With students now having to study for 4 classes, for the upcoming OSSLT and for AP exams, the amount of work for students, no matter their grade, is overwhelming. However, knowing how to manage your time for studying can definitely help you cope with these issues. In order to do that, here are some study methods that will help you learn more efficiently!
The first on our list is the Feynman technique. This technique was often used by Richard Feynman, an American physicist who won the Nobel Peace prize for his work in physics in 1965. This method is mainly used to help people learn new terms, vocabulary or concepts. It can be boiled down to 4 simple steps:
1. Understand your topic
As simple as this sounds it’s extremely important to do. This can be done through reading your notes, your teacher’s slides or your textbook. I also suggest that if you’re more of a visual learner, try to look at some images to help you better grasp the concept.
2. Teach it
Try explaining what you’ve learnt so far to somebody else or to an imaginary audience. Make sure to note down any time you struggle to explain something, stutter a lot, or lose your train of thought.
Go back and revise the subject using the methods you did in step 1. However, focus more on the areas you struggled to explain in step 2.
Now that you have a good grasp on the topic, it’s time to simplify what you’ve learnt. Try to explain your concepts in the least complicated way possible and remove any unnecessary information.
The second method is something called Retrieval practice. This is a common method used for studying which you’ve probably already done without knowing. Retrieval practice is done in order to help you remember the information of a particular topic. Methods to do this are through creating flashcards, doing practice tests (I recommend using Quizlet for both of these), or creating your own questions in your spare time of things you’ve often gotten wrong in a particular subject and answering them later.
These two methods so far, have been to help you understand and retain information better. However, they both do take a lot of time and effort on your part to implement and some people so if you’re low on time, what else can you do? Well, some tips include:
1. Study before bed
Try to dedicate some time before sleeping to study. This is because, according to research done at the University of York, “When you are awake you learn new things, but when you are asleep you refine them, making it easier to retrieve them and apply them correctly when you need them most.” This means that taking some time to study before sleeping lets you be more likely to remember it.
2. Manage your time wisely
This means, no last minute cramming, or succumbing to your distractions, but rather spend some time afterschool revising what you’ve learnt that day. If you tend to procrastinate and struggle to do this step, I recommend reading my other article on “How To Stop Procrastinating”.
3. Personalize your notes
This is a very important tip. I’ve noticed that a lot of students tend to write exactly what they see on the teacher’s slides but be aware that notes should also contain little comments from yourself regarding any questions that you might have, anything you’ve found confusing, interesting or want to remember. I suggest that if you have trouble writing personalized notes in class, then continue to write how you’ve written but take some time after school to rewrite your notes, highlight portions or declutter them and add any thoughts you have onto them.
These are some of the ways that have helped me cope with my own classes during this pandemic and I recommend testing them out and finding which one works best for you. Other than that, I wish you the best of luck for any AP exams you might have, the OSSLT or just class tests!
Kathiann Kowalski, “Top 10 tips on how to study smarter, not longer?” Science News for Students, September 9 2020
“10 Effective Study Techniques to Try This Year” University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, January 2020
Cam, “The Feynman Technique”, University of of Colorado Boulder, August 7 2020
“Humans Process Visual Data Better”, Thermopylae, September 15, 2014