Study smarter not harder

By: Katherine Heykoop

If you haven’t already it’s REALLY time now to take that plastic wrap off those books. We are in the middle of reading week and it is the PERFECT time to get caught up and ready for midterms...but before you spend the rest of your week cramming we want to make sure you are using the right strategy for YOU so you get the most out of your time!

So just what strategy will work for you?

The best strategy of course is always aiming to truly understand the material while learning it, so finding ways to make the content interesting to you is going to be your greatest tool. You can do this by relating each subject to something that is applicable to your current and future personal or career goals.

When it comes to refreshing and retaining material, the 3 main learning strategies below are going to be your new best friend.

If you are a Visual Learner.

How do you know?

  • You’re an avid doodler

  • You have a good sense of style.

  • Things tend to click when you see a graph or diagram.

  • You understand more after reading the textbook chapter.

  • You take notes often and tend to copy down whiteboard remarks

  • You sit closer to the front of the room

  • You are good with directions, understanding maps

  • You have artistic flair and like to draw and paint

  • You use sentences like “I see, let me show you, this looks...”

What you should try!

  • Flash cards!

  • Write out a list of everything you’re struggling with, then after you’ve studied go through the list and rewrite out the things you’re still struggling with, keep repeating until the list shrinks!

  • Highlight key phrases/words with different colours, maybe phrases are orange, words you don't understand are blue and important points are pink

  • Re-read your notes and glance through the textbook chapters the night before you test!

  • Try looking up YouTube videos on the topics you are learning for additional resources

If you are an Auditory Learner.

How do you know?

  • You’re part of the discussion, you ask questions

  • You find it easier just to call someone then talk over text

  • You lose concentration often

  • You’re always listening to music

  • Remembering names comes easily to you

  • The textbook makes little sense until the teacher provides the lecture for that chapter

  • You tend to sing or hum to your music

  • Your lips whisper/move to the words you’re reading

  • You use sentences like “I hear, let me tell you, this sounds...”

What you should try!

  • Mnemonics and rhymes to remember information!

  • Try reading out loud, like maybe not in public though

  • Study groups, where you can discuss the material

  • Talk about the graphs/diagrams as you try and decipher them

  • Try recording yourself talking about key concepts and then listen to your “notes” before the test!

If you are a Kinesthetic Learner.

How do you know?

  • You can not sit still

  • You are the first to volunteer

  • You haven’t bought your textbooks yet

  • Sweats and a t-shirt are your goto outfit

  • You are always busy learning new things, trying new hobbys, travelling, etc

  • Thank goodness for autocorrect because you’re not the best speller

  • You tend to understand better by actually doing

  • You are fearless and confident

  • You use sentences like “I know, let me help you, this feels...”

What you should try!

  • This might sound crazy, but try walking around while you study!

  • Make up mock tests, and keep doing them until you are able to answer all of the questions without any mistakes.

  • Use your finger to trace out words you need to remember

  • Take breaks to stretch often while studying!!!

  • Try writing out your list of what you need to retain over and over and over and over again, think Bart Simpson in the opening credits of The Simpsons

Now you are ready to put these methods into action! Don’t forget to check out the NCSAC social media and website for upcoming events to help you get the most out of your first semester.

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