Studying is hard. We totally get that! That’s why we’ve created this blog to help you study smart, not hard. We want you to leave your study sessions feeling prepared, confident, reassured, and ready to tackle whatever academic challenges await you.
Where to Start
Valuable study time can be lost simply from not knowing where to begin or from beginning in the wrong place… so where to begin? First, we recommend that students list out the topics contained in a unit or exam. From there, we suggest they label topics based on how comfortable they are with the material. For example, for students in elementary school, one possible scale is “red, yellow, green” where red marks topics that need full review, yellow marks topics that are fairly understood but could use refinement of the finer details, and green marks mastery. Time-wise, this allows students to prioritize those shaky areas, and it also ensures study sessions can end on a positive note (saving the best for last pays off)! And most important of all, it ensures all material is reviewed. A useful way to check if a student has reached mastery is to pose this self-reflective question: “Could I teach this to a friend?”
The internet contains hundreds of wonderful virtual resources, from video content to interactive labs and written explanations. But of course, students must be wary of the source’s reputability. When in doubt, we recommend students verify sources with their teachers or tutors. We can recommend Khan Academy, College Board and AP Central, and Crash Course reviews, but even these highly recognizable sources may overlook finer details or content specific to students’ exact courses. Again, when in doubt, consult teachers! Aside from online courses, review books are a lovely study tool. These can range anywhere from Baron’s or Princeton AP review books to Advanced Calculus textbooks. Local libraries, school libraries, and bookstores hold a wealth of information if the information students seek is too hefty for a simple Google search.
The Basics: Some "Hacks"
Teachers often formulate their test questions from their PowerPoints and worksheets which will hold true in college, too; therefore, a great way to ease into studying is to simply retake class notes or rework some problems. The mere act of rewriting notes by hand is proven to help solidify students’ understanding of the material.
Another great resource - often overlooked - is the class textbook. Class texts generally hold more in-depth information, and they may explain questions that arise based on teachers’ explanations of the material. Textbooks also help students familiarize themselves with unit vocabulary, and seeing these words in context helps with later applications.
ACTIVELY STUDY. That’s right. We bolded and italicized this one and for good reason. Monotonously reading over notes is a passive, lazy way of studying. The brain skips over areas of confusion, and simply reading notes doesn’t offer a way to hone in or reinforce any information. What should students do instead? Rewrite notes. Rework practice problems - or better yet, find new ones! Make physical flashcards. Draw diagrams. Students should challenge themselves to think harder.
TEACH FRIENDS. By teaching their peers, students are forced to articulate and explain concepts in a way that their peers will understand. By acting as the teacher, students are required to fully understand the material, and moreover, to be comfortable with answering potential questions posed by their peers. True mastery comes with the ability to teach, reteach, and re-explain material, which is why we recommend this method above all others!
The Power of Lists
Lists are a simple, yet effective way to reach goals. When it comes to studying, writing down topics to study, questions to ask teachers, and additional areas to review helps keep students on track, motivated, and even encouraged. Devising a list of questions to clarify with teachers is especially helpful - if students can identify what it is they do not know, they’ve already fought half the battle!
It all Boils Down to Commitment
At the end of the day, there is no magic answer to perfect studying. It takes consistency, practice, and time to learn to study well. But boy, oh boy, is it worth it!
Let us know how we can help!
For more information, questions, or feedback, please reach out! www.hifivetutoring.com