Studying is one of the most dreaded activities students do. The tricky part to studying is figuring out how you learn best. I know that I am a very visual learner. If a teacher is speaking and writing down information or doing examples, I pick up the information very quickly. If a teacher is only using speech to teach, I find the information much more difficult to understand. To deal with this I write down notes. At the end of the lecture I have probably written down almost everything the teacher has said, which makes for a lot of notes to go through later, but at least now I can see all of the information. So how does this relate to studying? When I study, I usually use flash cards. I find that they are the easiest way for me to remember all the information that could be on a test. I have found a really great website that lets you create online flashcards for free and it even has an app for androids and iPhones. It's called Study Blue and it has a lot of great features like a study mode which lets you know which cards you need to work on, quizzes based on your cards, and it can turn your cards into review sheets.
For anyone reading this site, I urge you to take the learning styles quiz listed below. After taking it, it will give you your results and give you a link to how you can learn best through your learning style.
Go to VARK Learning Styles Quiz
Go to studyblue.com
- To study, it's best to make a game plan rather than to tell yourself I'll get to it. If you have a test coming up with a lot of information on it, that shouldn't be something you try to cram for all in one night. Also, if the information on the test is cumulative (meaning what you learn in the very beginning is the basis for everything after), which is the most common way of teaching, you should make sure you have the basics down from the very beginning. If you already have the basics down, then you will have a solid foundation to figuring out the rest. Do not wait to get the basics down until the night before a test.
- If you have homework in your class, DO IT. Not only should you do it for the grade, but it's making you study for the test.
- Try to study daily. This way you can study small amounts of information and not fry your brain with three chapters worth of information all at once. Studying daily should include studying the material learned in class that day and reviewing information from the days before.
- Study in a room with few distractions. Some people learn best with music or a TV on in the background, but some need to be in absolute silence. Whichever one helps you best, do it but don't let it or anything else become a distraction.
- Keep yourself organized. We each have our own way of organization, just make sure you are using some sort of method. You don't want to start studying and discover you are missing parts of your study materials.
- Study old assignments and use your text book for studying. Some professors like to tweak old homework assignments slightly and then put them on tests. If you study your old assignments then you basically know the answers to the test. Professors will also put in problems in the text book that they did not assign. Doing any extra problems or self tests in your text book can give you the answers to a test.
- Make sure you are well rested, hydrated, and physically well for a test. Having any physical problems can mess with your concentration and memory. Keep yourself in good physical condition.
- Save ALL handouts and old assignments. Yes, it can be a bit bothersome when you have hundreds of loose-leaf pages but when you find yourself at the end of the semester with a cumulative final exam, you'll thank yourself.
Here is a Word Doc for key signature flash cards. Cut them out and write on the back the matching key signature name. Study using both sides!