Hi guys! So a lot of our classes are starting today, even with the eclipse so I thought I’d share some tips my teacher sent out to help everyone get a better grade in the sciences classes, which may or may not be slightly trickier than others. It’s important to realize that no one can get through all of these, so pick what is most important to you.
1) Put in the time. Using the “three-to-one” rule, three hours of studying outside of class time per one credit hour. If your class is 3 credits, you should be studying independently an additional 9 hours. For 4 credits, 12 hours. Teachers expect you to treat studying as your job (even if you do have an actual job) meaning you should virtually be studying anytime outside of meals, class, sleep, work, etc.
> To clarify, this is per week. Not at all per day. You will never be able to shove an appropriate amount of studying per class into one day. Do not try, it is not healthy.
2) NO cramming. It is MUCH more productive to study a little each day rather than 9 hours the day before a test. You will remember virtually nothing if you do and will not be as happy with the grade you recieve. Taking it in little bits stores it in long term memory and you will actually learn it rather than just regurgitating it onto a test.
3) Time management is crucial. Especially if you are someone who works or has kids or other priorities that also need attention. Make a schedule and. Stick. To. It.
4) Be prepared and organized. Do not be the person who lost their pencil and doesn’t have an extra, forgot a notebook or textbook, keys, etc. Give yourself enough time so you’re not rushing and make sure you have what you need! Your college professors are not here to attend to your personal needs when some of them have 800+ students a semester.
5) Use a calender. Write down your assignments, projects, class times, anything you need to remember. Use it religiously because it will be so much easier than trying to keep it all inside your head and that way you will not forget anything.
6) Use the book AND the notes. Most professors write things in a different way than the book and reading something in multiple different ways will better help you remember the concept rather than the sentence word for word.
7) Read ahead. Doing so helps you prepare for and not be lost in lecture and it will benefit you as well as the teacher.
8) Attend all/as many classes as you can and be an active listener. Sit up straight, face forward, don’t pay attention to what others around you are doing (I sit up front whenever possible). Keep an extra piece of paper near you in case you have questions so you can either ask or go back later and look it up yourself.
9) Take detailed notes. With permission, record the lecture so you can hear it again later, abbreviate whatever you are scribbling down, and then as soon as you can after class, rewrite it in a neater, nicer way and don’t be afraid to word things differently. A review shortly after class is proven to help it convert to long term memory.
10) Keep your phone off in class. I know we all love our phones and class is boring, but it’s also crucial information. We’ve all been through that period of regret where we wished we had paid attention. Don’t let that happen anymore. Use it only for emergencies and recording lectures.
11) Even if you don’t rewrite your notes after class, review them. Make sure to pay attention to anything the teacher may have repeated or any learning objectives they would like for you to know.
12) Study early and often! This goes along with no cramming but the sooner and more repetitively you relay information to your brain, the easier it will be to remember it. If you don’t look at the information for 2 weeks and then suddenly need to remember it all, not only will you be too stressed to retain it, you’ll also be wasting valuable time. Make your own study guides and test questions.
13) Make flashcards. Flashcards are only useful when you a) shuffle them occasionally and b) take the ones you’ve memorized out of the pile but still review them every now and then to make sure you still remember. Put any back in the pile that you missed.
14) Use mnemonic devices for lists of related terms.
15) Type or rewrite your notes. I’d recommend writing them again, because physical writing by hand is another way to help remember it.
16) Consolidate your material. This means: tables, lists, figures, concept maps. Reasonable chucks.
17) Teach it to someone else. The best way to tell if you have mastered something is that you are able to explain it to someone else correctly in a way that makes sense.
18) Pick a good place for effective studying. We all love our study groups, but let’s be honest. At most the first 20 minutes is talking, then 10 minutes of studying before half the group is surfing Tumblr and the other half is complaining they’re hungry. I prefer to study by myself for this reason. Find a quiet place with minimal distractions and get prepared to work your fucking ass off.
19) Get decent rest before the exam and be sure to get there early or on time, unpredictable situations included. Exams are important and your teacher will not care if there was a traffic jam. If you miss the exam, you miss the exam.
20) Learn from your mistakes. Review your incorrect exam answers and figure out why it was wrong and why the correct answer was correct. Talk to your teacher, TA, resource lab, anyone who may help you if you’re stuck.
21) Review the midterm and start preparing for finals. Most of the midterm material should be on the final, so it’s one of your best study guides.
22) Keep your textbooks and notes. I know we’re all broke as fuck and would like to sell them back, but you never know when that information will be useful in another class down the road.
23) Do NOT discuss grades, quizzes, tests, or exams with your class mates. Of course they’ll complain that they didn’t study, that chapter 6 was this, or chapter 8 said that and it was confusing. This type of conversation will only make you nervous so steer clear of all of it.
Edit: I have made an adjustment to #2 to clarify that the 3 hours of studying/1 credit hour for that class should be per week, not per day. 💕