With final exams fast approaching, students are going to be putting in some long hours preparing and getting ready. No studying is bad studying, but there are definitely a few learning strategies that students should have a basic understanding of so they can be more effective with the time that they do spend preparing for finals.
Quizzing is King- Retrieval is the ultimate when it comes to learning. Re-reading is something to avoid. So often, we hear from students that they’re going to re-read their notes, their slides, or their book. This doesn’t have a negative effect, but it also isn’t as helpful as quizzing. Quizzing forces students to retrieve and strengthens their ability to hold information in their long-term memory. When we re-read something, we convince ourselves that we know it. The only true way to know if we have learned something is if we ask ourselves a question and can answer it. If we can’t answer it, then we don’t know it! Re-reading fools us into believing that we know everything.
Space it Out- Three 30 minute sessions throughout the week are going to be more effective than one 90 minute session right before a test. This takes a lot of discipline and self-management, but when students are able to get started early and space their studying out over time, they will be able to get the repetitions they need that will lead to better learning.
Get Out of Your Living Space- Whether it’s a dorm, apartment, or house, students need to get out and about when studying. Having the right environment is crucial to being able to initiate and maintain long periods of work. By getting out to the library, a Starbucks, or meeting a friend somewhere on campus, students will be able to be much more productive and eliminate a lot of the distractions that can prevent studying from getting done.
Getting ready for finals is always stressful and pressure-packed. It’s important that students have a basic understanding of the core principles that they can incorporate to make their studying be as productive as possible.