Take a systematic approach to studying.
Study strategies involve more than simply reading or looking at notes. They also include methods of organizing and reviewing material. You will find that most of the information in your textbooks is already organized in a manner that will help you link new material with the information you previously learned. For example, the information in chapter 3 is associated with the data in chapters 1 and 2. This is to help you connect the information as you read it and better understand and remember. In many courses, using new information depends on know-how learned in previous chapters. Math is a primary example of this.
Successful students often take a proven approach to their study efforts. They have learned from their experiences how to best organize, review, and retain the material they are required to learn. Most strategies involve three key parts: making a preliminary survey, reading and studying the material, and reviewing the information to improve understanding and recall. Here are a few more details of this approach to consider when creating your own strategy.
Previewing the material is an important first step. Before reading through the information, survey the material to pick out key topics. This may include looking over the following areas of text:
- chapter and section headings
- subheadings and text in bold print
- highlighted items and text boxes
- review questions and chapter summaries
- notes from your teacher on key areas of study, and
- any other important cues that guide your studying
Doing such a preview gives you a mental blueprint for organizing and classifying information. It short, it helps you better organize it for later use.
A second step in a systematic approach is to actively read and understand the material. Before trying to memorize information, try to understand what you are reading. Ask yourself questions as your go—for example, “What is the author’s focus?” Understanding the material adds meaning to it and helps improve your recall and ability to use the information. Make sure to identify and label important points as you study. If you cannot mark in your book, take notes or outline the main points.
The third step is to review relevant information. This review process involves more than just rereading the material. The goal of an effective review is to comprehend and learn the information for later use. Make notes of information that you want to review once again, as well as questions that you need to ask your teacher or a study partner. Here are a few helpful tips:
- Reread important concepts and information from your reading and notes.
- Ask yourself questions about what you have read.
- Repeat the information by saying it aloud, writing it down, or pretending you are answering questions in class.
- Answer the questions listed at the end of the chapters.
- Summarize information when it fits the type of material you are learning.
- Test and retest yourself to strengthen recall.
For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.