Learn to Study Smart

While you are studying, surround yourself with the reference books you will need – any books that complement your text and notes or that you have used as a reference.  Maybe there aren’t any, but you do have an index, a glossary and a table of contents in your book.

Consider this:

Would it be better to come away from one hour of studying really knowing five things, or, vaguely recognizing that you probably read about the thing you are now being asked to give examples of on a test?  When you are studying, always look up words, ideas or connections that you don’t know, don’t understand, or don’t remember.  If you gloss over vocabulary that you don’t understand, you will not really understand the rest of the sentence, or possibly the paragraph.  Then you’ve really wasted the time it took for your eyes to look over those words, even if you’ve now checked it off the list as being completed.  It is much more valuable to truly understand some of the material than it is to just look it all over.  When you study in depth (look things up, go back to a previous chapter to remind yourself why this new fact is relevant or answer a question that comes up in your head, you are making solid connections that will last longer and make you stronger!!  (Sorry I couldn’t resist the rhyme there.)

Seriously, don’t cheat yourself.  Waving your eyeballs over the words in your textbook or notes will not help you on a test.  At the bottom of the page or end of a section, stop and ask yourself what you just read about.  If you can’t answer right after reading it, then you won’t be able to answer on a test.

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