How to Study Effectively?


Hi folks, I'm interested in improving my study habits. So far I seem to be a B student (got two B's in prereqs at 89% :banghead:) and it sucks because I seem to always be on the cliff from achieving an A. I guess it's because I procrastinate until the last weekend before a test, but I dislike putting so much time into studying and still earning a B (even though they're alright, I want to do better). My theory, even though it sounds stupid, is to put the least amount of time into studying and to still achieve an A.

What methods have worked for you? How do you memorize all the different processes of the human body and for science courses in general? I'm trying to rewire my brain, as I wasn't an effective studier in high school. How do you take notes? That's a skill I could definitely work on.

-Thanks, and good luck to everyone else wanting to improve their studying skills.


905 Posts

My theory is do whatever I need to do to learn it thoroughly now, so I won't have to relearn it later when I'm trying to juggle all the other things I'm seeing for the first time in nursing school.

Secondarily, is to figure out more effective techniques to getting it to stick better.

Thirdly, is to figure out how to figure out more efficient techniques (lessen the time involved).

I also want the grade, so I do the assignments too, even when they aren't very effective for me.

This system has resulted in good grades so far. Especially in the classes that have built on previous classes.


3 Posts

Secondarily, is to figure out more effective techniques to getting it to stick better.

Thirdly, is to figure out how to figure out more efficient techniques (lessen the time involved).

I enjoy reading about your second tip. I usually try to cram information into my brain by constantly reading information--over and over again. I'll try relating information to my life, so I don't feel like falling asleep while studying. What are your methods of creating a sticky brain?


6 Posts

What i've found that worked wonders for me was repetition. How I've been studying for physio/anatomy, nutrition was from writing and copying whats important onto scratch paper over and over again. After a couple of times I would ask myself and try to rewrite everything out again from memorization. I'm not sure if this is efficient but it works for me.


905 Posts

Reading is a pretty effective method for me because I'm a highly visual learner. I also involve other senses... mostly movement but also some sound.

One of my most effective techniques is to make study aids like notebook posters (for lack of a better term for them). I worked in kennel and needed something I could tape to the wall and still see easily from a bit of a distance, so took 8 1/2 by 11 sheets of paper and put a half dozen to a dozen things on them using different colored markers to catagorize. For example: my Chemistry class required us to memorize a lists of formulas so I used red for the anions (scarlet for two negative charges, pink for one negative charge) and black for the cations (black for three positive charges, and the darkest color -which happened to be purple- for two positive charges, a lighter shade for one positive charge).

It doesn't matter what catagories you use, as long as it is not the order the book gives unless your prof wants you to learn that order specifically. The process of organizing stuff into forms that make sense to you is the important part. I've used everything from the order on the periodic table to the number of syllable it has.

I did it initially because I needed more time to study. Since it was so effective, I started doing parts of it even when I wasn't working. I put the sheets where I could see them every so often but not all the time. Places like the refrigerator, because I walked through the kitchen often when I was cleaning house or taped to the front of a binder and carried that while walking around campus (on the outside of my backpack). I would chant the first two or three until they came easily, then work on the next group until they came easily, then the first again, then both, then a third word by itself if it was an odd spelling.

I also took part about organizing in my own way but not necessarily a poster style. I usually use outline style and write in normal size, then use movement by writing and rewriting and rewriting. I agree with atticus in the previous post, it worked well. I alternating thinking about what I'm rewriting and not really thinking about it. Sometimes, I watch a low-interest level show on tv while I do it. After 50 or 100 repetitions, my hand knows what to do sort of automatically. That is the most effective way I have of getting spelling correct on those weird anatomy words.

Lets see.... I figured out I am pretty much totally ineffective after about 9 pm. I might be able to keep my eyes open but can't get anything done. I'm better off getting up early rather than staying up late (I know people that are the opposite).

Caffeine in any form and any amount is counter productive, even a little matters. Sugar also, but less so than caffeine.

Exercise in any form helps, both by studying while I'm exercising and by having exercied earlier. (I am totally not an exercise nut, but the corrolation is pretty strong that if things aren't sticking while I'm studying I probably haven't been moving much in the last day or two).

Cramming at the last minute is very ineffective. Sometimes cramming is effective, if I do it well before the test (like days or weeks before the test), then don't cram on that for a few days (either ignore it completely or use a very different method and much less intensity during those days), then repeat that pattern several times.

Flash cards can be effective. I get more out of making them than using them, but I like to use them to see which things I have down and which I either don't know or hesitate on. Then I use other methods to study the things that need work.

Learning the material is the largest part of studying but putting some time into learning how to take tests is worth doing also. Also, use your tests to figure out why you missed what you did. There are usually patterns in that... both of test taking skills and of how well you have learned the content of the class.


73 Posts

I would like to add to effective studying skills that works for me! I am a visual learner as well, and agree that writing and re-writing are effective. One idea is to get a large dry erase board on an easel ( if you know someone who is a handy carpenter, it can be made very inexpensively). I begin as if I'm the professor teaching the class, drawing pictures, writing processes, terminology ect. While I'm writing on the board, I also say everything out loud, as if I had an audience, (this also works well if your in a small study group). If your school as an extra room available, ask if you can use the room and on the chalkboard or dry erase board, teach (to yourself or small group of your classmates). This has been very effective for me, and as Saysfaa said find what works best for you. Repitition is the key, and do not study in order as presented in the book unless it is required! Also, relating information to a situation or to someone you know (for example in Patho), visualize that person and the disease process which may be realted to them. This technique can be used for many other areas of study as well. Good Luck to Everyone!:anpom:


7 Posts

I get bored quickly with constant I try and switch it up a bit.

I used Khan Academy for A&P and brushing up on my math skills so I could kick pharm math's butt!

They use videos but they are not boring, they are set up just as if the professor was doing a one on one with you....very engaging!

Also those CD's that come with the text books aren't there to justify charging you up the wazzoo, they offer many tools such as animations and games and sample exam questions (you will be surprised how many end up on your exams!!!) .

Make flash cards!! Keep them simple with just a few words that get the message across...often I just use bullet points. The act of writing these out helps cement them in your brain.

Depending on the professor, sometimes they do their lectures while reading from the book, I highly suggest you sit in class following in the book with your highlighter when a teach emphasizes a certain point, it's typically on the exam! I use two different for when I read at home and one for the classroom.

Think of silly memorization tools and share them with classmates as they will often start making their own and sharing those too! Ex for simple pharm math conversions

I remember Kg-G-mg-mcg by saying to myself "King George makes macaroni"...silly yes but if you have that down you can do any metric conversion bc even liters follow the same scale up and down, just replace the G with a L!

I say switch it up and you have many different types of "pass throughs" of information to grasp the technique.