Image from Flickr

Image from Flickr

Studying isn’t typically anyone’s favorite thing to do, but we all have to do it. I personally do not have to do it as much as other majors since I am in the English program. I do have a few classes that are in the STEM field that have tests and exams that are causing me to learn how to study properly. In high school I thought I knew how to do it well but now being in college, studying is even more intense. Don’t worry though! If you’re like me and don’t really know how to study I have a few tips and tricks to help with it in high school, ACT and college.

1. Make a study plan

This has helped me get through working while being in college because I can keep track of what days and times to study. You don’t want to procrastinate studying until the night before, as tempting as that is. It makes studying seem a lot less painful when you do it broken up throughout a week or so instead of all at once for long chunk of time.

I recommend that when you find out you have a test, exam or quiz coming to start planning then. It makes it less stressful too to plan studying around other assignments instead of not having enough time to do everything. For me, I plan at least two hours of studying each night for about a week before the test or exam. This also allows you to have time to ask the professor or another student any questions instead of waiting for the night before at midnight when you won’t be able to contact anyone. I’ve been in that situation before and it is not worth it.

2. Figure out what type of learner you are

Everyone learns differently and learning if you are an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner will make studying easier. I am a visual learner and need to write everything out to make it stick in my mind. If there are terms I need to learn I will write them multiple times to remember the word. I also suggest making flashcards to always have with you so whenever you have a free minute you can run through them. This is also a way I study because I learn the cards in my mind after seeing them so many times.

Also, high lighting and taking notes is something that I do every day in all of my classes. Even if I’m not studying I still take notes on whatever I am reading if it is online and I highlight it if it is printed or a book. This causes me to focus on what I am reading instead of skimming and makes me retain the information longer because I am engaging with the reading. You may be a combination of the learning types like I am. In my math classes I work better when hearing the information before writing it down or just reading the book. If I am stuck on a problem I work through it out loud like I was teaching it to someone else. It helps to hear it out loud and it causes it to make sense to me. Once you find out which type of learner you are make sure you figure out what study skills help you learn the easiest and use those to your advantage.

3. Practice and revisit

I find that making test or quizzes works for me because I can practice the information or problems instead of just memorizing it. If I see the information presented in a different format than my notes or books it helps me remember it and learn it easier also.

Remember though, doing the homework isn’t the same as studying. I usually use the same problems I have done before so I know I am getting the right answers. I do recommend using new ones too so you’re not memorizing the steps to a few problems. If you’re studying for something non STEM related, practice quizzes still work. Instead of using problems use short answer questions about the information or terms you are learning. Also re-read anything you were given about the subject because it will re-jog your memory and you might stumble on something you didn’t catch the first time. This is easier too if you highlight and write notes on the pages.

If you’re planning on taking the ACT’s I do recommend getting a practice test book. You will get a feel of how the test will be set up and you can practice taking a timed test. At most schools there are prep classes offered and I highly suggest taking these. These classes made me prepared for the test and I was ready for the sections. There are tips and hints to taking this test they will teach you (or a prep book if these classes aren’t offered in your school) that will make it easier on you. Studying for standardized testing is not about learning a lot of facts because the test is different than the practice books. It is best to study how the test is set up and take practice tests. Taking these will allow you to apply your skills on similar questions and you will be ready for almost any question that is on it.

Studying can become less of a pain if you figure out ways to make it easier and make it fit with your learning style. You won’t hate it as much if you don’t procrastinate and do it all at once late at night when you have no energy to. If you space it out and use your time wisely you might even grow to enjoy studying…if that is possible!

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