Student Spotlight

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Tips on study strategies
Believe it or not, I rarely use notecards -- I've always found that I study best through readings. During first semester organic chemistry, I did well by reading the book after each lecture despite it not being required. However, come second semester organic chemistry, I quickly realized that the professor was not following the book as closely as my first semester professor did. Moreover, the material presented in class was sufficient for the problem sets. I was able to be flexible and switched to a notecard method -- my first time doing so in college. This willingness to adapt to the demands of the class allowed me to succeed even though the format of the class was entirely different from my prior experiences.
Taking practice tests made me better prepared for exams. I'm not the best at retaining static information so taking a practice test helped me remember.
When I was reading long chapters in textbooks, I found a problem that it took me too much time and I struggle with focusing for long periods of time. I first thought about what the professor might want us to learn from the textbook, and then selectively read the content from the most important to the least. Then I tested this method for several times and found it worked well. Then I established this as a new habit.
During the first semester of my freshman year, I was enrolled in Econ 101. I had never taken an econ class and didn't know what to expect as far as the content and how much I would have to study to perform well. In high school, studying notes and homework from class generally tended to be all the study materials I needed to do well on exams; however, I soon learned in college this wouldn't be the case. After the first exam, I decided I needed to find a study technique that went beyond just reading lecture notes repeatedly and reviewing the homework. I thought practicing the material from old tests might be helpful, and it was. This habit pushed me to engage in the material at a higher level, and think through problems in a multitude of ways. For many of the heavy-volume classes I've taken since then, I've kept this study habit and it has worked for my learning style the majority of the time.
It took me a long time to figure out what the best study habits are, and it still varies from class to class, but I took an educational psychology class where we discussed study habits. I found that for me it is best to slowly re-read my notes and comprehend the little details and then go back and re-write my notes with less detail but add more comparisons and connections between concepts.