So my finals are over, I got all A's and since I have some free time I'll be happy to lay some knowledge on you. Sit down, brew some tea, this is long, but I am so willing to share major knowledge on this subject because if someone hadn't told me I'd still have a sad gpa and feel overwhelmed, constantly.
First of all, Evaluate your study needs each term.
Evaluate how you've done in similar courses in previous years. List your classes from most challenging to easiest based on how you've done in those subjects in the past. For me math is always at the top of that list. I know I need to dedicate more time to that to do well in it. When you get your course syllabus make note of what is graded and the weight of those grades (is attendance and participation 50% of your grade? Or is your grade made of tests only?) You'll want to focus your attention to the highest weight, i.e. always speak up in class or study or ace all of the tests. Always know if supplemental instruction is offered for each course, what your instructors office hours are, and where that office is. Office hours are there for a reason and I have to say once I realized this, especially for chemistry, I used them often. My instructor enjoyed the company and was a HUGE aid to my successfulness in the course.
Find out how much studying you’re doing now
I know we’re at the end of the semester but think back and evaluate how many hours a week you studied, did you feel like it was enough? Write down how much you studied and if you think realistically if you could have been studying more or less is subjects. A good rule of thumb that I use is 2 hours a week for each credit hour. (3 hour lecture, study for 6 hours through out the week, but read on because I have a trick to sneak in studying.) Also figure out your “Time Suckers”, do you find yourself on facebook for hours or reading articles on Quora, measure this as if it were a study time so you can limit it in a later part of this little mini article I’m writing you!
Make a schedule based on your needs and what you want to do.
This is lengthy too but bear with me, this is the meat and 'taters of what I'm telling you. Take a schedule, (A sheet with 7 columns for days of the week, and rows for every hour that your typically awake. Say 9 am to 10pm) first write your classes and lab times down, these are #1. If you work, record your schedule. If you commute, record your travel time. Record meal times if you have regular ones. Record any regularly scheduled personal commitments, like dinner with mom on Sunday, book club or band practice. Record any special things you want to do through out the week.
Now stop and look over your schedule sheet, this is the time you now have available to study and take care of class assignments
Here’s the actual study tricks
On this handy little schedule you’ve just made yourself you’ve got paper gold. A schedule of your life, now to add in the studying.
Before each class schedule a preview of 5-30 minutes. (If you have 3 classes in a row (class a, class b, class c) study In order c,b,a) During the preview your goal is to check the syllabus to see what’s going on in that class, review notes and textbook in accordance from the last class, and review your written assignments and problems. Make sure to proofread any assignments your turning in too as a last accuracy check (I can’t tell you how many last minute mistakes I find in stuff!)
Having done your “preview” you’re now ready for your lecture. Listen, make notes, ask questions, recite and discuss. Always get involved in your lecture if you can. Even if no one else is talking. The biggest growth I’ve had as a student is not caring what other people thought of me. I don’t care if I’m the “obnoxious girl that asks all the questions”. Fact is, at the end of a lecture I’m walking away with the pieces of the puzzle that I was missing. The other great thing about the preview is if there is an impromptu quiz, you’ll be ready
I know, I know, reviewing too? But I just previewed! But this is a “sneaking in study” trick. After every class I review what I went over in lecture. I will re write notes even, it seems a little extraneous at first, but by re-writing my notes, or going over everything that just happened I’m cementing it in my head. I edit/summarize everything that was just covered, It’s great too if you can do this with another student, I’ve found I get more out of two peoples summary than just mine. I also will plan my class assignments as to time, duration, and mode of learning while the details are still fresh in my head (i.e start outlining a paper).
Lastly, study! I study the night before each class. So if I have 2 lectures on a Monday I study for about an hour and a half just those two subjects. I use a study-reading method technique called SQ3R (The SQ3R Reading Method
) that is awesome for reading through textbooks. I write down questions and personal reactions to the text for discussion in the next lecture.
The neat thing about doing it this way is, say you have a bio lecture 3x a week and a bio lab. By previewing, reviewing and studying you’re learning biology 16 times a week (4 previews, 4 lectures, 4 reviews, 4 study times) Instead of the traditional 8 times (4 lectures, 4 study periods). Cramming before a major test is replaced by previews and reviews. I also like to add in a weekly review of everything I learned the previous week on Friday nights, because I don’t have a life outside of school right now.
Persist in managing your study time!
If you add/drop a class, change work hours, or develop a new hobby revise your schedule. Do get discouraged if you don’t make every preview/review, it’s inevitable that other commitments may get in the way, but monitor if they’re always getting In the way, they may be one of those time suckers I talked about. Whenever your grades go down, or you fall behind in your class assignments also re evaluate what you’re spending your time on.
I really hope this helps you and that it wasn't way too long. I swear by everything I wrote and have had tremendous success adapting this method. Good luck in your studies!