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Serious Favorite Ways of Studying?

Started by ZeoStar November 5th, 2019 2:53 PM
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ZeoStar

Male
dream world
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2.2 Years
For a long time whenever someone has mentioned "studying" it's hard for me to picture anything visual of it. I never studied in high-school, mostly I just relied on what I already knew, which got me through with average grades.

So when I entered college one of my biggest challenges became studying, because I never had to do it before. Sometimes I just "review" by skimming my notes from class, which honestly has gotten me poor results. Other times I would look for YouTube videos on the test material, but sometimes those YouTube videos wouldn't cover something that appeared on the exam, and this is where that method would go wrong. This is how I studied for anything Math related. I would look for tutorial videos on YouTube and attempt to do the math along with the video. Other times I would look for online tests that I thought might be similar to our exam.

Math is an awful subject for me. Thankfully as far as Math goes, I've passed all the required courses so far. I actually had to arrange personal meetings with the professor, and it helped me figure out where I was going wrong. Through these meetings she could provide me with the sections I needed to spend more time studying.

I have 3 midterm exams in these upcoming two weeks, so I'm wondering if anybody here has any preferred methods of studying? I try to put aside two hours each night of just reviewing my notes, but I feel I could be more efficient...My grades also fell behind early on, so I know this is my chance to recover.

5qwerty

WHOLLY MOLEY

Male
Seen 4 Hours Ago
Posted 1 Day Ago
1,572 posts
10.7 Years
I think you're on the right track. Reviewing material daily and talking to professors are two important things that a lot of college/university level students do not do. It's good that you already do this.

Now, I'm not really clear on your learning style or how your brain works, but I can try to share some things that I've heard or tried. Though note that I'm also fairly atypical compared to the standard human.

Preview before class
Taking a good look at your notes before class will help you get your mind into the correct context. If you spend just 20-30 minutes it may be able to help you a lot.

Turn off distractions
This should be pretty obvious, but I have definitely fallen into the "oh it's no big deal" mindset a few times. Close unneeded tabs or even shut off your internet. Turn your phone off and throw it somewhere. Do anything that can make it harder for you to enter "relaxed mode". Also make sure that your needs are taken care of first. Eat, drink, and rest. Turn off music as well - it is distracting whether you think so or not.

My studying style
I learn by example, so I do practice questions and end up learning from those. I also talk to myself while doing the questions, which is kind of odd. I read the questions aloud and also say my thought process. I also congratulate myself after getting a question correct, like saying "I'm so smart" to myself a bunch of times (though I do also call myself stupid if I get a question wrong, but the "I'm so smart" always outweighs calling myself dumb). You may not function like this, but maybe you do.

Setting rewards
If you have terrible time management, set up rewards for yourself. Sometimes I've delayed eating or watching videos or talking to people because I didn't finish the task I had set for myself. This only works if you set up a clear task for yourself. Also you can do punishments, like push-ups or sit-ups (or whatever else works in case you like push-ups or sit-ups). You can train your body while also studying.

Take breaks
It's not inefficient to go outside once in a while. Go for a walk or stretch or something. I've certainly felt that it would be a "waste of time" to spend some time walking outside and getting fresh air, but it actually helps a lot since you can get re-motivated. There were actually a few times when I figured out how to solve my problem that I was stuck on while walking outside.


Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts. I can also help a bit with Math/Statistics if you need any, though it sounds like you're done with Math. Do your best!

ZeoStar

Male
dream world
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 7 Hours Ago
2,839 posts
2.2 Years
I think you're on the right track. Reviewing material daily and talking to professors are two important things that a lot of college/university level students do not do. It's good that you already do this.

Now, I'm not really clear on your learning style or how your brain works, but I can try to share some things that I've heard or tried. Though note that I'm also fairly atypical compared to the standard human.

Preview before class
Taking a good look at your notes before class will help you get your mind into the correct context. If you spend just 20-30 minutes it may be able to help you a lot.

Turn off distractions
This should be pretty obvious, but I have definitely fallen into the "oh it's no big deal" mindset a few times. Close unneeded tabs or even shut off your internet. Turn your phone off and throw it somewhere. Do anything that can make it harder for you to enter "relaxed mode". Also make sure that your needs are taken care of first. Eat, drink, and rest. Turn off music as well - it is distracting whether you think so or not.

My studying style
I learn by example, so I do practice questions and end up learning from those. I also talk to myself while doing the questions, which is kind of odd. I read the questions aloud and also say my thought process. I also congratulate myself after getting a question correct, like saying "I'm so smart" to myself a bunch of times (though I do also call myself stupid if I get a question wrong, but the "I'm so smart" always outweighs calling myself dumb). You may not function like this, but maybe you do.

Setting rewards
If you have terrible time management, set up rewards for yourself. Sometimes I've delayed eating or watching videos or talking to people because I didn't finish the task I had set for myself. This only works if you set up a clear task for yourself. Also you can do punishments, like push-ups or sit-ups (or whatever else works in case you like push-ups or sit-ups). You can train your body while also studying.

Take breaks
It's not inefficient to go outside once in a while. Go for a walk or stretch or something. I've certainly felt that it would be a "waste of time" to spend some time walking outside and getting fresh air, but it actually helps a lot since you can get re-motivated. There were actually a few times when I figured out how to solve my problem that I was stuck on while walking outside.


Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts. I can also help a bit with Math/Statistics if you need any, though it sounds like you're done with Math. Do your best!
Thank you for this, because it's very helpful. Music being a distraction isn't something I considered, but your right because simply having my phone next to me diverts attention. Breaks are iffy for me, because once I "break away" from the work, it's very difficult to get back into the mindset. That's just me personally, but once I get focused it's hard to stop and hard to begin again.

And yeah I'm finished with Math, and it was a mountain to climb. I didn't even know how to properly do high-school math, because I essentially gave up on the subject back then, so college level math caused me the most stress I've ever felt so far. Breaking down these larger problems into small steps is what helped me, because it's pretty much all the same once you figure out how to do that, even if the word problems appear different.

On top of 3 mid terms coming up, I have 3 essays, then two extra assignments based on the essays. (Two of those essays are in the same class). Time management is an issue because I'm always trying to figure out how I can do all of this without quickly burning out. I'm sure it's not that much compared to some students, so not to make it sound like a lot, but I could improve on how I manage this.

Aslan

the pretender

Age 18
Australia
Seen 2 Days Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
2,512 posts
6.8 Years
Studying can be difficult without a clear aim of what you are working towards. It's OK to have a broad goal such as wanting to get over 90 on an exam but it's important to also have specific, small sub-goals of how you will work towards this! That way, completing said smaller goals can not only ensure you're making consistent progress towards the goal but it's also much more motivating knowing that you've checked off goals of how you will prepare for the test. For instance if it was Maths you may have a list of specific exercises / areas you want to work on and you can pick out specific practice problems to work through. Even if you can't achieve this (e.g. say a problem is too hard so it is incomplete), at least make sure you attempt the goals and work towards seeing them completed which you seem to be doing by asking your professor for extra clarification. So that's good!

Seeing quantitative progress of what you have achieved is satisfying but if you're finding it hard to meet goals - setting specific soft deadlines (e.g. needs to be done by the 12th of November) can be helpful rather than saying "I'll get it done sometime within the next 2 weeks!". Different techniques work for different people though and some people don't like a rigid deadline but at the very least, having small specific goals you want to complete by the end of the day or week can help you see what tasks need to be done rather than generalising that you need to study x hours a day for this subject, which is too broad to really work on and hard to meet without goals of what you want to achieve in the study session.

When trying to get into a studying routine, I also feel like it is often about discipline rather than motivation! Hopefully you do feel motivated as you've picked a course that you're interested in but if you're finding it hard to start, the five minute rule can be good to stop procrastination so that you don't end up with 27349324302 hours of work the day before the exam. You'll never feel 100% motivated to work most days but you can tell yourself you'll work on it for five minutes and that often encourages people to keep going rather than stopping.

I also feel like less is more - instead of aiming to study for hours a day if you haven't been doing that before, slowly build up a strong study routine. At the start you can tell yourself perhaps you just want to study with full concentration for an hour a day and then gradually increase the time increments (make sure you take breaks of course!). I know it could be discouraging if it seems like other people who don't study perform better on the exam even as you build up a study routine but it's always hard work that perseveres and not talent so keep going and you'll see a very visible improvement in grades.

I know final season is approaching but afterwards, I find it is also more important to ensure you do consistent, small time everyday to review over material rather than starting to study in the weeks leading up to the exam. It's a pain at the beginning but saves a lot of stress around exam season as you will have reviewed material throughout the term. Make it a goal maybe to ask yourself what you have learned and can you explain it concisely in your own words (either aloud or write down a summary?). Also I can not stress enough to focus on reviewing your weaknesses - it is easier to just hope it doesn't come up on the exam but only studying your strong points won't improve your grades unfortunately and you'll feel better covering all your bases. If you're not sure how to improve on a weakness it can be good to come up with points on what you would like clarified and then don't feel afraid to ask either a professor or someone who is good at the subject for some help! In terms of how to review it really depends on what type of learner you are - some people like making flash cards, other people like mind maps but generally for most people at least making it a goal to complete practice exams is a good approach as it will model what will be on your final and you can identify weak areas very quickly.

There are also apps you can get on your phone if you tend to get distracted or need an incentive to study. It's tempting to check your phone when studying as a quick break but dedicate your full concentration to the allocated time you've set for study - it's VERY easy to spiral into procrastination and it's much harder to regain focus. The past year when preparing for university entrance exams I tended to use apps like Forest which reward you for studying (and also have consequences for getting distracted / checking your phone) - if you're into video games, I've heard HabitRPG is also a satisfying one! There's a lot of apps like those out there and they can be very valuable. If studying by yourself gets monotonous, you can also consider just changing up the environment (e.g. studying in a library) or having a review session with friends who do the subject where you quiz each other. But most importantly, do take 5 - 10 min breaks every hour and use those breaks as a chance to stretch, get hydrated etc. It's a balance of working hard but do take breaks so that you can feel refreshed for the next study session - no one can work 24/7 without getting exhausted so make sure to prioritise your wellbeing too. Some days you really won't be able to find the energy to study and that's completely OK - however do make sure you do use something like a timer / incentive the next day to complete some work you don't lose a consistent routine.

I think the fact that you're actively trying to improve your studying routine is a great sign and that you're going in the right direction by seeking the help of your professors! Work ethic takes time to develop so don't feel too discouraged if your studying routine doesn't change overnight. Over time, it becomes a lot easier to get into a good routine. I'm sorry that I wrote quite a lot but as someone who just finished all their exams, this was a lot of what I picked up over the past few years. Best of luck. <3

ZeoStar

Male
dream world
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 7 Hours Ago
2,839 posts
2.2 Years
Studying can be difficult without a clear aim of what you are working towards. It's OK to have a broad goal such as wanting to get over 90 on an exam but it's important to also have specific, small sub-goals of how you will work towards this! That way, completing said smaller goals can not only ensure you're making consistent progress towards the goal but it's also much more motivating knowing that you've checked off goals of how you will prepare for the test. For instance if it was Maths you may have a list of specific exercises / areas you want to work on and you can pick out specific practice problems to work through. Even if you can't achieve this (e.g. say a problem is too hard so it is incomplete), at least make sure you attempt the goals and work towards seeing them completed which you seem to be doing by asking your professor for extra clarification. So that's good!

Seeing quantitative progress of what you have achieved is satisfying but if you're finding it hard to meet goals - setting specific soft deadlines (e.g. needs to be done by the 12th of November) can be helpful rather than saying "I'll get it done sometime within the next 2 weeks!". Different techniques work for different people though and some people don't like a rigid deadline but at the very least, having small specific goals you want to complete by the end of the day or week can help you see what tasks need to be done rather than generalising that you need to study x hours a day for this subject, which is too broad to really work on and hard to meet without goals of what you want to achieve in the study session.

When trying to get into a studying routine, I also feel like it is often about discipline rather than motivation! Hopefully you do feel motivated as you've picked a course that you're interested in but if you're finding it hard to start, the five minute rule can be good to stop procrastination so that you don't end up with 27349324302 hours of work the day before the exam. You'll never feel 100% motivated to work most days but you can tell yourself you'll work on it for five minutes and that often encourages people to keep going rather than stopping.

I also feel like less is more - instead of aiming to study for hours a day if you haven't been doing that before, slowly build up a strong study routine. At the start you can tell yourself perhaps you just want to study with full concentration for an hour a day and then gradually increase the time increments (make sure you take breaks of course!). I know it could be discouraging if it seems like other people who don't study perform better on the exam even as you build up a study routine but it's always hard work that perseveres and not talent so keep going and you'll see a very visible improvement in grades.

I know final season is approaching but afterwards, I find it is also more important to ensure you do consistent, small time everyday to review over material rather than starting to study in the weeks leading up to the exam. It's a pain at the beginning but saves a lot of stress around exam season as you will have reviewed material throughout the term. Make it a goal maybe to ask yourself what you have learned and can you explain it concisely in your own words (either aloud or write down a summary?). Also I can not stress enough to focus on reviewing your weaknesses - it is easier to just hope it doesn't come up on the exam but only studying your strong points won't improve your grades unfortunately and you'll feel better covering all your bases. If you're not sure how to improve on a weakness it can be good to come up with points on what you would like clarified and then don't feel afraid to ask either a professor or someone who is good at the subject for some help! In terms of how to review it really depends on what type of learner you are - some people like making flash cards, other people like mind maps but generally for most people at least making it a goal to complete practice exams is a good approach as it will model what will be on your final and you can identify weak areas very quickly.

There are also apps you can get on your phone if you tend to get distracted or need an incentive to study. It's tempting to check your phone when studying as a quick break but dedicate your full concentration to the allocated time you've set for study - it's VERY easy to spiral into procrastination and it's much harder to regain focus. The past year when preparing for university entrance exams I tended to use apps like Forest which reward you for studying (and also have consequences for getting distracted / checking your phone) - if you're into video games, I've heard HabitRPG is also a satisfying one! There's a lot of apps like those out there and they can be very valuable. If studying by yourself gets monotonous, you can also consider just changing up the environment (e.g. studying in a library) or having a review session with friends who do the subject where you quiz each other. But most importantly, do take 5 - 10 min breaks every hour and use those breaks as a chance to stretch, get hydrated etc. It's a balance of working hard but do take breaks so that you can feel refreshed for the next study session - no one can work 24/7 without getting exhausted so make sure to prioritise your wellbeing too. Some days you really won't be able to find the energy to study and that's completely OK - however do make sure you do use something like a timer / incentive the next day to complete some work you don't lose a consistent routine.

I think the fact that you're actively trying to improve your studying routine is a great sign and that you're going in the right direction by seeking the help of your professors! Work ethic takes time to develop so don't feel too discouraged if your studying routine doesn't change overnight. Over time, it becomes a lot easier to get into a good routine. I'm sorry that I wrote quite a lot but as someone who just finished all their exams, this was a lot of what I picked up over the past few years. Best of luck. <3
I admit that I set myself with high expectations, but it's hit or miss for me. Either I pass exams with nearly perfect scores or I fail them miserably, but rarely do I ever get grades in between. This was especially true for math, because I did amazing on my first exam. The next two exams I just didn't understand them at all, despite my hours studying and practicing I would get the exam and feel defeated. There were times I felt "maybe I'm doing this correctly" but I would receive my grade with an "F". It made me feel defeated. Still I somehow passed the final exam with a near 95%, to be honest I'm not sure how. So I passed the class despite my previous two failures, where it made it so I was pretty much fully expecting to fail the class. You have no idea how amazing it was seeing a 95% and knowing that I didn't fail the class. This same situation occurred in another class. I did so well on the finals that I went from the likely chance of failing to passing with a B.

Thankfully procrastination isn't much of an issue for me. I usually chip away at work, even though sometimes I meet the deadline and have to rush to complete the rest. My favorite thing is to make a checklist for the day, with all the assignments I want finished, or at least want to make progress in. Sometimes in that checklist I include the amount of hours I want to study.

Tomorrow I have an exam, which I'm not ready for. 😔 . We were given material to study from, but he keeps it vague so it's lead to me trying to memorize more than I can handle. Though I shouldn't go into expecting to fail, it's hard to block the thought. We seldom get graded for anything besides exams in that class, so all of them are important, and I need to pass tomorrow. Even though I've reviewed the materiel to the point of burning out, I'm not expecting great results. I just hope I don't fail.

Thank you however! I hope you did well on your own exams.

TheGhostHunter

Santa's (Not So) Little Helper

Age 20
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Ryme City
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3.1 Years
The way I study for math is a few days before the exam, I do practice problems from my textbook or online.
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ZeoStar

Male
dream world
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 7 Hours Ago
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2.2 Years
The way I study for math is a few days before the exam, I do practice problems from my textbook or online.
One of the reasons I passed was because our instructor had us do many assignments through an online website, which would give detailed explanations if you were doing the problems wrong. I would spend hours, (often many) trying to get through the homework problems, but it would get late into the night and I would eventually just sign out accept my grade. It was one of the only times I can recall ever getting frustrated, because if you got the math problems wrong it would create and pile up additional problems. So it would start with 10 for the initial homework, but I would end up having to do 50. Despite the nights of frustration, it helped me on the exams. Also those additional questions didn't count for a grade, but you had to solve them or you remained locked from the homework questions.

But the textbook was never good for me personally. At least for math, because the explanations weren't detailed. But they often came with a set of practice problems, so I knew if I could compete the ones in the book I would be fine on the exam.

This is where it helped that I was on good terms with the professor, since we would often meet and she would go through the problems with me.
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