free (ad supported).
I find a lot of helpful nursing school and health sciences study tips on Pinterest.
I’ve also looked at homeschool stuff online. They are usually more basic, but I find it helpful. Seeing crafts for kids on that subject helps me remember the basic foundational knowledge on science lessons.
Record the lecture in class.
Plan things out. Plan a time to study. Don’t leave it until the last minute.
Don’t cram study. You will only remember it in the short term. I want to learn in a way that I remember long term.
Get comfortable. Take your shoes off. Put some sweats on. Focus.
Relax. Pressuring yourself and getting stressed out will just make it harder to study. Stay calm.
Remove distractions. Discipline yourself to not end up on facebook when you are supposed to be studying.
I think this tip is good for me, but some may not like it. Don’t bring your laptop to class. A lot of students end up getting on facebook or checking their emails, etc… when they are supposed to be taking notes.
Take breaks. Close your eyes for a minute. Get up and stretch or walk around. You have to take time to digest what you’re studying.
Keep it quiet. A lot of students seem to play music while they study, but a 2010 Applied Cognitive Psychology study showed students who listened to music while they studied had the poorest recall abilities. If you don’t live alone, earplugs may be helpful.
Set aside a space in your house for homework and studying.
When you are lacking motivation to study, review the list of why you are going to college. Then just get it over with.
Don’t get burnt out. Designate one day a week, maybe Sunday, to no schoolwork and no studying. Just relax. Remember to have fun. Keep your priorities in life properly balanced. I honestly think this is the most helpful study tip for people like me with anxiety. Set it aside sometimes. Don’t let school and studying take over all of your life. Go do things you enjoy.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Learning is a process. I love to read and I have a tendency to want to read an entire textbook start to finish just because I want to soak it all up. But then I don’t remember as well as I do if I take small portions and ‘digest’ that before taking another ‘bite’. Study in small sections. When you know that section well, move on to the next.
Review as needed. Anytime you get confused start over. Go back over what you know. Build your knowledge one level at a time. I like to go back to the foundation and build upon that knowledge kind of like building blocks. I’ll start simple and slowly get more detailed.
Get in the habit of doing things that help you focus. Again, good sleep is SO helpful. Eat healthy. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and gain mental clarity. I love going outside for walks. There is just something calming about it. I have a much better time concentrating after going for a walk.
Have a study buddy. I personally learn best alone when it’s quiet, but having a study buddy for reviews can be helpful.
You can also try out study groups. If nothing else, it would be nice to have friendships among people who are interested in the same career that you are working toward.
Reward yourself for good grades. I’m thinking straight A’s deserve getting a massage.
If you start to struggle, seek help before you get behind. Most schools will have a tutoring center.
At the beginning of the semester find your resources. Is there a study lab you can go to for free? Are there websites the teacher would recommend you check out? Ask your teacher for recommended resources.
Believe in yourself. You can do this. Just take it one step at a time. Anything worth doing is going to be hard. Do it anyway.
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