It can be tempting to “cram” for an exam the night before, but research shows that your brain needs time to learn new material successfully. During the first few week of term, set up a study timetable for every upcoming exam, and be sure to start studying early.
When studying, use the three most effective methods for learning new material:
- Rather than read over the textbook, quiz yourself on the material. What do you remember? What have you forgotten? Work through example problems. Build yourself practice quizzes, create flashcards (or do it online), or join a study group and quiz each other.
- Leave time between your study sessions. Your brain has a hard time learning and remember everything at once. Instead of a very long study session, plan to study multiple times in shorter increments.
- Your brain loves to make comparisons. Instead of focusing on one topic or one type of problem or one subject, mix up your study. Practice different types of example questions.
- Quiz yourself on one chapter, then another, then return to the first chapter. Study for biology first, then study for economics, then study again for biology. By mixing and matching, you force your brain to build its network of comparisons, helping you to remember material for later.
Looking for more tips? You can also try these strategies:
- Visit your professor’s office hours.
- Group similar information (“chunking”).
- Build a study guide or “cheat sheet”, even if you can’t bring it to the exam.
- Rewrite vocab words from your textbook in your own words.
- Revise your notes.
Return to Study Skills. Or review other strategies: