Posts Tagged ‘ study tips ’

Studying Effectively

By Amanda Bertsch

 

Finals are fast approaching, and many students are at a loss when it comes to studying effectively. These five strategies will take the stress out of the end of the semester.

  1. Get other work done: There’s nothing worse than scrambling to finish a final essay or an honors project instead of studying for that math exam. Aim to finish projects, essays, and hours logs before the week they’re due. This allows time for any projects that take longer than expected and also frees room for studying later on. Plus, final projects are often a significant portion of the semester grade. Procrastinating on these projects doesn’t just hurt study habits; it also damages the semester grade.
  2. Study with friends: Studying doesn’t have to be a solitary and boring endeavor. Set up a table with a few friends in a coffee shop and work through the material together. A group can quiz each other, explain difficult concepts, and compare notes. However, it’s important to not get caught up in socializing –study groups should actually study!
  3. Do a little every day: This can be easier said than done. The most effective way to study is a little at a time, over a period of several weeks, but finding consistent time and motivation every day can be tough. Try working with friends to keep each other accountable for material, ask family members to quiz you on certain days, or set goals far in advance. The more studying you can accomplish before finals week, the less stressful exams will be.
  4. Take personal time: Studying is important, yes, but so is mental health. Enjoy the holiday season! Once you reach a studying goal, reward yourself by going out with friends, watching a holiday movie, or doing whatever you like to do to unwind. Overstressing yourself leads to poorer exam performance, so make sure to have some fun and get plenty of sleep in the weeks before the exams.
  5. Review old materials: Try to make connections. Does the teacher favor multiple choice vocabulary? If so, it’s more important to associate words with general concepts than to memorize every detail. Does the teacher enjoy essay questions? Concept-based studying will help in these classes. Does the teacher provide word banks? If not, be sure you know all the vocabulary terms for the semester. Does the teacher tend to give open-ended problems or vocabulary questions? These questions will show the best way to study for a class and may give clues as to the content of the final, so that there are no surprises on test day.

Still concerned about upcoming finals? Check out our earlier articles on doing well in math, managing your time, and memorizing information.

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Managing Math: 5 Tips to Ace Your Math Classes

By Amanda Bertsch

 

Math: most people at least dislike it. Some have grown to hate it. But, managed properly, your math classes don’t have to be report card monsters. Try these simple tips to improve your math confidence and grades.

  1. Get an early start: If your algebra II homework is painful to do during the day, it’s only going to get worse after 10:00 pm. Do that hated worksheet or problem set before homework from other classes, and you’ll concentrate more and do a better job. This can turn your dreaded homework into easy points.
  2. Ask questions: You can’t learn something if you don’t ask questions! When you’re doing homework, star any questions you don’t understand so you can ask about them the next day. Make sure to pay attention in class, and don’t be afraid to ask the teacher to repeat an explanation or problem that you don’t understand. They’re here to help you, after all.
  3. Study well: Many people struggle with studying for math because they don’t know how to study effectively. Memorizing formulas is a must, and reading over notes does help, but the best way to study math is to do practice problems. Use the review at the back of the chapter or do the problems with answers in the back. Pick the hardest, ugliest-looking problems and work them out, and you’ll excel on the easier test questions.
  4. Take advantage of tutoring: Mu Alpha Theta offers tutoring all the time, so why not take advantage of it? Tutors are available in Ms. Mezeske’s room or in the library on Thursday mornings. If one person has been particularly helpful, you can check the schedules posted in the math classrooms to see when they’ll be tutoring or ask that person to meet with you personally. They would be glad to help.
  5. Look online for help: The internet isn’t just for procrastination—it has a number of excellent resources as well. When you need another review of a lesson, Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) has lectures covering concepts from basic counting to advanced calculus. If you want to check an answer, Wolfram Alpha (wolframalpha.com) will solve just about any problem.

Math isn’t for everyone, but you don’t have to love the subject to do extremely well in it. Take advantage of these tips, and you’ll see your math grades improve drastically!

Understanding the PSAT

By Amanda Bertsch

 

PSAT results were delivered this past week. Are you still wondering what they mean? What exactly is a good score? And why does the PSAT matter anyway? Denobis’s Study Spot breaks it all down.

The largest number on the score report is the total score, which is the sum of two scores: reading and writing combined and math. These scores range from 160 to 760, so the total is out of 1520. This section of the score report also gives a nationally representative percentile for each of the scores so you can compare your score to the average. For instance, if your percentile for math is a 67%, that means that you scored better than 67% of people in your grade that took the PSAT this year.

This section also shows a red-to-yellow-to-green bar for each score. This gives you a general idea of how prepared you are. If you’re in the green, College Board believes your performance shows that you are on track to be college-ready; yellow means you’re approaching readiness, and red means you need to improve significantly to get on track.

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Memorize That

By Amanda Bertsch

This post is part of our new series Study Spot. Check back bimonthly for study tips and college advice. This special post is for finals.

 

At some point, everyone has to memorize something, whether it’s dates for a history test or formulas for physics. Luckily, there are several proven methods to speed memorization and make studying less of a chore.

  1. Start early: Unsurprisingly, studying takes some time. Set aside time to study at least a week or two before any major test; even if you haven’t covered all the information yet, you can study the early stuff first. Don’t be that person that crams everything the night before, because that person doesn’t tend to do well on difficult tests.
  2. Write it: Handwritten notes have been proved to help you retain information. What this means for memorization is that rewriting information multiple times will help you memorize it much faster. This method is especially helpful for subjects with exact wordings, like poems or formulas.
  3. Say it: Speaking information also helps retention. Try reciting notes or passages out loud, adding enunciation and gestures. This method also doubles as practice for public speaking!
  4. Study late and early: You’re more likely to remember information that you review right before you go to bed or immediately after you get up in the morning. Just be sure to avoid online studying before going to bed because the light of the screen will make it more difficult to sleep later.
  5. Teach it: Teaching something to someone else helps you remember and understand that information better. However, there’s not always someone willing to listen to three hours of Japanese characters or European history. Try teaching to an empty room or a pet for a similar effect.
  6. Memory Castle: Anyone who watches BBC Sherlock will be familiar with the concept of a “mind palace” where information is organized. A similar method involves associating concepts with specific areas of your home. Walk into the kitchen, for instance, and associate the stove with the boiling point of water. Or simply recite a passage and dedicate a specific section to each room, then walk to that room whenever you recite that piece. This is especially useful with information that has to be remembered in a specific order.
  7. Story time: Any kind of history is just a real-life story. Instead of reciting dates and names over and over, tell the information in a story format. Don’t forget to mention all the dates, but telling it as if you were telling a story to a friend will help you associate causes with effects.
  8. Take breaks: Cramming for four hours straight won’t help as much as you think it will. Instead, break up studying and take frequent breaks to relax, do other work, or go outside.
  9. Do what you can, where you can: We all have busy schedules, but once you start studying information you can take it with you on the road. Recite a poem in the shower, quiz yourself on dates on the van ride to a sporting event, or reread notes on the way to school if someone else is driving. There’s a lot of wasted time in the day, so take advantage of some of that time to reduce stress later.
  10. Think sideways: Instead of just repeating information the same way over and over, look for other ways to think about the information. Form a mnemonic (a play on letters or words to help remember information), recite information backwards, or analyze how historical events tie in to what’s happening today. By breaking patterns, you’ll force your brain to process the information again and thus aid memorization.

By following these tips, you can make your studying more productive, efficient, and stress-free. Get started early, and good luck on all your finals!

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