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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waterloo chapter.

Welcome friends! Assuming that you’ve clicked on this article because you have a test/quiz/exam/anything that requires studying, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 5 different ways you can study – it’s best to try diverse methods in order to know which ones suit you the best!

1. The Classic Note Taking

This one is a personal favourite. In order to attempt this studying method, I encourage you to start way in advance of your exam; note taking usually ends up taking a lot more time than anticipated. If you’re typing it up on your computer, you may go more quickly but research has shown that handwriting your notes actually enhances your encoding of the material, and therefore your memory of the subject.

Use colours! Highlighters! Underline! Bold! Draw material from both the lectures, your class notes and your textbook if you have enough time. Make sure you can easily tell apart your definitions from the rest of the notes, but ensure as well that you only write down the relevant information, and keep it short! Piece of advice: don’t write down word for word the textbook like I did in grade 10… it takes a LOT of time and it’s really not efficient.


2. The Verbal Encoding

Some people are much more vocal in their studying. There are different ways to approach this studying method, such as simply repeating the information until you can say it out loud fully without looking at your sheet, putting it into a song or a rap, or even facing a mirror and saying it to yourself (or a captive audience such as your collection of teddy bears; you know, whatever works.)

People find that saying information out loud not only forces you to think about it, but also allows you to hear it a second, third, fourth, time, which especially helps if you are also an auditory student. Which leads us to…


3. The Auditory Approach

I haven’t met many people who are especially auditory-oriented, but if you need to hear information in order to remember it best, I suggest rewatching and listening to your professor’s lectures. Of course, you’re not allowed to record your prof in class without their consent, but if there are lectures online that you can listen to again after your class, or before your exam, you may find it beneficial. Others have found that recording yourself saying the information and then listening it again and again until you fully understand what the concepts mean may prove useful.


4. The Buddy System

This is, in my opinion, an underrated but golden approach to studying. I personally always choose to study alone, but find that when studying with someone else, I start realizing that I might not actually know my material as much as I think I do. Which sucks, because you (kind of) want to think you know everything, but having someone put you in your place actually benefits your studying. If you don’t understand a concept, they may explain it in a different way that may make more sense to you and vice versa; it has been proven that explaining a concept to someone improves your own encoding of the concept and fortifies your ability to explain it again during your exam. As well, if you have both made notes on the information in class and are quizzing each other, you may found that you haven’t written certain concepts that they have.


5. The Visual Approach

This is my least favourite method of studying, although it has actually been shown to be the most efficient (oops.) Many students I’ve encountered are more visual than anything else, and yet do not integrate this method in their studying either. Using graphs, diagrams, flowcharts and most importantly mind map, is an excellent way to quiz yourself on your knowledge, and also be able to visualize all the links between concepts. I have found that it is especially useful in classes such as biology, where concepts interlink and a change in one aspect affects many others. However, it does take time as many people will first take notes on what concepts to include, and then start drawing out the mind map.

I hope you can find the perfect method for you, and good luck in your studying endeavors!

Originally born in France, Solène now studies at the University of Waterloo in the program of Knowledge Integration. Determined to read every book on the planet and to finally finish a whole TV series, she aspires to find joy in everyday life and to hone her writing skills. Food lover as well as musician, she plays the flute, the piano, and just recently started playing the ukulele. Solène is above all determined to find her passion in life and loves to explore the world, dreaming to travel across the globe.
I'm a fourth year student at the University of Waterloo currently enrolled in the Global Business & Digital Arts program. I have a passion for UX, social media, writing, marketing and networking!