School is officially back in session! It’s time to grab the blue light glasses, open up those fun pens, and buckle down with your studies. As a senior pre-med student, the most valuable thing I have learned in college is that different classes require different means of study. You can’t just read the book in science classes and you may just need flash cards for your political science course. Here are some methods of studying that have been proven effective to ace your classes this semester.
- Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro Method is not only one of my favorites, but also proven to improve your memory of material and overall concentration. It works simply: go over your material, with no interruptions for 25 minutes, then take a five minute break. I personally like to use this one across all of my classes when preparing for tests. Seriously, it is SO effective!
- Leitner Method
The Leitner Method is geared toward content you can put on flashcards. Vocabulary, history, events, and other easily memorizable things work well as this method implements spaced repetition. Essentially, you begin with all of your flashcards in one stack, and go over them once per day. If you answer a card correctly, it goes into stack two, which is looked at every other day. As you get it right again, you move the card to the third stack and go over it once a week. If you forget a concept or card, you simply move it to the previous stack. This is similar to how Quizlet organizes cards for learning!
- Be the Teacher/Feynman
This one is self-explanatory, but you just try to teach it to someone else, either by writing it out or creating an oral lesson. Grab a classmate or friend and practice the material by explaining, or “teaching,” each other.
This is a great method to use if you have seen some of the content before. For example, I have taken a lot of biology-type courses, and some of the content overlaps. First, you SURVEY the chapter. Look at the headings, definitions, photos, and figures to get a general idea of the content you are dealing with. Then, you create QUESTIONS to consider while you read. This allows you to create a personal connection with the material. Next, you READ the whole chapter and RECITE the information by paraphrasing it to someone else, writing it down, or thinking about it. Finally, you REVIEW the things you are not sure on or cannot recall. This method gives you ample opportunity to repeatedly go over the material and really learn it.
- Mind Mapping & Testing Yourself
Mind mapping is where you sit down with a blank piece of paper and test what you know. When I use this method, I write down important key concepts and move through the material by connecting them to each other. This is just a way to test your knowledge and pinpoint where you need to improve.
As colleges are slowly moving back to in-person classes and events, it is important that you prepare yourself for a greater course load and the necessity of studying. Take a hard look at your classes and find a method that works best for you. Try them all out if you haven’t felt successful in your studies. Let’s get that 4.0, girlies!