Different Study Habits To Get You The Best Grades

Congratulations on making it to finals! During this stressful time of year, it is easy to get frantic about if your study habits are going to give you the best results. Rather than stare a textbook in the library all day, try adding something new to your routine. To help you do this, the kind girls at HCW and I have put together a list of all our best study habits. It also includes tips on how to include other types of studying into your regimen. Take a look below and don’t forget to add your favourite study methods in the comments below!

1. Write your notes!

This study shows how writing your notes (or going over them) during/after class improves your retention of information. The three most recommended strategies for writing your notes:

  1. Write your notes in class, type them later. This refreshes the information in your mind and allows you to add extra study aids to important points like bolding and underlining. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your computer dying!

  2. Type them in class, write them later. This is for those who are faster typists than writers. It also allows you to visualize your concepts more in class, and add fun colours without fidgeting around in your bag looking for another pen.

  3. Write them in class, write them after. Getting two notebooks (a cheap one like the Hilroy Booklets) and a nicer one (like FiveStar Heavy Weight Notebooks) allows you to write messy notes in class with pencil, then clean them up later with colours and sticky notes. This takes the most time, but it allows your brain to really stew on the information.

2. Cue Cards

Cue cards/flash cards are one of the most recommended strategies for studying. Why?

  1. They allow you to break down concepts more, making sure you understand all the ways things interconnect.

  2. You can spread them out so you can visually see how certain topics are categorized.

  3. While studying, you can shuffle them to make sure you’re not reading the same information in the same order. This study shows how cued-recall can give you great results.

If you’re interested in online cue cards because #savetheplanet, check out Quizlet!

3. Say things out loud

Whether it be mini-lecturing your friends or walking around your bedroom, this tip is super helpful. This study shows how saying things aloud helps you study better.

  1. Mini-lectures are great because it allows you to see if you can teach and, as the old saying goes, if you can teach then you know your shit.

  2. Saying things aloud to yourself is also great because during an exam you can think about what you said, which is great for people who remember moments better than words. It allows you to fully break down information.

  3. Reading your readings aloud slows you down, making sure you catch every word. This can be be super helpful for definitions and date memorization.

4. Make separate study notes

Whether it be on your computer or in another notebook, study notes are a great method.

  1. Study notes allow you to make condensed notes that help you recall information. These are meant to be bullet points, not notes from class. It trains your brain to be prompted by certain words making essay exams much easier.

  2. When studying readings, get a separate page or document and record all the information you highlighted. Boom, study notes.

5. Take breaks

This is a super super important tip lots of people ignore. There are countless studies (like the Pomodoro Technique) that show how taking breaks helps you recall information better.

  1. If you’re new to this, try the 45-15 method, where you study for 45 minutes, rest for 15. You can build up your study time while decreasing your rest times, training your brain to be active for longer.

  2. Use this in study groups. One person sets an alarm and everyone puts their phones in the middle —that way you can hold each other accountable.

  3. Interested in this but don’t know how to do it alone? Download an app like SelfControl, which blocks certain websites for a period of time to help your studying habits.

6. Mind maps

One of my personal favourite study methods is mind maps (also known as concept maps). These are when you start with key topics one a page, then start adding points with lines and colours to connect big topics to little ones, dividing groups down to make it easier to see how everything works together.

  1. Use colours —it’ll allow you to differentiate smaller topics in big groups.

  2. Make big concepts BIG. Visuals aids really help when recalling information.

  3. Try to make analogies or abbreviations as prompts, and then make them big to help make recalling easier.

If you found something new from this list, let us know in the comments below. Happy exam season...

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